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 Montreal Fireworks Forum —› 2017 Display Reviews —› Poland - Surex reviews
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Posted: Jul 15, 2017 18:23:40

Hi everyone,

Please post your reviews/comments of the Polish display here.


Posted: Jul 16, 2017 04:14:16   Edited by: fredbastien

That was an excellent return show from Surex, a likely contender for a Jupiter and a strong contender for the best soundtrack award. Seven years after its lovely debut display, which unfortunately lacked of diversity, the Polish team had developed a more complex, thrilling and swinging extravaganza which didn’t stop for 30 minutes. Whereas the 2010 performance became somewhat repetitive for about one third of it, this new one successfully met the challenging 30-minute requirement. Both shows were radically different.

In opposition to the “loose” theme of the Italian display fired last week, I would say that Surex had a “light” one, mostly reflected into its cohesive soundtrack. Entitled “Just fun,” the storyline was not very elaborated, but we heard a line-up of popular songs which are all about parties or which might be heard in DJ-style events. The 2017 soundtrack included more than twice the number of segments of the 2010 one (29 vs 13). Some of these were remixes of well-known songs (e.g., Pink Floyd’s Brick in the Wall into DJ Eric Prydz’s Proper Education, or Let Me Entertain You revisited by Krzysztof Paszona, whose name appears six times on the list and who reportedly assisted with the soundtrack creation). All these pieces were neatly mixed together, without a single interruption during the whole show. I had a lot of discussion with some fellow viewers about the list released on La Ronde website and the actual soundtrack, some thought that it was not comprehensive, that other segments were also added, overlapping listed songs. All these issues might not be clarified, but they indicate how sophisticated the soundtrack was. This is why I believe it is a strong contender for the best soundtrack award.

The setup of the show was not the most extensive. The Polish team didn’t dispose a fifth ramp and it made a minimal use of the fourth ramp, only with some strobes or flashes pieces hanging from that circular platform. However, there were more firing positions on ramp 2 and, especially, on ramp 3, as indicated by the pictures below which show, side by side, the setup of the 2010 and 2017 displays.

The gap between both scenarios doesn’t appear to be huge, but it was enough to create more diverse firing patterns through the show. I felt entertained during the whole display, as the pace of the fireworks followed the unceasing one of the musics. At the beginning of the show, the note-synchronized flash pots and gerbs reminded me Swedish sequences from Göteborgs Fyrverkeri. A set of vertical poles allowed to shoot some horizontal effects tightly synchronized to the beat. Generally speaking, the synchro was flawless through the show. Surex also horizontally launched some fans of comets above the lake surface, a successful pattern which was however more obvious in 2010 on piano musics.

Around the 20th minute of the show, I was puzzled by a set of intertwined circular patterns. It became clear from the video that it was an eye, on the lyrics “All eyes on us” in Scream and Shout. Unfortunately, the effect appeared once but many people saw it as the audience became very vocal at this specific moment.

I also believe that some timely titanium bombettes, producing a bright flash when they burst, appeared during the “Titanium” song. I enjoyed the largest nautical shells exhibited so far, this year, as well as thick fans of comets during the ultimate segment. The finale made me scream (as it is often the case) and I tilted my back towards the empty row behind me, so I could better feel the power of the fireworks all over my body!

Surex strategy to buy pyrotechnic pieces from a large number of suppliers allowed to feature a wide range of products. We saw various patterns of shells, including some cylindrical shells which burst a couple of times through their ascension, studatas, single- and double-ascension girandolas. Some effects changed of colours twice. Notably, the arsenal comprised a huge quantity of cakes erupting into various effects, including some which shot multicolour stars during 25 seconds on the music of “Let Me Entertain You,” and other which shot white thin electrical comets on “Brick in the Wall/Proper Education,” another sequence which elicited reactions from the audience. That being said, I would say that the quality of these products was not as high as what we saw in Vaccalluzzo, which manufactured most of its products. The colours were not as bright and the behavior of some pieces – the girandolas, for instance – appeared somewhat erratic and with a shorter trail below.

I briefly met with one of the designers immediately after the show. Asked whether he could come back to Montreal on August 5th if Surex is among the winners, he responded that in such circumstances, he would come back no matter the date! I would say that Surex is a contender for a Jupiter, but with four remaining contestants, it is too soon to make any prediction.

My ranking so far :

1. Surex (Poland)
2. Vaccalluzzo (Italy)


This was the 250th show in competition since the beginning of the Montreal International Fireworks Competition. It was also the 200th fireworks show I attended at La Ronde. Inside the Salon des artificiers, Paul Marriott was doing his maths and he is apparently going to reach the same threshold during the current season.

I was appropriately accompanied by the friend who convinced me to buy a season pass in 1996 and to join his family and him, who used to attend most of the shows. I had previously experienced two displays at La Ronde, but I could not imagine that I was going to attend all subsequent shows for more than two decades! It is hard to know how such banal moves can ignite a passion and has a long-lasting impact. Merci Jean-François!


Posted: Jul 16, 2017 07:48:38   Edited by: fireworksforum

Thanks for your detailed review of this excellent show Fred! Great photo of the eye effect too!

I also counted the number of shows I've seen and I think last night's must have been your 199th ... but maybe I counted incorrectly ... for me, I missed two between 1996 and yesterday and, like you, went to the closing in 1995 (which was my first time at La Ronde).

The video is now up for members to see.


Posted: Jul 16, 2017 11:42:50   Edited by: fredbastien

Paul, I will email you an Excel file with the counting. For me, you have to count in the first show I attended on site (by Société Étienne-Lacroix in 1994), in addition to the closing in 1995, then all shows since 1996. I count only the full displays, not the very short ones which followed the stand-alone award ceremonies in 2009 and 2010 (similarly, the competition organizers do not add them to their counting of the number of shows since the start of the event in 1985).


Posted: Jul 16, 2017 18:16:35

Are there any videos online of the entire display?

Posted: Jul 16, 2017 20:08:52

Are there any videos online of the entire display?

Yes - you can see them if you join the forum as a member.


Posted: Jul 16, 2017 20:24:47   Edited by: ryguy2008

Although this was a very good show, I actually was not as impressed.

I found the firing patterns to be sometimes quite messy and erratic. Likewise, the quality of the shells does not come to close to matching the quality seen last week. Many of the shells quickly changed colours and then disappeared. I would have liked to see a lot longer effects.

Likewise, the Polish team went to great lengths to match the rhythm of each song. However, they likely did not understand the words in many cases. For example, in Sia's Chandelier, at one point, the lyrics are "1 2 3, 1 2 3, drink". However, there were only shells fired on the "1". They could have done a lot more with that.

Only in a few cases did they seem to understand the content of the song (such as Highway to Hell).

Finally, the soundtrack had no breaks for 30 minutes straight. There were times where I wanted a slower pace, but the next "high-energy" song had begun.

Overall, we see a theme such as this every year. It's a very "easy" theme because the teams get to use popular songs which people can easily relate to. However, unless they do something extraordinary (like Italy in 2013 - PyroEmotions & PyroDigit), I'm not as impressed.

With that in mind:
1. Italy
2. Poland

Looking forward to some of the upcoming shows. There are a few ambitious themes there.

Posted: Jul 18, 2017 21:03:40

My report is here: http://montreal-fireworks.com/ReportBlog/?p=1311

#1 so far!


Posted: Jul 25, 2017 22:56:52

High humidity and late-evening temperatures of 23-24 C were present for Poland’s display. Early-day showers contributed atmospheric moistening, but skies cleared nicely in time for the evening period, with a few isolated clusters of cumulus. Winds were largely in the form of Southwesterlies, but higher-altitude winds were more in the form of WSW, causing the accumulating smoke to move largely towards right-hand sections of the La Ronde audience.

I do agree with most of the comments presented here regarding the Polish display. Indeed, this was truly a significant improvement from their June 26th, 2010 participation. The show began very tranquilly, with a passionate soundtrack and tight synchronization to reinforce it. This opening piece was quite exemplary, as we did observe tenacious synchronization throughout the show and was executed quite cleverly, at times, to depict certain elements of some songs. The diversity of effects was good, as was the quality of products. Moments of excitement were numerous, as was intended by the designated theme, and there had often been a good interplay between effects to represent the rather large quantity of soundtrack that comprised this display. Color richness was also fantastic, though the high humidity drowned out the coloring schemes rather quickly. The scope of the display was also fairly broad, and symmetry was often maintained from top to bottom and left to right, although periods of asymmetry were seen along low-level. The double-ascension girandolas and ghost shells were also great additions to the display, as were the bright flares of yellow at low-level. One segment that was particularly emotional was that of “Adiemus”.

Some negative points that I had were directed at the organization of the display. Firstly, the theme was overly simplistic and broadly defined. It was not always clear how the music related to the thematic premise, even though the energetic nature of the display and overall musical selection brought out the essence of the theme adequately. However, the transitions in pace were not sometimes seamless, that is, the change from one section to the next was a little too abrupt, whereas in others, it was quite good, especially near the end of the display. This is likely that there were numerous soundtrack involved in the display, which would favorably invite abrupt changes from one segment to another and, consequently, limit time for more creative ways to illustrate the music. Also, I did not feel too emotionally drawn to the display, probably because I was not always overly enjoying the music. It may have also been that perhaps the theme did not leave much room for drastic changes in emotions altogether. That said, most of the music was enjoyable to listen to when watching the fireworks and appeared rather popular with the audience (which may earn it the soundtrack award, I also suspect). As mentioned previously, though, I did feel particularly emotional as the display moved into “Adiemus”, and during those passionate moments at the introduction of the display. As a result, the rapid mood swings did exist, but they were just too few (which, again, is understood, given the nature of the theme). The finale was quite enjoyable, but I felt that it was much too broken up to feel intense. As such, the finale felt somewhat anti-climactic towards its end. The nautical shells of gold, though, were spectacular and added substance to the overhead activity!

In general, this was well-executed display, but I was expecting a more organized approach to convey the theme, and a more dynamic way to evoke more emotional moments. Definitely a contender for a Jupiter.


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