The Wild West
Designed by Dan Roy. FireOne firing with approximately 4000 cues.
Mother Nature threatened to be uncooperative for the debut display of this Canadian company from Calgary. Heavy rains and some thunderstorms during the day on Saturday must have made final setup difficult. However, the weather dried up by late afternoon and we were presented with a cool and damp evening, though with sufficient winds to remove any accumulated smoke. The audience was diminished by the weather, but stalwart fireworks aficionados turn out no matter the conditions!
With a promising and different soundtrack, expectations were high. Unfortunately, the display started off at an intensity that didn’t match the music from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Fearing something was wrong due to some asymmetries, these were somewhat salved as the intensity increased leading me to think these were part of the design. However, this turned out to not be the case.
The range of products used was interesting, particularly those which were obviously from Grupo Luso. Thus we had relampagos (shells of multiple photoflashes), arrestas (shells of timed salutes), “dripping comets” and various kinds of serpent. There were also a lot of different kinds of horsetail effect used, with some really great colours. However, these effects were somewhat overused, with the same overall type of effect (though maybe with a different colour) being used in several places. The design of the firing patterns on ramp 3 was also rather simplistic, without a great range of angles and with very few note-synchronized effects in play. The vaunted 360o wheel mounted on ramp 2, just behind ramp 4, was also used much less than I imagined, though it was better for having being mounted high up on a crane. The flame effects on ramp 5 were close enough to the audience that their heat was welcome to warm up the audience sitting in the cool damp conditions, though it was a shame that one of the projectors was not working.
There were some intense moments in the display that were appreciated by the audience, with great sky-filling volleys, though these made some later segments were there were extended period of either darkness or a paucity of effects all the more vivid. It wasn’t clear if these were caused by technical problems or were part of the design. The doubts about technical issues relating to asymmetry were confirmed in the finale when the right hand side of ramp 3 continued firing for about 15 seconds after the music had finished.
It’s always difficult to do an International-calibre display in Montreal for the first time as a lot of planning and attention to detail is required. Big Bang’s soundtrack was enjoyable and the audience could be seen to be enthused by this. It’s a shame the deficiencies in the display design were a let down, especially as portions of the display were very good. The finale was enjoyable, though the nautical effects were either too dim or did not function properly as they were essentially invisible. Of course, it could be that the weather conditions on the final day of setup played their part in some of the problems.