AC/DC are the definition of cult. The music industry’s most successful hard-rock group have a catalogue of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll hits. Starting off in the 70s, they have sold more than 200 million records worldwide – 71.5 million of those in the US alone. This makes the Australians one of the top ten sales successes in American music history. Their current ‘Rock or Bust’ world tour proves that they’ve still got it – with a little help from the grandMA2 …


For their current tour AC/DC have once again turned to the talents of lighting designer and show director Patrick Woodroffe as well as lighting director Cosmo Wilson. For the tour, Wilson ordered two grandMA2 full-size control consoles to lend visual backing to classics including “Hells Bells”, “Highway to Hell”, and “For Those About to Rock”. Wilson was satisfied with the decision: “I’m using the grandMA2 because I’ve had such success using the grandMA ‘series 1’ for the past ten years, and I decided it was time for me to upgrade to the grandMA2. The learning curve was easier, because I’ve been using the grandMA ‘series 1’, but there are so many new things on the grandMA2 that make programming and operating my show much easier and quicker. Also, having more faders allows me to lay out my cueing in a way that works much better for me.”

Cosmo Wilson works “old style”, as he puts it. That means lots of improvisation and flexibility during the shows. “The fact that I can do a lot of things ‘on-the-fly’ really helps. It allows me to write cues in the heat of the moment and then come back the next day and clean them up. I am also very happy with both the speed and the stability of the console and look forward to each show day.”

Lighting design is an artform that requires forethought and enthusiastic application to produce truly satisfying results. With each tour, Woodroffe’s aim is to create a unique experience for the fans: “I wanted to create a big, large-scale rock concert to fill the end of a stadium. So my first choice was spots with a high light-output and clear beams (Philips Vari*Lite VL3500 Wash, Philips Vari*Lite VL4000 BeamWash, the Clay Paky Sharpy Wash and the Clay Paky Sharpy), and that was also to do justice to the high-energy character of the band.”

AC/DC’s world tour continues to the end of the year, but it certainly won’t be their last, and the next time will once again put the tried and tested recipe on centre stage: rock’n’roll with top-quality music, crunchy riffs and an incredible light show experience.