Le Mondial SAQ 2001
Montréal International Fireworks Competition Report
Taiwan Harmony of Dragon and Phoenix Saturday July 7th, 2001
San Tai Fireworks Industrial Co., Ltd., designed by Helen Ong, PyroDigital firing
"San Tai Fireworks is one of the most important fireworks manufacturers in Taiwan and for this inaugural visit, the company is proposing a special voyage into Taiwanese mythology. The show aims to demonstrate the country's culture and its humanity. Embellished with traditional music and with pyrotechnic components designed specifically for the Mondial SAQ, including a 20-metre dragon and a 15-metre phoenix, Taiwan's fireworks will grace Montréal's sky for the first time."
Late evening showers couldn't dampen enthusiasm for this first visit for the Taiwanese team. Designed in collaboration with Toni Bussman of last year's Swiss entrant, Bugano Feuerwerke AG, and with the able assistance of Eric Tucker of PPA for matters PyroDigital, this was sure to be something special. The first electronically fired show this year, using 170 PyroDigital firing modules, promised to be interesting, with the majority of the product being manufactured by San Tai. The music, unfortunately with song titles only in the press release, also appeared, or at least some of it did, in the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Part 1 to the music The General Command. The display opened dramatically with barrage after barrage of large titanium salutes. Then ring shells of silver and more titanium salutes followed by shaped-burst shells producing smiley faces. These were followed by large shells of silver comets and blue pistils, then shells of comets with crackling pistils and shells with two different coloured pistils and the outer stars changing colour twice. At this point, the pace was quite frenetic with barrage after barrage of large multi-pistil multi-colour changing shells. Next, star shells of mixed colours followed by shells of blue with white comets and then star shells with starfish comet pistils. These were followed by barrages of multi-break shell-of-shells in red followed by huge willow shells turning to silver. Then shells of white turning to red and then to comets followed by barrages of gold comet with blue stars and shaped-burst shells in butterflies of gold comets and blue stars. Then more barrages of gold glitter comet and blue star shells and huge shells of comets and white stars turning to blue. Next, repeated barrages of willow stars turning to silver then to blue followed by shells of half red and half blue with their pistils also half red and half blue, but the other way round. This fantastic opening segment came to a close, to cheers from the crowd, with a barrage of multi-break shell-of-shells of white comets and volleys of titanium salutes.
Part 2 to the music Flower Drum Song. This segment began more sedately with crossed colour ball candles and note-synchronized mines with shaped-burst shells in blue in shapes I couldn't discern, followed by more note-synchronized mines of tourbillons. Then crossed bright-headed comet candles as the dragon and phoenix set-pieces lit up, unfortunately largely obscured by smoke from my vantage point and then the lake was filled with large silver nautic fountains, to cheers from the audience. The dragon then appeared to shoot out stars and whistles as umbrella-shaped crowns of crackling fountains opened up in the centre and then started to spin horizontally. Above these, shells of double rings of comets as the "umbrellas" spun faster. Then shells of large green stars which suddenly became go-getters followed by shells of rings with pistils. Next, V-shape mines of clusters of comets in perfect synchronization with butterfly-shells above in gold comets and blue stars, some with rings as well. These were followed by colour-changing star shells and then a huge shell with comets trailing all the way to the lake. A line of bright red flares lit up with silver star and comet shells with salutes above, the segment coming to a dramatic close with a huge silver comet shell ending in crackle - a silver popping brocade in fact, to cheers from the audience.
Part 3 to the music Journey to Shambala. Crackling rising tails bursting to crackling palms rose into the sky as cakes of blue balls and a line of bright red flares lit up the ground. Next, candles of clusters of charcoal comets and blue ball candles with charcoal comets aimed to the left and right. These were followed by repeating volleys of delicate willow comets ending up in jewel-like colours such as blue and green. Then shells of willow comets with crackling pistils, the comets turning to silver. More barrages of the willow-to-blue shells and then willow-to-silver. Then a really large willow comet turning to silver shell followed by kamuro shells of firefly composition, delicately twinkling. Next large shells with the firefly comets in pistils, surrounded by kamuro stars. These were followed by shells of bright white comets in tight clusters which fell like curtains and then were followed by gold kamuros trailing all the way to the lake. Next, tight clusters of white comets rising slowly and then turning over and falling down. Then more of the kamuro shells but with crackling comet pistils, increasing in size in volley after volley, ending up in a huge one trailing to the lake, to cheers of course.
Part 4 to the music Spring in Lhasa. Cakes of tourbillons and star-headed comets were followed by candles of salute-terminated clusters of comets and then candles of tourbillons and salutes, the candles all firing at exactly the same time. Above these, shells of the flowers of tourbillons in single and double petals with blue or green stars as pistils or surrounding. Barrage after barrage of these was fired followed by shells of comets with crackle and then blue stars with crackling pistils. These were followed by more of the same, but in pink and then shells with double spheres of crackle, surrounded by green stars. Then a repeating sequence of willow comets ending in crackle followed by bright star shells also ending in crackle. Next, large glittering comet shells with fast strobing red stars, the segment coming to a close with yet another huge kamuro trailing to the lake.
Part 5 to the music Prelude to the song of Boatman. Loud cakes of salutes and stars and bombettes were followed by the large shells with pistils in half and half colours. Then a huge shell of blue stars and comets followed by shells of stars with comet pistils. Below, bright headed charcoal comet candles with crackling bombette cakes and then cakes of silver bombette comets with salutes. Above these, volley after volley of white strobe-star shells, the stars filling the sky and descending just like the music was at that point. The music became more serene, as did the fireworks with crossed blue star candles as fans of glitter comet candles and soft bombettes. Then the pace increased as barrages of silver comet and silver star shells were fired, the segment coming to a close with a huge silver comet shell filling the sky.
Part 6 to the music Love before time. This segment began with pale orange-yellow headed gold comet candles with shells of rings and five-pointed stars above. Then candles of soft bombettes. These were followed by barrages of huge silver kamuro shells with pistils. Then willow comet shells with crackling pistils, trailing to the lake. Then willow comet shells with double layers of crackling stars, kind of double popping brocades. Barrage after barrage of these popping brocades and other crackling shells and then even some with three layers of crackle. Next, ball shells with starfish comet pistils and then shells of silver comets with crackling silver pistils. These were followed by barrages of pale gold crackling comets and pistils. Next, more of the multi-layer crackling willow shells with barrage after barrage of these. The segment came to a dramatic close with a huge willow shell with a crackling pistil, the final crackle layer at the end of the willow comets literally feet away from the audience!
Part 7 to the music Defend the Yellow river. This final segment opened up with large shells of blue stars and silver comet pistils. Then pistil shells with each in complementary half and half colours followed by large multi-break shell-of-shell silver comets. More shells of blue stars and silver comets with cakes of crazy silver bees. Above these, half and half shells in blue and red and more blue and silver comet shells. A more serene moment as star headed glitter comet fan candles opened up, followed by candles of clusters of comets and silver bombettes. Above these, silver kamuro shells, getting larger and large and then multi-break shell-of-shells in silver stars. These were followed by more star-headed glitter comet fan candles with barrages of strobe-star shells above and colour shells above these. Then shells of colour stars with crackling pistils and more multi-break shell-of-shells in stars and then a return to the strobe-star shells. Next, shells of very fast flashing red strobes and shaped-burst shells in smiley faces followed by shells of blue stars and comets. One of these blue stars and silver comets did a dramatic flowerpot and was followed by shells of more of the fast strobes and then shells of silver comets turning to crackle. The display came to a close with barrages of silver comet shells with pistils, the final moment coming with a huge silver comet shell, trailing all the way to the lake.
This was a fabulous display. The synchronization, as expected, was
flawless throughout and there was a great range in intensity, from
very serene to huge barrages. The range and quality of shells used
was fantastic, especially the multi-layer crackling shells, the
popping brocades and the shells with several pistils, all layers
changing colour at least twice. The audience loved the huge willow and
kamuro shells with their stars trailing to the lake, especially the
popping brocade where the crackles were really in-your-face. The music
also worked well. The only criticism I can think of is that the first
segment felt more intense than the finale. Otherwise, an excellent
debut display which must be in contention for a Jupiter, at least at
this point in the competition.
Thanks to the public relations people of La Ronde for the official
press release material, shown in white.