Super Trouper (ABBA – 1980)

Super Trouper

Super Trouper

Super Trouper is the greatest song ever written about a stage light. The lyrics bring a shiver of pleasure to even the most jaded stagehand:

Tonight the Super Trouper lights are gonna find me
Shining like the sun
Smiling, having fun
Feeling like a number one

Tonight the Super Trouper beams are gonna blind me

But I won’t feel blue
Like I always do
‘Cause somewhere in the crowd there’s you

At 200’, a 2000-watt Xenon Super Trouper Long Throw at its smallest focus has a diameter of 13’ (iris open), with an intensity of 3,307 lux. By comparison, a typical office is around 320-500 lux. Not quite shining like the sun (direct sunlight ranges from 32,000-100,000 lux) but still pretty blinding.

The Super Trouper is a beast – almost 5’ long, 4’ high; it weighs 279 pounds, not including the 42-pound power supply that sits on the floor. New models run $13,000+ but you can find them used for $2,500 or so. The bulbs are $450-500 (rated life 2400 hours, if you take good care of them.)

Curiously, Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus didn’t include any of these terrific details in their song. In fact, the video features a CCT Silhouette, which is more of a club spot and not even close to the majesty of the real thing. The album cover is also quite strange, featuring a brilliant white light coming from above the band – sure, it might be a truss spot, although the ST is pretty large and heavy for a truss, and would require a special mount to point straight down. And the group looks like it’s standing in the midst of the audience anyway. Is a little accuracy too much to ask, when singing of the sacred?

Facing twenty thousand of your friends
How can anyone be so lonely
Part of a success that never ends
Still I’m thinking about you only

There are moments when I think I’m going crazy

But it’s gonna be alright
Everything will be so different
When I’m on the stage tonight