The Joy of Life
Designed by Martin Hildeberg, Simon Svennon and Andreas Helle. Pyrodigital Firing with 238 16-cue modules and ~3500 cues; Finale Fireworks visualization.
A hot and humid summer’s evening was the backdrop to the final competitor in the 2016 season. Wind threatened to blow smoke at the packed audience (probably the largest of the season so far), but the weather gods cooperated and conditions were very good for this outstanding display by the renowned Swedish team.
The display featured a complex setup, with all five ramps in use, as well as extension on ramp 3 and a 42m high “Sky Ladder”. Ramp 5 was interesting in that the centre pontoon of the five was twice as large as the rest. There were also firing positions mounted on poles across the front of ramp 3. The sky ladder had nine vertical positions that allowed firing left and right at various angles, as well as on top of each position. At the top, a module with 360o slices as well as another position firing upwards. The sky ladder was used throughout the show and, due to its height, was very effective, adding an unusual vertical dimension to the firing patterns.
The display itself began very powerfully, leading to great cheers from the audience after the first music ended. It was immediately apparent that this was going to be a very good display indeed, with massive shells, fast sequences and really vivid colours. I found myself shouting wow many times during the first half of the display.
Many different effects were present and all ramps played their part – though, occasionally, it was difficult to see the action as there was so much happening at different levels, especially with some of the horizontal mine sequences from the poles on ramp 3. Ramp 5, being close to the audience, added to the feeling of fullness as all positions in the sky were utilized. The sky ladder worked well, though I missed seeing the smiley face fired from the top of it (and this only appeared once). Martin Hildeberg’s signature style of fast sequences of flash pots and mines was seen many times. I was surprised by the power of many parts of the display as we had quite a few endings to songs that were almost finales in their own right.
In the second half of the display, though, I found the pace of the first half was not maintained. There was one point where I wondered if there was a technical problem as there were no low-level effects present at all for some period of time. I also found that similar effects such as horsetail / waterfall shells and large kamuros were repeated just a little bit too much. That said, the many different kinds of horsetails used were all very high quality and I particularly liked the shell-of-shells type. Martin had promised that his 12″ shells would be used to we could see them and this was certainly the case as they filled the sky and trailed to the lake, with cheers from the audience.
One stand-out feature of the display was how colourful it was. I had the impression that it was probably the most colourful of this year’s competition, though it’s hard to judge as the smoke conditions didn’t help with some displays. The colours were particularly vivid and there were certain portions of the display when the sky was filled with bright colours from all levels.
I enjoyed the music, as did the audience, with many people swaying in their seats. The finale was also excellent with probably the loudest barrages of salutes used this year, the whole finale building in an impressive way. I was surprised there were no nautical shells used there, though. The nauticals that had been used during the display were of various types of bengals, fountains and small mines, but no really powerful shell-types. It was a pity there were a few minor firing issues, with some positions on ramp 3 not always working and part of ramp 5 being switched off towards the end due to a fire on one pontoon. There were a few mis-placed items here and there (the wrong one-shot or shell), but these were very minor.
The audience gave the team a well deserved standing ovation, but the reception in the Salon des Artifciers was not quite as intense as that given to the Spanish team. Afterwards, Martin said he was pleased, but disappointed that the error rate in Montreal is always higher than his company is used to seeing. GFF will definitely have a place on the podium and it’s very hard to say if they will get the Gold or the Silver.