Description of the event
A multicity benefit concert tour dedicated to Chennai’s flood victims, A.R.Rahman’s Nenje Ezhu was held between the 16th of January to the 31st of January 2016 at Chennai, Coimbatore and Madurai. Apart from the legendary composer, A. R. Rahman, the star studded tour featured some of India’s finest singers and musicians like S. P. Balasubhramanyam, Hariharan, Benny Dayal, Neeti Mohan, Blazee, Ranjit Barot, Sanket Athale and Raghav Sachar to name a few. With over 150 artistes and musicians the tour saw an audience in excess of 75000 people.
Brief from the Client
Men at Work were given the challenge of designing and building a one of a kind outdoor, modular,structured multi city tour kit because time was a major constraint as 3 shows had to be completed within a span of 18 days. The entire set and rig had to be a clean yet complex build, in order to dismantle and move from city to city with a gap of less than a week between each show. Due to the high profile nature of the event, unpredictable weather conditions and heavy loading on the mother grid, A R Rahman’s Production Team insisted on the need for a safe, fully certified, state-of-the-art outdoor roofing system with fantastic load-bearing capacities that conformed to International standards. Their Milos MR5 roof system, supplied by the world’slargest trussing company MILOS (Czech Republic) fit the bill completely. It is the only system in the country that has been certified by leading structural consultants, Expo Engineering Germany and comes with a statics/structural report. The client also required a total of 6 entry / exit points for singers, musicians and dancers. Each musician riser was to be highlighted by rear LED and sub hang trusses for top lighting.
As the name “Nenje Ezhu” ( Straight from the heart ) suggests, this was a concert tour which wasvery close to A.R.Rahman’s heart because of the tragedy that had struck his hometown Chennai. The requirement was to create a larger than life feel by way of using visuals which are an extremely powerful medium to communicate with the audience. This could be achieved only by way of using LED screens. As envisioned by the show director, the show was meant to be a complete visual spectacle with the concept being one to completely do away with conventional set properties and bring in innovation by creating an interactive set with a suspended / flying feel. Men at Work were entrusted with the job of designing and building an unconventional diamond shaped stage and scaffolding system built completely out of our new state of the art ‘Ring Lock’ staging system which conforms to international safety standards and is also the first of its kind in India. To complement the diamond stage we built a diamond shaped trussing rig which was in turn suspended from their Milos MR5 roof system. Over 5000 sqft of LED screens, weighing in excess of 4 tonnes were rigged on to the scaffolding and trussing system to achieve the same.
Details / Challenges
Men at Work built a roof of size 24m x 18m x 13m height comprising of 5 heavy duty M950 horizontal beams & 6 MT3 towers with an overall load capacity of 18 tonnes. Over 175 meters of spreader & sub hang trusses, LED screens & a complete range of intelligent lights & HD cameras were suspended from the mother grid weighing in excess of 8.5 tonnes. In total 41 nos x 1000 Kgs motorized hoists were used to lift the mother grid & suspend lighting trusses & LED screens. 6 nos x secondary safety STAC chains each with a 5000 Kgs capacity were installed to transfer the load on to the towers as the total load exceeded the hoist’s permissible load capacity. To ensure complete safety & stability of the build we used heavy duty wire ropes for cross bracing of towers & beams. All the towers of the roof were linked to one another at ground level by using additional trusses. Time was a major constraint as we had less than a week to rig & derig the entire setup before the kit moved to the next city. Considering the size of the rig & audience, the organisers had to choose huge open grounds which were subject to heavy winds, making it imperative to use over 30 tonnes of water ballast & ground anchoring systems. Because of the unconventional shape of the stage the position of the towers & ballasts was critical as it was interfering with the stage build & entry/exit points. Countless hours of rigorous pre planning on AutoCAD helped overcome this problem. An FOH truss of size 24m x 6m had to be installed to light up the stage which peaked out of the roof by 6 meters. This was suspended from 2 x 100’ boom cranes of 50 tonne capacity which had to be monitored periodically to ensure a constanttrim height. The safety standards used were world class and at par with any internationalrigging company.