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Thread: Paramount's "Pink FLoyd Laser Spectacular" show

  1. #1
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    Jan 2006
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    Thumbs up Paramount's "Pink FLoyd Laser Spectacular" show

    Hey everyone;

    I just got back from Florida, where I saw the Pink Floyd Laser Spectacular laser show not once but TWICE. I thought I'd post a review of the show here so you can decide for yourself if you'd like to go see it. Note that this is an entirely new show that has only been touring for about 3 months. If you saw the show even as recently as last year, you did *not* see this new show, and the new show is *completely* different!

    So, how was the show? *WOW* AWESOME! Very cool... and well worth the $27 admission price. ($25 ticket plus $2 handling fee.) It's a 2 hour long show, with a 10 minute intermission.

    We saw the show at the Polk Theater, in Lakeland, FL. It's a very nice, old-style theater house that seats about 1400 people. They had a large balcony area, a huge stage, and the classic "lighted sky" ceiling. In the back was a small consessions stand that sold beer, wine, soft drinks, popcorn, and candy. They had a comfortable lounge behind the balcony.

    The setup on-stage was quite unique. They had a huge aluminum truss backstage that held three motorised display screens. These were wide aspect ratio screens turned on their sides so they ran vertically. They had three high-definition DLP front-projection display units sending video to these three screens.

    In addition, they had a Coherent Purelight mixed gas whitelight ion laser making nearly 4 watts (all lines) sending full-color graphics up onto these screens via a set of Cambridge 6215's. They also had numerous lumina effects and diffraction grating effects aimed at the screen, all coming from this one projector housing.

    They had a second laser projector that was aimed out at the audience. This projector had two other lasers in it. The first was another Coherent Purelight that was sending full color beams, fans, and graphics over the heads of the audience - both on the ground floor and on the balcony. The second laser was a Spectra Physics 168 argon that was making around 2 watts, and it was connected to an old-school beam table that fired beams around the stage and off numerous bounce mirrors that were suspended from the balcony. They also had a few more diffraction gratings set up with this projector.

    They had 18 intelligent lighting fixtures on stage... 12 of them were mounted on the main truss that held the video screens, and the rest were on the stage floor. They all had custom gobo's and optics, and the results were quite impressive! They had both foggers and hazers to make the laser beams more visible and to create the "foggy evening" effect with the intelligent lights...

    Finally, they used two different scrims to give a pseudo-3D effect to the show at different times. It was cool to see the graphics hanging in the air, and even the video from the DLP projectors showed up on the nearly invisible scrim.

    The first half of the show was Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, and featured some of the vintage video footage that Pink Floyd used during their world famous 1994 tour. (Evidently this video is now available on the collector's edition Pulse DVD .?. Check with Amazon.com I guess.) There was a nice blend of laser effects, video, and lighting that made for quite an immersive experience. I felt like I was at a theme park, watching some expertly choreographed production. The difference is that the shows at Disney or Universal only last 5 minutes, where as this show was non-stop for almost an hour!

    During the intermission I had a chance to listen to what the audience was saying about the show, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. Some of the patrons had seen the show earlier last year and were amazed at the changes. Everyone seemed to agree that the new show was much better.

    The second act opened up with Another Brick in the Wall, and this was truely stunning. As I watched it, I remember thinking to myself that this one segment right here was worth the price of admission! Beams blasting around in time to the drums, powerful video images, lights strobing, other lights panning to and fro... I can't even begin to describe it properly, but if you know the music you can probably paint a pretty accurate picture in your mind. Truely awe-inspiring!

    The rest of the second act was equally impressive, with the laser effects getting more and more elaborate towards the end of the evening. They did some more diffraction grating effects, more colored beams, some very provocative video, and even managed to create a very mesmerising effect by pairing the intelligent lighting fixtures with a mirrored ball and the two scrims.

    I remember thinking towards the end of the show that they couldn't possibly have much left for a grand finale, but I was wrong... I won't give away the surprise, but I have to say that the finale was worth *MORE* than the price of admission!

    Before the show we had a chance to meet with Ryan Waters and his crew to talk about the development of the show and where it would be heading. (Yes, believe it or not, he's got plans to add even more elements to the show!) Ryan was an extremely likeable guy, and was willing to answer all of our questions - even though I'm sure some of them must have had him rolling his eyes! His main assistant (Dave) was quite the character as well, and he actually did the announcements for the show. (He's got that "radio voice" that sounds great over a PA system.) Everyone on the crew treated us well, and we all had fun geeking out with them. (We also owe Ryan a huge debt of gratitude... He provided us with several free tickets to the show! Thanks Ryan!!!)

    The folks at the theater were great too... Mary, the Sales/ticketing manager, was quite helpful in organizing everything for our group. Likewise, Brian, the technical stage manager for the theater, was very helpful in working with our group. For the Saturday show, they reserved a block of seats in the first row of the balcony for members of PhotonLexicon. Let me tell you, those were *great* seats! Considering that the event was billed as general admission, it was very cool of them to save us seats like that. (Thanks guys!)

    Ryan developed the entire show using Pangolin LD2000 Pro, and he actually played the show using the Pangolin CD2000 stand-alone playback units. These units are really neat, and we spent a good bit of time talking about them. The video for the show was hosted from a set of rack-mount servers that were located backstage, and Ryan used the SMPTE time code from the video to syncronize the CD2000 units and the lighting... All in all, it was a very cool setup.

    So, if the show is headed towards your area, you might want to check it out. (Here's a link to the tour schedule.) I ended up driving nearly 8 hours in total to be able to see it, and I can tell you it was worth it. Just be sure to sit close to the stage, and if you can get one of the front row seats in the balcony, well, that's about the best seat in the house!

    Adam

    PS: I should point out that Bill Benner was the one that first introduced us to Ryan Waters, and I think that if it weren't for Bill "breaking the ice", as it were, we probably would not have been able to go back stage and see all the laser equipment. Bill was also instrumental in getting us the free tickets. So thanks, Bill! (Sorry you couldn't join us...)
    Last edited by buffo; 03-05-2007 at 06:22.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Central Florida
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    Thumbs up

    I thought it was good too... But adam said it better. Thanks to Bill, Ryan, David, and the Polk Theater!
    Love, peace, and grease,

    allthat... aka: aaron@pangolin

  3. #3

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    Sounds like an awesome time, thanks for the thorough review! I noticed at WickedLasers.com (they give me free lasers some times ) are giving away raffletickets for a all-expense-paid trip to Paris for when the show goes there if you buy lasers from them in the next two months. Too bad I don't need handheld lasers anymore...

    One of these days I'll make it to that show.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    SOUTHAMPTON U.K.
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    Having seen Pink Floyd perform on the "Division Bell" tour, anything less than 2 x 40 watt copper vapour lasers is "not quite there". However, it does look quite good.

    Regarding the above tour, if you have not seen the tour or DVD, do buy it. It is probably the most spectacular laser and light show ever produced. Its amazing what 500 Vari Lights can do when programmed well.

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