For their 40th anniversary, the French band Indochine certainly didn’t do things by halves. Originally scheduled to take place in June 2021, the 45m high tower with a diameter of 30m has been in the works for 2 years. With 6 concerts on the agenda, the Indochine Central Tour performed in Paris, Bordeaux, Lyon, Marseille and closed with two concerts in Lille for their fans from Belgium to be able to come and sing along.
Imagined and sketched by the singer and leader of the band Nicola Sirkis himself, the design of the system presented a particular challenge. The entire rigging construction and sound system had to be invisible whilst still providing the best audio experience for the audience in the stadium. This meant that all the speakers needed to be placed inside the tower, behind the massive 360° LED wall, a groundbreaking concept in event technology.
Based on Nicola’s design, PRG France & PRG Projects worked tirelessly to make his dream a technical reality. Built in conjunction with StageCo, the tower was composed of specially manufactured Titan-X LED and PRG’s latest innovation of the SoundBlast Solution definitely is one for the books! “Nicola wanted to offer an unforgettable experience to all the fans. Building a 360° tower in the middle of the stadium with the audio and lighting inside would allow everyone to see better and be immersed in the pure musical performance and the artistic presence,” says Stéphane Desch, Director of Production. He adds, “He sent me multiple sketches of what he had imagined about two years ago and we started from that. In fact, the end result is very close to his original concept.”
While part of the PRG team started drawing up technical plans and diagrams of the tower, PRG Projects started developing and manufacturing an LED product that would make this endeavor possible. In response to Nicola Sirkis' vision, the 360° tower would need to be fitted with a customized LED screen, specifically developed and manufactured for the Indochine Central Tour, providing a solution that integrated the entire sound system, lighting and all of the cabling within the tower behind the LED screen, to be as streamlined as imagined.
“When we saw Nicola's first drawings, we immediately saw that there were some challenges. Firstly, we had to find a solution to place the sound behind the video screen and there was no solution to that at the time. Secondly, it was the height of the screen. The height of the screen meant that we had to create a new, very light product that had all the features of the PRG SpaceframeTM, including wind bracing, built into it,” says Frederic Opsomer, General Manager of PRG Projects. “At the same time, we needed a product with a transparency of over 70% to allow the sound to penetrate from the back of the screen into the stadium. This meant that we needed to develop a new product.”
INFiLED and PRG worked together closely to develop the TITAN-X. From the first drawing to a 1850m2 setup for the Indochine Central Tour, the collaboration and the combination of the PRGs know-how and INFILEDs agile developing capability has played a major role. R&D teams from Belgium, the UK and China worked tirelessly during more than 9 months on this project and created the ultimate, robust, mesh rental & touring solution with the foldable X-frame structure for a new level of stability. We’re delighted to have collaborated with such a long-term and strong partner like PRG on this impressive project!”, stipulates Michael Hao, CEO at INFILED.
The next challenge was to install the complete sound system behind the LED wall. This would allow for the images on the tower, fitted with 360° LED, to be enjoyed to their fullest, without any audio stacks obstructing the video content. PRG Projects carried out numerous tests with several audio manufacturers and developed the SoundBlast Solution which uses the weight of the audio as a ballast behind the LED screen to support the weight and structure of the LED installation.
“The Titan-X and the PRG SoundBlast Solution will allow us to take a step forward in the development of large videos and video content design because being able to place the sound behind the video screen has been the dream of all designers!” adds Opsomer.
Standing at 45m tall, the Indochine Tower was fitted with 2500 m2 of Titan-X, creating a video wall that was 30m in diameter and 24m high. This gigantic construction in its whole takes about 3 days to assemble and weighs 260 tons. The LED setup weighs 65t and takes 16h to be installed. With its 26, 542, 080 pixels (9216 x 2880) the images on the Titan-X as well as on the central screen in ROE CB5 below, were processed by 7 disguise GX2 servers.
PRG's Technical Director, Romuald Beaufour, who drew up the plans and initial diagrams of the tower comments: "The installation of our Titan-X in stadiums was sometimes complex because the tower protruded from certain stadiums (in height) which posed problems for the municipalities. In order to comply with the relevant legislations, the tower had to withstand a 72km/h wind speed for 3 seconds.”
The lighting kit was made of 1360 lighting fixtures, including LED Striplights and Floods, MAC Viper Wash, Movinghead Impressions X4, LITECRAFT OutLED AT10.plus, ELATION Proteus Smarty Hybrid IP65, and last but not least, 8 PRG GroundControl Longthrow Followspots.
Lighting Designer Jean Christophe Aubrée describes: “There were a lot of challenges in terms of lighting, which is mainly due to the 360° configuration of the tower. The idea was to be able to create some volume in all of this and to use the surfaces, the seats, and the structures of the stadium a little differently. We positioned lighting all directions, from both inside and outside of the tower. We also had to carefully consider the size and weight of our fixtures, since they all had to fit into the tower. Working with a 3D model allowed us to visualise the project more effectively, since sometimes you tend to lose the feeling of distance and dimensions a little.”
In total, 250 technicians were mobilised for the entire Indochine tour and more than 950 shift workers were hired. The PRG touring crew represented 9 different nationalities. “Whether it was PRG Belgium, PRG Projects or PRG France: everyone got involved in this beautiful project. Everyone did a great job. We brought people together from all over the world to grow this team for the tour. It was wonderful to see the synergies and sharing of know-how. But the success of this adventure is also a choice of companies with whom we collaborated. Everyone contributed to this. Whether it's StageCo for the structure or MPM for the sound, this all is a big part of the success of the adventure!” finalizes Laurent Boillot, Production Director, PRG France.
During the concert on June 25, 2022 at the Groupama Stadium in Lyon, 22 digital cameras recorded the show, allowing Indochine to offer a retransmission of the concert from November 24th, 2022 in IMAX cinemas, the world's first live concert filmed in its entirety for IMAX.