British rock band Muse recently finished the North American leg of its “Will of the People” tour named for the band’s ninth studio album that’s packed with UK and Billboard chart toppers. Lighting Designer Sooner Routhier of Sooner Rae Creative, who served as Co-production Designer with tour Creative Director Jesse Lee Stout, chose Ayrton Perseo and Domino LT fixtures as stage lights and spots. ACT Entertainment is the exclusive distributor of Ayrton lighting in North America.
“I love the reliability of the fixtures and that they are rated IP65,” says Routhier. “With Muse heading to Europe for a summer stadium tour at the end of May, it was important to have fixtures that could deal with inclement weather. We also love the fixtures’ brightness and smooth field of colors.” John Bahnick and Josh Wagner from Upstaging provided the Ayrton fixtures.
The post-apocalyptic staging of the new tour takes the band in “a very different direction from their previous tour” in our pre-pandemic, pre-insurrection world, notes Jesse Lee Stout. He partnered with Muse to transport the band to a near-future realm where an extreme group of vigilantes are resetting the world to ground zero.
Stout and Routhier created a massive grid that formed three walls of a skeletal building with the band inside. This simplistic industrial look became the visual identity of the underplay tour by Muse last fall and carried through to the “Will of the People” tour in 2023.
The production features a clear stage comprised of 75 percent plexiglass that exposes gear, lighting and other industrial materials; when the plexiglass decking is lit from below it adds to the skeletal feel of the stage. A 15-foot animated flaming logo is an acronym for “Will of the People.” Two inflatables more than 30 feet tall tower over the stage; one of them, dubbed “WILL,” wears a plexiglass mirror mask, which bounces light as do kinetic ceiling mirrors.
“The content helps explain a narrative of these vigilantes unifying after witnessing a non-violent protester brutalized by a pack of authoritarian figures adorned in golden armor and bull skull-shaped masks,” says Stout. “This figure appears as a 40-foot inflatable for the encore.”
For Muse’s arena shows, 16 Perseos were located on the bottom of the torms surrounding the stage. Eleven Domino LTs were deployed as spotlights with eight on a FOH truss for front light and three on an upstage truss for backlight. When the tour plays stadiums this summer 12 Domino LTs will be mounted on FOH delay towers and three upstage for backlight.
The North American tour marked the first time that Aaron Luke, the Associate Lighting Designer and Lighting Programmer, worked with Perseos and Dominos although he’s used other Ayrton fixtures in the past. “I’ve been very happy with Ayrton products for their brightness, efficiency and reliability,” he says. “Using IP-rated fixtures now made them the right choice for this tour as we head outdoors.”
The Domino LT, in particular, was selected for its compatibility with the Follow-Me system used on the tour. “We needed a bright light with long-throw optics and a flat field as well as the speed to keep up with artists who quite literally sprint from the main stage to the B stage at times,” says Luke.
“We’ve been very happy with the performance of all the Ayrton fixtures and have had absolutely zero issues with them,” he reports.
“The support we received from ACT was amazing, as always,” adds Routhier. “We love ACT!”