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Le Mondial SAQ 2001
Montréal International Fireworks Competition Report

Opening Show Passions extrêmes Wednesday June 20th, 2001

La Ronde, designed by Paul Csukassy, FireOne firing

'La Ronde's pyrotechnicians showed off their talent at the millenium fireworks on January 1, 2000, in Montréal. Under the direction of Paul Csukassy, they proved to be real masters of the art. This is the first time that the opening show is being staged by La Ronde's pyrotechnic team. "We've named this show Passions extrêmes since it offers a musical score that transcends many genres and has profuse and stunning displays of innovative special effects," explained Paul Csukassy. "As the opening show is outside the Jupiter competition, we can indulge in some special effects that would otherwise be prohibited."'

A warm clear evening of the second longest day of the year was the backdrop to the launching of the 2001 season, complete with new Sponsors. Formerly the Benson and Hedges International, the Montreal International Fireworks Competition, to use its official name, is now called Le Mondial SAQ, the SAQ being the provincial Société des alcools du Québec. Also new this year, La Ronde is now part of the Six Flags theme park group, with a commitment to hold the competition for at least ten years, thus allaying any fears that the loss of tobacco sponsorship would mean the end of the competition. A final first this year, the opening show entirely designed and conceived by the in-house pyrotechnicians at La Ronde, under the direction of Paul Csukassy. Various special effects were promised since this none-competing display was allowed to stray out of the normal competition bounds.

Part 1 to the music Right Now by Van Halen. After a false start, where the pyrotechnics began (with some impressive, presumably note-synchronized mines and fans of comets and strobe-star shells above) but the music did not, things got back on-track after a few minutes of technical adjustments. Green lasers played across the lake, with gold glitter mines and gold comet shells above. Then fans of gold comets with purple and then pink shells above with crossed gold glitter comet candles below.

Part 2 to the music Women In Chains by Tears for Fears. Thick, pale gold comet candles with blue bombettes above opened this segment as the lasers played over the lake. Then shells of blue with tourbillon candles below followed by note-sequenced comets with silver glitter comet shells above. The tourbillon candles continued with alternating blue then gold glitter shells above, followed by an alternating sequence of silver glitter and pink glitter shells, the segment coming to a close with the lasers taking advantage of the smoke and large silver rising-tail shells bursting to silver with blue pistils.

Part 3 to the music from the film Armagedon by Trevor Rabin. A line of V-shaped fountains began this segment and was followed by a line of groups of eight fountains (2 at each corner of a square). Above these, willow shells with arcing willow comets below from the left and right of the floating ramp. Then willow shells with titanium-laced burst charges followed by kamuro shells and kamuro bombette candles. The twinkly gold kamuro shells were replaced with silver, with more and more, and a probably mis-placed bright-blue star shell above these. The segment came to a close with a volley large red star shells.

Part 4 to the music Don't Stop Me Now by Queen. This began with more glitter gold comet bombette candles with multi-break shell-of-shells in blue and gold above. Then shells of gold-headed comets, followed by more multi-break shell-of-shells in silver, blue and then green. Next, shells of really bright blue stars at high level, with green star shells at a lower level followed by whistling tourbillon candles. Then a repeating sequence of red-headed comet shells, bright silver mines, multi-break shell-of-shells in blue and gold, whistling tourbillon candles and a barrage of salutes. Next, crackling comet bombette candles with shells of tourbillons and comets above. The segment closed with more shells of tourbillons and stars, really large star shells and then a front of dazzling silver mines with salutes.

Part 5 to the music from the film Aliens by James Horner. Note sequenced mines in red, purple, green and blue were followed by salutes with red shells above and more mines below. A mine was even shot from the axle of the large Ferris wheel to the right hand side of the display area. Then shells of strobe-stars (previously called fireflies is my other reports). The segment came to a close with shells of green and gold and then blue and gold.

Part 6 to the music Nobody Does It Better by Carly Simon from the film The Spy Who Loved Me. Silver rising-tail shells bursting to small whizzing toubillons were followed by crossed gold candles with blue bombettes. Then shells of bright ball stars which turned out to be crossettes - each star breaking into four. These were repeated in some great pastel colours with crossed glitter candles and red star candles below and then red come shells above. Next, shells of blue and silver comets, the segment coming to a close with a large weeping willow shell turning to silver.

Part 7 to the music Viens Danser by Fiori Séguin. A line of candles with multi-break shell-of-shells above and then mines below were followed by bombette candles with blue shells above. Then silver comet bombette candles with blue and gold glitter comet shells above. These were followed by crossed comet bombette candles and then thick comets shooting up and over the lake towards the audience! The segment came to a close with more of these with multi-break shell-of-shells above.

Part 8 to the music from the film Gladiator by Hans Zimmer. A line of archers shot flaming arrows out into the lake where they were presumably supposed to look like they were igniting something. Unfortunately, the technical gremlins got in and nothing happened on any of the extra floating launch platforms in the lake, neither the water screen for the lasers. As more arrows were fired, silver ball shells above were followed by blue shells and then weeping willows and then pale gold thick comet candles. Above these, large kamuro shells and then blue, as more flaming arrows flew into the lake, bringing the segment to a close with comet shells above.

Part 9 to the music All You Need Is Love by The Beatles. Two large CND peace symbols in lancework lit-up as shells of green which broke once and then, after a delay, broke again into clusters of stars. These were repeated and followed by pattern shells of bow-ties with rings. Then pattern shells of spirals, followed by double concentric hearts and then shells of willow comets turning to crackling stars, bringing the segment to a close.

Part 10 to the music Je reviendrai à Montréal by Robert Charlebois. Cheers from the crowd erupted as they heard the popular local songster's tune start up to a line of thick pale gold comet candles followed by silver bombettes. Then more gold candles with blue star shells above, the colours matching the song's lyric. Next, glittery weeping willow shells followed by blue and silver comets turning to strobe-stars moving into barrages of pure strobe-star shells. The segment came to a close with more of the strobe-star shells with shells of stars and comets.

Part 11 to the music Night Fever by The Bee Gees from the film Saturday Night Fever. This began with dancing tourbillon candles with double-petal tourbillon flower shells with blue pistils above. This theme was maintained throughout the segment.

Part 12 to the music from the film Once Upon a Time in the West by Ennio Morricone. This began with a line of bright red flame fountains in cross formations with a large number of silver nautic fountains fired into the lake. Then silver comet candles with shells of small bees above followed by more nautic fountains and more bee shells. Then rings of comets fired from the circular roof of the central control room with shells of pale gold comets above and more comets shot from the firing ramp over the lake to the audience, with pale gold kamuro shells above. This theme was repeated until the end of the segment.

Part 13 to the music Show Me the Way by Styx. The final segment began with nautic flares in the lake becoming strobes. Note-synchronized bright headed comets from left and right were followed by crackling bombettes with double concentric ring shells above. Then large shells in blue and gold followed by bright silver star shells. Large shells with pistils were followed by gold glitter crossette candles and then blue bombettes. Next, very large shells of crackling stars followed by mine after mine below. The pace increased as large comet shells with barrages of salutes, incredibly bright huge silver mines below, silver comet and salute candles, shells of rings of salute terminated comets above, the pace quickening further as the display came to an end with a barrage of blue and salute terminated comet shells.

This was a very enjoyable beginning to the 2001 competition season. The few technical glitches did not detract from a very enjoyable display with some unusual effects, though I always think the use of lasers is never quite as successful as it would be imagined. However, as a debut display by the in-house pyrotechnicians, it was impressive. As I was leaving La Ronde, a large fireball erupted, lighting up the whole lake. I presume this was one of the special effects which the technical gremlins prevented from going off earlier.


Thanks to the public relations people of La Ronde for the official press release material, shown in white.