Showing there is plenty of gas left in the tank, rockers Mötley Crüe and Def Leppard had one of the biggest grossing tours of 2022. The momentum carried into 2023 with the summer culminating in a string of U.S. stadium shows lit using Brutus and Rayzor 1960 fixtures from Elation’s market-leading IP-rated Proteus series. The bands were supported by none other than legendary shock rocker Alice Cooper.
Mötley Crüe lighting designer Michael Cooper has been working with the band for 10+ years and collaborated with Def Leppard LD Kenji Ohashi on the “The World Tour” design. Originally started back in 2019, the design was put on the back burner when Covid hit but eventually saw the light of day on the successful 2022 tour. “It was the longest design process we ever had!” Cooper quipped before delving into the requirements for the co-headline outing. “We wanted something that would work for both bands but also wanted a rig that could be refashioned for each to produce unique looks. We wanted the shows to look different but still had to fit all the gear in the same container.”
Brutus brightness and IP
The original rig from the 2022 shows was ‘heavily modified’ for the 2023 summer outdoor stadium shows with a different truss configuration and the addition of IP-rated fixtures, namely the Proteus Brutus™ and Proteus Rayzor 1960™. “I first saw the Proteus line back in 2019 at some festivals and was amazed to find out that they were weatherproof,” Cooper says, acknowledging that Elation “has really been trailblazers with this technology.”
The key features he says they were looking for in lighting fixtures was brightness and IP rating and Proteus Brutus, with up to 75,000 total lumen fixture output, has both. “The zoom and brightness are incredible,” Cooper remarks, “the colors and the entire FX system as well.” The Brutus houses a 1200W white LED engine that works with CMY color mixing, variable CTO, 6-position color wheel and comprehensive effects system. With a zoom range from 4.5° to 45° and a wide 220mm (8.7”) front lens, the Brutus can project great distances.
Lighting director and programmer Matt Mills, one of the programmers when the tour started last year, sat in for touring lighting director Michael Willingham on the August U.S. stadium shows. Mills comments, “I had used the Brutus a few months prior to the Mötley Crüe run at the Welcome to Rockville festival in Daytona. I was there helping out Panteras LD, Sonny Satterfield, and the provided rig had 12 Brutus on the downstage truss for front wash. They certainly impressed me at that show and when I saw they had been implemented on the Mötley Crüe rig, I knew they were going to look great. This go around I was able to dig into them a bit more and made some great looks with the stock gobos as well as the animation wheel.”
Some 40 Proteus Brutus and 64 Proteus Rayzor 1960 were used on the shows. The two fixtures, supplied by lighting vendor Fuse, worked from positions on the downstage truss, upstage truss, and also on each of the 6 finger trusses running downstage to upstage. Sixteen of the Rayzor fixtures were floor positioned at stage right and left, as well as at upstage positions. Both fixtures were used for all three acts in what Cooper calls the ‘meat and potatoes’ of the lighting rig.
Proteus Rayzor 1960
The Proteus Rayzor 1960 with 19 x 60W RGBW LEDs is an 18,000-lumen big brother of Elation’s popular Proteus Rayzor 760. It can zoom tight or spread wide for even stage coverage and designers can use its individual pixel control to create a variety of aesthetically unique eye candy looks. Like the Proteus Rayzor 760, it houses Elation’s exclusive SparkLED™ technology, a background sparkle effect that was used on the show.
Mills praises the fixture’s “brightness, zoom, color mixing, and the ‘glitter’ is a fun function as well,” he said, referring to the SparkLED effect. Another feature of the Rayzor 1960 that proved handy was its continuous pan and tilt rotation, which Mills employed to create a siren effect at the end of the song “Wild Side” and during John 5’s guitar solo in the iconic “Dr. Feelgood.” Both were “EPIC” looks he said.
“The World Tour” 2023 started in Mexico City and South America earlier this year with a European leg ending in July before the U.S. August stadium shows. Plans are for the tour to return to the U.S. in 2024.
Photos: Dan LaDue