When testing fixtures for that position, Koenig says the Excalibur was the brightest fixture they encountered. “It has a giant piece of glass on the front of it [10″ lens] and is a really nice canon of a light. That’s something that’s lacking on the market right now.” Emitting 20,000 lumens, the Excalibur’s narrow 0.8° beam can be widened to 3.5° using an expander lens. “Also, the color mixing is really smooth and it has just enough tricks to give you some flavor throughout the show. It’s not just a collimated beam. We became more reliant on them than we ever anticipated; worth their weight in gold.”
Production complements ideally the in-the-round format with an electrifying lightshow accompanied by video and the timely use of pyro. The Excalibur fixtures are used for big aerials
throughout the show, providing not only dramatic background looks to the stage but a breathtaking backdrop that fills the stadium and matches the energy and power of the music. “We also go straight across the stage at the band with them,” Koenig says, “almost like they are attacking the stage. They are amazing.”
With over 600 fixtures and a profusion of songs to customize across two shows it’s a heavy lift programming-wise, duties that Koenig says were skillfully handled by Metallica programming vet Joe Cabrera and Cat West. Lighting vendor is Premier Global Production out of Nashville who have been with Metallica for close to 20 years.
Described as a “perfectly executed stadium metal masterclass,” the M72 tour is harnessing praise at each stop, delivering as only Metallica can with a classic show that, according to Koenig, is nevertheless a bit different from past tours. “There is more of a theatre aspect to the current show compared to past tours,” he says, namely segue intros that have added a different dimension. “We have interstitial moments now more frequently than in the past where the band will exit the stage and the next number is introduced with teasing video and lighting. It adds more of a flow, more theatre, and gets the crowd excited. Then boom, they are back on stage. I am loving it because it’s building a bit more mystery, more anticipation for each song.” The longer song intros also give the band more opportunities to recharge between numbers, not a bad idea for a band that has been rocking hard since the early ‘80s.
The M72 World Tour runs until September 2024.