Ever popular, The Australian Pink Floyd Show (TAPFS) continues touring year-round entertaining audiences of all ages, from original Pink Floyd fans to new ones not even born when the massively influential rock legends enjoyed their heyday in the late 20th century!
TAPFS, arguably the most authentic, successful, and long lasting of numerous tribute bands, has just finished a lengthy European arena tour.
Lighting designer Tom Mumby has worked with them since 2012, initially coming onboard as the projector tech, and then moving on to LD’ing and operating lighting in 2016. The Grimsby-based lighting rental company, Stage and Light Ltd, of which he is a director, is also the lighting vendor for all the UK and European touring work, and this latest design utilised 38 x Robe LED Beam 150s and 22 x Spiider wash beams.
The current aesthetic is based on a collage of many classic Floydesque lightshow elements – all meticulously researched by Tom – who has added his own carefully crafted contemporary touches and twists to the visual mix.
The look is dominated by a 5-metre circular truss centre stage, which, together with strategically placed drapes masks off an LED wall behind. The original Pink Floyd are acclaimed as pioneers of visual art and dramatic stagecraft, and for the TAPFS show, video still plays a central role in all the song narratives.
The 24 x LEDBeam 150s are spread evenly around the trussing circle, and are a perfect size and proportion for the job.
“Weight was a concern,” explained Tom, especially in the context of some of the older theatres they play, so this was another reason for choosing the compact and powerful LEDBeam 150. “For a fixture only weighing 5.5kg, the output and speed vs physical size is incredible!” remarked Tom, clearly impressed with the investment.
The huge zoom range and brightness of the LEDBeam 150 ensures they really ‘pop’ even when all the rest of the rig is on, and they are “more than enough” when just using the circle for more clean and utilitarian looks.
Nine LEDBeam 150s also provide the front key lighting. As the band are largely on their positions, Tom can dial them right down using the zoom. “Even at 11 metres trim, they are excellent and very capable of this task,” he stated.
The amount of LEDBeams that can be fitted into one road case also assists with a tidy truck pack!
Side lighting is really important in this show, and integral to the design are four Spiiders downstage and another four LEDBeam 150s upstage, the latter slotted neatly in between the drums and keyboards, some on tank-traps and some on the deck.
Upstage are four wing trusses – all pre-rig – flown below the rear truss either side of the circle in higher and lower positions each side, which create the primary look of the show, and each of these truss sections is loaded with three Spiiders.
The remaining six Spiiders are on three back trusses and are predominantly used for essential backlight on the band. “Again, the zoom and the output are second to none,” noted Tom. “They enable a multitude of looks, strong beamy backlight, rear key light or open white washes,” he says, elaborating that the colour range, from rich saturates to delicate pastels, also makes them “great fixtures”.
The Spiider’s interesting and cool Flower Effect is used a couple of times in the show to shift the dynamic of the space. Tom explained that when he ran out of options – holding back on the spots for another look in the song – he could throw in a gobo style look utilising the Spiiders with this option.
He uses the flower as a kaleidoscopic effect pointing right into the audience during “One of These Days” as a bit of lighting trickery to divert their attention from the fact that Skippy, the giant kangaroo, is being inflated!
“They are definitely a multipurpose fixture with which you can make some really nice effects, and I’ve never found myself wishing I had spots as side light as Spiiders handle the task so well,” confirms Tom.
Other inflatables featured in the show include a pig that comes out at the arena shows in “Run like Hell” and a teacher that adds a schoolroom commotion during “Another Brick in The Wall”. Apart from these massive props, no self-respecting Pink Floyd tribute show would be complete without a major mirror ball moment, and that happens during “Comfortably Numb”.
From a rental company perspective, when Stage and Light was looking at purchasing “reliable, rentable and affordable” moving lights, Robe was always a strong contender said Tom, stating that the tech support from Robe UK has always been “top notch”.
When TAPFS recently played shows in the Czech Republic, he and his crew were invited to the Robe factory and showroom after several Robe staff attended the show. “Getting such positive feedback from the team at HQ was also a great pleasure,” he stated.
Tom runs the lightshow using a ChamSys MQ500M console. He enjoys working with the band, commenting that all involved are “brilliant people” and while the band will sometimes come up with ideas, he has plenty of creative freedom to shape the show.
Working alongside him on lighting were crew chief Sudip Shrestha, dimmer tech Luca De Lauri and video tech Tom Mann, with everything co-ordinated on the road by production manager Chris Gadd.
Photos: David Fowler