Le Mondial SAQ 2002
Montréal International Fireworks Competition Report
Ampleman Pyrotechnie. Artistic director Eric Cardinal, FireOne firing, ScriptMaker choreography.
'Montréal's very own Ampleman are the recipients of numerous international awares, including two Jupiters. "This presentation symbolises the passage from a destructive and tormented world to one where harmony and unity reigns between nations and individuals", says the company. "This union of fire with music delivers our message of peace and balance. All ranges of emotions felt in the music to which the fireworks are blended become sources of inspiration and contemplation of a better world to come."'
Perfect weather for the past few days looked like it might end as ominous-looking storm clouds approached. Luckily, they all slipped away to the west as ideal summer conditions prevailed and gave the largest audience so far a memorable evening for this complex seventeen-part display which used 65 FireOne firing modules, 50% more than used in their Silver Jupiter-winning display of 1999.
Part 1 to the music Natural Blues by Moby. The display opened with silver meteor comet candles with blue star shells above. Then mines of strobe-stars with white comet shells above these. These were followed by a sequence of tourbillon candles with strobe shells and shells with deep red stars above. More shells of white comets turning to strobes and shells of red stars were followed by shells of slow falling stars and then more synchronized shots of strobe mines, the segment coming to a close with dahlia comet shells with blue stars.
Part 2 to the music Who's Gonna Stop the Rain by Anastasia. Candles of pastel stars firing over the lake were augmented by shells of charcoal comets turning to pastel stars followed by rising tail shells bursting to more charcoal comets. These were followed by shells of silver and then more charcoal comet shells with crossed charcoal comet candles below and then silver kamuro shells above. Next, crossed candles of crossette charcoal comets with barrages of silver kamuro shells above. These increased in number, the segment coming to a close with silver kamuro stars trailing to the lake, to cheers from the audience.
Part 3 to the music Quand les Hommes Vivront d'Amour by Luce Dufault. This segment began with angled mines of glitter comets and colour comet shells above. These were followed by more angled mines of charcoal glitter and colour stars with kamuro shells above. Then kamuro shells with blue pistils and shells of thicker crossette kamuro comets turning to blue. These were followed by rising-tail shells bursting to larger kamuro comets, turning to blue stars and trailing to the lake and then dahlia shells of thicker kamuro comets with shells of blue stars. The number of kamuros increased, the segment coming to a close with huge blue-terminated kamuros and a massive front of crackling charcoal comet mines.
Part 4 to the music En Mon Bonheur by Daniel Bélanger. Shells of deep-red go-getters were followed by serpent candles and shells of silver comets. Then more red go-getters. These were followed by candles of star-headed glitter comets and then candles of meteor comets with shells of silver stars above and shells of slow falling stars and shells of colour comets. Then more shells of silver stars and red go-getters with serpent candles below and then silver comet shells above. The segment came to a close with nautic shells of fountains turning to whistling salute-terminated tourbillons.
Part 5 to the music Fallin' by Alicia Keys. Red magnesium star candles were followed by shells of pastel stars, mines and then shells of silver glitter turning to fireflies. Then shells of brighter stars followed by multi-break shell-of-shells comets and shells of meteor comet stars. These were followed by bright shells of red and blue with crossed candles of blue-tipped charcoal comets below. Then the same in shells above. These were followed by red comet shells and then more blue-tipped charcoal comet shells. Next, shells of blue charcoal comets followed by gold and red shells and then more blue stars and charcoal comets. The segment came to a close with shells of silver meteor comets and red meteor comets.
Part 6 to the music That's Life by Frank Sinatra. Salute-terminated tourbillon candles were followed by shells of silver kamuros and then shells of pastel coloured star-tipped charcoal comets. These were followed by salute-terminated comet shells and shells of stars with a ring of tourbillons with glitter bombettes below. Then multi-break shell-of-shells of crossing comets and shells of salutes followed by more shells of stars and rings of tourbillons. The pace increased with colour comet shells and salutes, the segment coming to a close with multi-break shell-of-shells, salutes and crackle.
Part 7 to the music Only Time by Enya. This began more serenely with crossed meteor comet candles with charcoal comet shells above, hidden somewhat by the meteor comet candles below. Then shells of weeping-willow charcoal comets and nautic shell of comets. These were followed by more weeping willow charcoal comet shells, the comets turning to silver and charcoal comet shells with pistils. These were followed by palm tree shells and thick charcoal comet candles. Next, shells of weeping-willow turning to fireflies with more thick charcoal comet candles below. These were followed by more weeping-willow shells turning to silver, with mines of pastel colours below, the segment coming to a close with large weeping-willow shells turning to colour stars.
Part 8 to the music Un Peu Plus Loin by Ginette Reno. This segment began with shells of gold glitter with the same in nautic shells in the lake and then kamuro shells above. These were followed by crackling candles and then shells of gold fireflies and blue stars as the crackling candles continued. More shells of gold glitter and blue with blue sky-mine shells and then more gold glitter and blue shells. These were followed by thick gold kamuros and sky-mine shells in lime green followed by shells of blue stars and comets and then more lime-green sky-mine shells. Next, large kamuro shells, shells of blue stars and gold comets and yet more sky-mine shells, the segment coming to a close with kamuro shells with clusters of blue stars.
Part 9 to the music I Believe by Blessid Union of Souls. Candles of meteor-headed gold glitter crossettes were followed barrages of salutes and comets above. Then shells of gold meteor comets and shells of comets turning to blue stars. As the lyric said "hearts", shells of blue hearts burst exactly on cue and were followed by more shells of comets turning to blue. Then candles of bright lemon-yellow comets, with the same in shells above and shells of lemon crossette comets and more blue heart shells on cue. The lemon-yellow meteor comet candles continued, with more of the same in shells above, the number increasing and increasing and with shells of gold glitter. The segment came to a close with cones of rockets bursting to silver comets.
Part 10 to the music Le Monda à Refaire by Natasha St-Pier. This segment began with bright magnesium star candles in pastel colours with sky-mine shells in pastels above. Then more bright magnesium pastel star candles and sky-mines. These were followed by shells of colour comets with pistils, shells of lime-green, paler pastel colours and sky-mines in the same colours. Below these, thick pale crossing comets and more pastel shells above with sky-mines followed again by the magnesium star candles in pastels as the theme continued above with more shells and sky-mines. Then shells of meteor comets, continuing sky-mines in pastels with candles of crossed magnesium pastel stars below, the segment coming to a close with barrages of sky mines and shells in pastels.
Part 11 to the music Love Theme, St Elmo's Fire by David Foster. Fans of candles below and silver comet shells above opened this segment. Then shells of rings of tourbillons with stars and shells of silver glitter comets. These were followed by shells of pale silver comets, shells of glitter comets and then shells of silver meteor comets and then shells of bright silver stars. Next, shells of silver and shells of bright pastel green followed by larger silver comet shells. Silver rising-tail shells bursting to silver glitter comets and pastel green stars brought this segment to a close.
Part 12 to the music Pipes of Peace by Paul McCartney. Bombette candles were augmented by shells of blue rings with red pistils and then shells of glitter comets. The size and brightness increased and then there were smiley-face shells and shells of hummers and also shells of silver comets and sky-mines. These were followed by shells of glitter and shells of colour comets and then shells of falling stars, bringing the segment to a close with shells of sky-mines as well.
Part 13 to the music The World's Greatest by R. Kelly. This began with a big fan of glitter charcoal and aluminium comets across the whole floating ramp. Then shells of stars and comets above followed by rising-tail shells of kamuros. These were followed by shells of silver comets and then shells of charcoal comets turning to silver comets and then cones of rockets bursting to kamuros. Next, colour comet shells and then more kamuro shells and brighter kamuros with pistils. Large colour comet shells were followed by kamuros, bringing the segment to a close.
Part 14 to the music Main Theme, Survivor T.V. by Ancient Voices. As the popular TV music stared, nautic flares lit up in the lake, with red flares at the back of the display and a ring of gerbs on the control-room roof. The nautic flares turned into strobes as shells of single magnesium flares, falling slowly (without the banned parachutes) lit up above and were followed by ring shells. The segment came to a close with more comet shells and shells of the single flares.
Part 15 to the music mix At Sunrise by Tan Dun, Hulelam by Juno Reactor and Solaris by Juno Reactor. This segment began with several posts lined with lances firing out fast blue stars in V shapes left and right. As these continued, candles of screaming whistles filled the air as nautic fountains lit up in the lake, a ring of flares on the control room roof and then a fabulous flight of double-ascension glittering gold girandolas rose up and down in the air to cheers from the crowd. Then huge sequenced mines and sequenced comet shots as the music changed and strobe shells fired above. These were followed by shells of comets turning to strobes and mines of strobes below. This theme continued and moved to silver comet shells as the music changed and flares lit up on the roof of the control room. Above this, shells of comets and then rocket cones bursting to salutes and strobes. These were followed by thick glitter comet bombette candles with shells of firefly comets above. Then shells of blue rings with red pistils and cones of rockets bursting to silver kamuros.
Part 16 to the music Aria by Yanni. This segment began with shells of brighter comets amd shells of crossing-comets followed by rocket cones bursting to silver kamuros as the more flares continued on the control room roof. Then large shells of bright silver kamuros, shells of silver glitter comets and then shells of colour comets. The pace increased with more and more silver kamuro shells and then multi-break shell-of-shells of silver comets.
Part 17 to the music mix World in Union 95 by by Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Beynd Light by Tan Dun. The final segment in the display went beyond my ability to take notes. The pace was terrific, with huge barrages of shells with nautic shells in the lake. These increased in size until eight-inch nautic shells were fired, filling the lake with stars and exploding tremendously, especially considering I was only about 100m away from the shells anchored in the lake (these nautics being just too big to be fired into the lake safely, though many six-inch nautics were). Above the chaos on the lake, huge barrages of shells and then enormous volleys of large salutes and titanium salutes, with salute candles and silver comet shells. The noise was fearsome, my notes simply ending with WOW as the display came to a deafening end with the sky filled with salutes to cheers from the audience.
This was a fabulous display. The Ampleman team received a well deserved
standing ovation in the salon des artificiers after the display.
The choice of music was excellent and the
transitions between the many tracks were handled very well with many
being much more seamless than my notes indicated.
Synchronization was excellent and there were none of the sometimes
clichéd effects that computerized firing systems can give. The
choice of material was excellent, with beautiful colours from the
specially designed Rozzi sky-mines and gorgeous lemon yellow Spanish
comets. Of course, the nautic shells were superb, with the eight-inch
anchored shells simply stunning. The theme of the display was well
done, representing a passage from chaos to harmony, though the lake
was pretty chaotic in the finale! Because this display was so well done,
a couple of small points of criticism. Sometimes there was not quite
enough of a pause between tableaux and a little bit more
dynamic range could have been used in a few spots. Also, there was a portion
where charcoal comet shells were visually drowned-out by meteor comet
candles. However, all said and done, Ampleman must be fighting with
Portugal for the top prize this year. Two very different displays, both
deserving of the Gold Jupiter. My feeling is that it could well be the
music choice which determines the final order, though the uniqueness
of the Portuguese "ring" might prove to be their trump card. The level
of competition amongst the top displays this year is very high.
Thanks to the public relations people of La Ronde for the official
press release material, shown in white.