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Ed Sheeran - Mathematics Tour 2022

Concerts & Touring

WICreations

Saturday 23rd of April Croke Park Stadium Dublin, a 10-minute clock on the centre screen counts down the star’s arrival on stage to 8h30 pm. Showtime explosion.

Ed Sheeran kicks off the Irish leg of his much anticipated Mathematics tour, the first major outdoor concert in Dublin since the Covid-19 pandemic began. The Ireland shows mark the beginning of the popstar’s huge world stadium tour.

The grandeur of this spectacular stage set-up takes an expert vision to understand. What might look easy going and approachable to the audience, just like the artist himself, in reality has a great deal of technical complexity built in.

Sheeran’s mission to bring a refreshing concept of a stadium stage has proven a huge success with credits to design genius Mark Cunniffe, technical design by Wonder Works and on the WI side managed by Koen Peeters, our senior account and project manager.

THE SPACESHIP

The 2,1m high stage, massively positioned in the centre of the stadium, looks like a gigantic spaceship with Ed on it, surrounded by his audience on all sides. Meaning: no VIP pit area and all 4 sections of the stadium having similar view. And this set-up sure has a good reason.
It is common knowledge that boy next door
Ed Sheeran, though the most important male music performer of the moment, is not at all into distant star attitude.

 

A vison design was commissioned to translate into the right show concept.
And the mission sure was successfully accomplished by the spectacular stage structure offering every single spectator
an amazing ‘right in the middle’ experience thanks to 6 plectrum shaped screens rigged from 6 masts and a massive circular display that brings the show close and personal, also for the fans further back in the stands.

Sheeran stands for empathy, social bonding and just being yourself.

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MAST HOOPS & ROOFETTES

WI involvement in this project implies engineering, construction & assembly of a motion automated 42-ton halo structure plus automated rigging of 42 mast hoop rings. Enjoy some technical and mathematical details on how the levitating 360°stage effect is done, starting with the automated rigging of the LED rings around the 6 red steel towers, the so called mast hoops.

Each tower is 30m high and has 7 hoops of 4 different sizes, (the smallest 2m diameter, the largest 4m diameter) that travel up and down with hoists on railed carts during build and break. Add following assumption to the equation: the masts are placed in a circle each positioned approximately 50m wide from one another and tilted 15° outwards.

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When the hoops are assembled at stage height, a hinging system allows the hoop to be tilted to a horizontal working position for easy and safe installation of lighting and video elements.

Lifting a 6-ton heavy stack of 7 hoops and one roofette over a guided rail structure asks for a system that is capable of doing load monitoring and keeps control of any possible position deviation. In this case it is being handled by a group of 2 double reeved 2-ton automated chain hoists, controlled and synchronized by WIMOTION and operated on the spot from a handheld WIPAD by the production touring crew.

The importance of automated rigging based on thorough calculations, data and system intelligence instead of human gut feeling cannot enough be emphasized. Safety targets 0 damage/ 0 casualties should be bottomline incorporated in any automation system.

THE HALO

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Then comes in the enormous levitating halo, the entire construction suspended from a spider web of steel cables attached to the 6 (not anchored!) masts. A 21m diameter 42-ton piece of see-through video scenery that goes up and down during the show. Controlled movements are created by 12 off 2-ton chain hoists in a double reeved configuration.

Mechanical as well as hydraulic compensation systems are in place to assure loads are equally spread over the cable net. Inside the halo are 18 hoisted LED chandeliers that can wave up and down. All 30 machines are controlled from a central WIMOTION desk.

With all technology being completely new and the unique configuration it is being used in, this set can easily be categorized as a successfully working prototype. Koen Peeters – Project Lead

THE MATHEMATICS TOUR = PHYSICS x TOURING

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Expert eyes will surely wonder about lifting momentum and weather circumstances. With the masts not being anchored to the venue ground, a vast amount of steel ballast is being toured to guarantee a stable black steel cable net system. 2 sets of masts and cable net are being leap frogged, whilst the unique production set comes in a day before the show, making for a 7 day turn around.

The law of physics times factor the law of touring and so a thorough risk analysis has been established by Blumano for all the WICREATIONS parts. Our inhouse engineer Wessel Fortuin was in charge of over 400 pages of calculation notes.

TEAM WORK MADE THIS STAGE WORK

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This colossal and highly innovative staging set was a group effort of many parties involved taking weeks of preparation, months of planning, engineering, construction and rehearsals. So many talented people were involved to create a show of that magnitude.

All halo and chandelier moves are being controlled by WIMOTION software and operated by Andrew Hilton, assisted by Kim Bennet-Abbiss.

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CREDITS

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  • Creative Director – Mark Cunniffe
  • Production Director – Chris Marsh
  • Production Manager – Helen Himmons
  • Tour Manager – Mark Friend
  • Stage Manager – Matt Caley
  • Site Managers – Ben Johnstone & Harry Ford
  • Technical Design and Coordination – Wonder Works
  • Structural Engineering – Cundall Engineering
  • Audio System Design – Charlie Albin
  • Video System Design – Phil Mead
  • Steel System Fabrication – Stage One UK
  • Stage Fabrication – Tait
  • Set Fabrication – WICREATIONS
  • Plectrum Fabrication – 23 Belgium
  • Audio Supplier – Major Tom Touring
  • Video Supplier – Colonel Tom Touring
  • Lighting Supplier – LCR
  • Pyro Supplier – Pains Fireworks

WICREW on site during initial installation

  • Sam Melotte
  • Kim Benett-Abbiss
  • Jan Van Eyck
  • Roel Ceyssens
  • Kurt Verhelle
  • Chiel Vandenboomen
  • Lesly Van Rompaey
  • WI project lead: Koen Peeters
  • WI Chief engineer: Wessel Fortuin