Westlife – the world’s favourite ‘boyband’ – played two phenomenal and highly emotional farewell concerts over two nights at Croke Park stadium in Dublin in their very last live performances, capping an amazing 14 year chart-topping, multi-million record selling career.
Lighting for this – and the six week tour preceding the two 85,000 capacity sold out shows at Croke Park – was supplied by leading UK lighting and visuals rental company HSL. It included nearly 200 moving lights.
The lighting design was created by Dave ‘Biccie’ Lee and operated on the tour at Croke Park by Simon Horn. Mike Oates project managed for HSL, who were working for the tour’s technical production co-ordinators Production North, under the auspices of production manager Karen Ringland.
Says Mike Oates, “We were immensely proud to work on this tour and the two landmark Croke Park shows. The show was absolutely stunning and a real tribute to all involved in producing another complete Westlife ‘experience’ with the highest production values that will be remembered for many years to come”.
As well as the hordes of loyal and dedicated fans packing into Croke Park for the final Farewell Concert, this show was beamed live to nearly 300 cinema screens around the UK and Ireland, adding another layer of Westlife enthusiasts to the experience – and upping the ante for careful and considered additional lighting. It was also recorded for a future DVD.
Dave Lee worked closely with the tour’s show producer Emma Bull who commissioned Blink TV to come up with a series of imaginative video footage.
She had very clear ideas about the overall look and visual treatments, and how the lighting needed to match in with these. The aim was to make this an indelible memory on the Westlife landscape – an ambitious task as the band’s live performances have always been meticulously slick, hugely entertaining, very visual and fun.
HSL also supplied all the lighting trussing and motors, which included ‘W’ and ‘Z’ shaped trusses to keep the design looking angular rather than straight, all of which amounted to over 100 points in the roof.
A back wall of seven ladder vertical trusses also provided additional lighting positions and added depth to the performance area, which was kept simple with a large central staircase and band risers, complete with several hydraulic lifts and traps for entrances and exits and four tracking video screens.
For Croke Park, a StageCo roof provided much needed protection over an intermittently rainy weekend!
The touring lighting moving lights were a mix of Martin Mac 3K Profiles MAC 2000 XB Washes, Clay Paky Sharpies, GLP Impression RZs and the new super-small and fast Robe ROBIN 100 LEDBeams.
The conventionals included Atomic Strobes, Showtec Active Sunstrips, 4-lite Moles, i-Pix Satellites, Pulsar ChromaSpheres, and for atmosphere, Le Maître Stadium hazers.
Audience lighting extras were supplied by Dublin-based Just Lite for the Croke Park shows, adding about another 100 fixtures to the kit list – including Vari*Lite 3500 Washes and Robe ColorWash 1200E ATs, which were coupled with 4-lite linear Moles and 7K Falcon Beam searchlights from HSL.
The Falcon Beams were positioned on the side stage ‘portals’ framing the left and right IMAG video screens and on the stage floor, with the Falcon Beams located behind the ‘W’ stage out in the audience where the band performed four numbers.
For control, Horn operated using a Road Hog full Boar console that was chosen by Dave Lee.
Horn comments, “HSL looked after us very well. We didn’t actually need much attention once the tour was out as the kit was all in such excellent condition!”
He worked alongside a crew of five from HSL, chiefed by Johnny Harper, with Stuart ‘Wales’ Picton on dimmers, Chris Roper, Jon Trincas and Steve Bliss.
The show was divided into four sections – Westlife romped through some of their greatest hits and also performed a diverse selection of old and modern classics in a lively performance that rocked it up, slowed it down and strutted some great dance moves.
Most importantly it fulfilled the cleverly pivotal physiological task of leaving the audience on a high note and full of positive energy, rather than suffering from the bereavement of it being the last ever Westlife show!
Now they enter the history books as arguably the most successful and long lasting boyband on record.
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