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Robe moving lights brighten Marillion ‘convention tour’

31 x Robe ESPRITES, 22 x LEDBeam 150s, 16 x MegaPointes and 30 x Spiider LED wash beams were utilised during the tour

Almost 100 Robe moving lights have been utilised as part of Marillion’s ‘convention tour’. Lighting designer Yenz Nyholm specified 31 x Robe ESPRITES, 22 x LEDBeam 150s, 16 x MegaPointes and 30 x Spiider LED wash beams for the tour, which was staged in the UK, the Netherlands (twice), Germany, Italy, and Canada. Nyholm lit his first Marillion convention back in 2004; Leipzig-based rental company Konteg supplied the Robe kit this year.

UK-based Rock band Marillion has built up a formidable and near cult-like following over a career spanning five decades that has spawned 20 studio albums plus a string of top 40 hits since their formation in 1979. For the last 21 years, they have staged biennial 2 and 3-day summer convention events for fans, which include special live performances plus additional Marillion world activities.

Marillion treat the conventions as a chance to up the production values and have a larger show than they might necessarily carry on a standard tour, seizing the moment to present an ideal stage and production design suited to their music. Over the past 5 years, the band has veered away from having prominent video surfaces onstage, but this year a striking upstage LED screen was back, which provided a major starting point for Yenz’s lighting design. For obvious reasons, output was central when choosing lighting fixtures.

“I always start with Robe MegaPointes if I can fit them into the design,” Nyholm explained. “They are always on the plot somewhere as one of my must-haves.” For the Berlin show, half the MegaPointes were hanging from the back truss and the other 8 were positioned on the floor.

“MegaPointes shooting onto mirror balls look simply amazing,” added Nyholm, adding that just 8 MegaPointes and multiple mirror balls unlock a massive range of looks all perfect for the huge dynamics of a Marillion set.

“The [LEDBeam 150s] are brilliant – small, light and very powerful,” he went on, noting that any weight saving was a bonus for some of the gigs when the lighting was being ground supported, although that was not the case in Berlin. 

The LEDBeam 150s were utilised for audience lighting, rigged on the front truss in Berlin where they beamed out and enveloped the crowds, also providing nice tight beams back onto the band and some even key lighting. “They are just so versatile!” said Nyholm.

BERLIN, GERMANY, 23 June 2023: Marillion, performing at the Tempodrom Berlin, on the Friday night of the Marillion weekend, Germany, 2023.

The 31 x ESPRITES were at the core of the convention tour design. Nyholm wasn’t lucky enough to have 31 ESPRITES at all the conventions, but they were there in Berlin, 19 spread out across the overhead trusses, with 12 on the floor. They provided all the base looks and building blocks of the show. 

Nyholm programmed and ran the convention tour shows using an Avolites Titan Mobile console running the latest software. Challenges included having to programme lighting for between 55 and 60 songs as each convention live show is unique with a different set. A few favourites are always played, but with 20 albums to date, there is a massive back catalogue, and no one is quite sure what might pop up.