1997 l'International Benson & Hedges Montréal Pyromusical Competition Report
France Sea of Dreams Saturday June 13th, 1997
With near-perfect, if somewhat cool, conditions, Montréal welcomed newcomers Brezac to the competition. Brezac's aim was "not to win the competition, but to offer Montréal the best display they've ever seen up until now". I think their goal was achieved with a fabulous nine-part display. This is certainly the one to beat!
Part 1 to the music Santiago by Hugues Aufray. The display began with red white and blue ball candles followed by gold glitter shells above. These increased in size until the air was filled with brilliant gold fireflies. A barrage of salutes next and then shells with blue stars and white comets, with white ball candles below. This was repeated with larger shells above followed with white and blue star shells and multi-coloured ball candles below. Next a volley of titanium salutes and white comets with crossed ball candles below and silver glitter shells following above. Next mines of comet stars ending in salutes and lots of silver glitter shells above and some shells with really bright white stars with long tails. Then tourbillon candles and shells of pink stars and some multi-break shells of comet stars breaking into silver glitter.
Part 2 to the music Green Land by Dan Ar Braz. This began with a front of silver glitter candles with a single white strobe-pot in the centre of the display. There appeared to be some technical difficulties because it looked like a front of candles had not ignited. Then white fountains appeared on the ground with bright silver comet candles and a barrage of small comets. This was followed with quite a pause as perhaps another technical problem occurred. However, things got back on track with a barrage of coloured comets followed by the same in silver. Then mines of green stars followed by candles of whistles and green bombettes. Another set of fountains ignited with a background of silver comets and fast tourbillons which made a distinct whizzing sound. Synchronization to the music was lost slightly as the start of the next part happened before the music.
Part 3 to the music Bon Voyage by Vangelis. This segment opened to a dramatically noisy ignition of a string of brilliant blue lances stretching like the ropes of a ship from the tower in the lake to the ground. Once ignited, a front of blue ball and gold comet candles were fired with shells of the same above with the blue stars turning into fireflies. This was repeated with violet candles and some blue bombettes and more firefly shells above. A flight of rockets next breaking into blue and white comets. Then turquoise candles and the launch into the lake of dozens of flares which became strobes. Red flares lit up the background as the Mirage water-screen projection system came to life and the display moved seemlessly into the next part. Unfortunately, due to the wind I couldn't make out the image projected onto the water screen.
Part 4 to the music Siren's Whispering by Vangelis. Gold charcoal crossed comet candles with very long tails were followed with gold glitter mines and charcoal comet shells above giving the familiar weeping willow effect. A great number of these were fired including palm tree effects and crossette comets below. Then a really large sky-filling barrage of weeping willow shells with gold charcoal comet candles below. This was repeated and whistles and charcoal bombette candles added. This was repeated until there were charcoal comets of several types at all levels in the sky and more palm-trees. Once the air was full of charcoal comets, some low level colour shells appeared and this segment ended with an enormous weeping willow shell which filled the air with long delicate fronds which hung for almost half a minute to the enthusiastic applause of the audience.
Part 5 to the music Arbeit by the Bronx Drums. The rhythmic drums of the music were used to great effect in this segment as volley after volley of titanium salutes were fired in perfect synchronization. Then mines of colour stars and then volleys of salutes fired high above from shells with very rapid salute candles below. Next, a front of yellow crossette candles with yellow comet shells high above with really bright comets below. This as followed with shells of yellow comets turning to white and a big barrage of salutes, comets and mines of brilliant orange and ended in a climax of dazzling white comet shells and a thunderous volley of salutes.
Part 6 to the music Daphnis and Cloé by Ravel. After the noise of the previous section, this began serenely with delicate glitter comet candles followed by crossed pink ball candles and more glitter comets fired from the tower in the lake. Fountains were ignited on the ground in the shape of stars with yellow firefly shells above. The section ended with a flight of rockets bursting into glitter comets.
Part 7 to the music from the film Conan the Barbarian. This began with ball candles of pinkish white, then bombettes of the same. Next, tourbillon mines with shells of slow-falling comets above and then shells of really fast go-getters followed by rockets. The Mirage water screen came to life with the image of a skull and crossbones projected. Nautic mines were fired from the water and appeared to burst from the base of the image itself. Then bright crossette candles and shells of the same above and some shells with pistils of small stars and pistils which formed a spreading star shape. Next, white ball candles and lots of red ring shells. Then a barrage of screaming tourbillon mines with white comet shells above. This was followed by a front of dazzling orange mines with a barrage of salutes. Then dazzling white comet shells and shells with pink and white stars and some shells of slow falling small silver comets. There was a thunderous volley of salutes and then another barrage of screaming tourbillon mines terminating in reports. This was repeated and this segment climaxed to a sky filled with criss-crossing comets in dazzling white.
Part 8 to the music Lac Kariba from a film by Nicolas Hulot. This began with red strobe-pots and shells of orange stars above. Then shells of white stars and white fireflies with white ball candles below. Then more and more firefly shells getting bigger and bigger until the air was filled with twinkling stars. These were then replaced by crackling comet candles, shells of the same and multi-break shells of crackling crossettes. Then bigger dramatically crackling candles and more of the same in shells. This was repeated several times, the effect getting larger and more dramatic each time. Then huge shells above with pistils of cracking stars. These got bigger and bigger until the end of the segment with a particularly large shell with hundreds of crackling stars which sounded like a huge round of applause. The audience responded with the same!
Part 9 to the music San Roque by Llan de Cubell. This final segment of the display was so breathtaking that words really can't do it justice, especially the finalé, but I'll try my best. It began with a front of crackling candles and above these, shells of mixed colour stars such as blue, green and orange. This was repeated, increasing in size with shells of crackling pistils and then a barrage of the mixed colour shells. Then shells of brilliant white comets, white stars, pink stars and dazzling orange mines, repeated and increasing in size all the time. Then another mine barrage and shells with pistils of crossette comets. Mixed with these shells were shaped bursts of hearts, crosses, something which looked like letters, multi-rings and a particularly good saturn shell and with some nice shells of white stars which turned to blue. Then a barrage of crackling bombettes and some huge blue star shells above followed by yellow firefly stars. After this, I couldn't keep up with the pace of the display. There were still around 4 minutes left at this point and the pace was incredible. Vast numbers of shells of all sorts burst into the sky; barrage after barrage of mines below; crackling candles; titanium salutes at a low level, bright salutes at a high level; blindingly bright white comets above. The pace kept increasing and increasing until the finalé was reached. The air was absolutely filled with stars and salutes. It was absolutely breathtaking - there was so much debris visible in the air it looked like some sort of cataclysm had taken place. I really can't describe fully how good this finalé was. It ended with an enormous volley of white comets which produced a weeping willow effect and a thunderous barrage of salutes. This was breathtaking since the normal weeping willow effect is in charcoal comets. The audience screaming their enthusiasm for this magnificent display.
Later, in the press room, when the Brezac team returned, they were greated with a
standing ovation which lasted around 5 minutes. I spoke to some people who said this
was the best display they've ever seen. It was truly excellent and will be very
hard to beat. I think they lived up to their goal of producing the best display ever seen in Montréal.