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Bandit Lites and Barry Manilow Tour ‘One Last Time’
USA – Superstar Barry Manilow has taken to the stage for his ‘One Last Time Tour’ with Bandit Lites providing the lighting. In what is being hailed as his grand finale (or at least a goodbye to a full production touring show) Manilow brings his epic catalogue of hits from his 40+ year career to the adoring masses.
Back in 1998, Seth Jackson was told he was ‘filling in for a guy’ and now jokes, “I don’t know when that guy is coming back!”
“Over the years I moved from lighting director to lighting and set designer, production designer, and now I'm the show's creative director and production designer,” he said. “We've been around the world a few times, spent seven years in Las Vegas residency, and now I guess we've got One Last Time.”
Planning for the tour started back in October with conversations between Manilow and Jackson starting with a blank drawing board and exploring every idea they had imagined.
“Little by little we started to see certain ideas, song selections, and concepts start to come together,” Jackson said. “It is always a long process for us. We spend a lot of hours on ideas that never even make it to rehearsal, but that process helps us really define what story we are trying to tell. At the end of the day we had a show that celebrated an enormous catalogue of hits and was all built on a performer who never planned on being a star looking back at what 40 years of hits has brought to his life and his fans.”
Jackson purposefully planned to create a look different from typical concert trappings, such as beams and graphics, in the audience looks, or 'Sharpy-ing myself to death'. Instead, Jackson chose Robe BFMLs as the spot fixture and Clay Paky B-Eye K20s as the wash fixture.
“Both of them were unique enough in their look, both had tremendous flexibility and brightness, and they paired well together. I also used the Robe CycFX 8 for all of the scenic elements and the ROBE / Anolis Arc Dots for our runway fixtures. I used a few VL3500 spots so I had the shutters available to light the band.”
The result is a specific look that focuses less on beams in the air and instead focuses on illumination of surfaces. Additionally, the overall look of the show was to be a departure from a generic “concert” look, with a red velour set and wood tones rather than silver and grey.
“We do very little beam graphics, even our video elements (designed by Brent Sandrock) are set in the context of the environment so you never see the square edges of the video screen,” Jackson explained. “The imagery looks like it is a part of the environment, not a giant TV in the middle of the stage.”
Challenges arose in regards to finding a balance of the I-Mag screen and the stage, with the team working with Barry to decide when to utilise the screen for I-Mag and when the content should tell the story. Furthermore, when they do choose to use the I-Mag shot, considerations have to be made for proper lighting for skin tones, backlight, and key light, essentially make it a live broadcast.
Jackson noted that Bandit’s long history with the Manilow team, specifically vice president Mike Golden’s tenure as the client representative, helped make organisation much easier for production saying: “With the Manilow show there is a great deal of attention paid to masking off the arena, controlling sight lines, etc., and after all of these years it is a lot easier to have a vendor that understands our specific nuances and their importance in the production of the show. Additionally, we were dealing with lots of new products from Clay Paky and Robe and Bandit facilitated getting all of that organised despite the fact we were building this show over the Christmas holiday.”
“I should also mention that in addition to Brent's brilliant video content (which is all new this year) and Nathan Scheuer and Brent Sandrock's team effort programming the D3 media servers, the real hero of this tour is our lighting director and programmer, Nate Alves. How the schedule worked out that he could drive this tour is beyond me, but I'm so grateful to have the show in his expert hands. Manilow is an invested and involved artist who will continually change the show and to know Nate is out there is a huge plus in my book.”
“It is with our total appreciation to be working with such an outstanding group of people,” said Golden. “I can’t help but mention Sacha Bambadji (Manilow production manager) and Adam Kief (tour manager) who we have had the pleasure of working with through these years. These gentlemen (and Seth) reflect the complete professionalism one would expect to work for a legend such as Barry Manilow.”
For the ‘Fanilows’ making the trek to say goodbye to the star who has serenaded them for decades, Jackson is confident they won’t be disappointed.
“The show has some poignant moments and you just have to be amazed at the size of his body of work. The finale of the show involves an 18-minute medley of all of the hits we didn't have time to fit into the rest of the show. You can count on one hand the number of artists that have that kind of success.”
“He'll never retire and I can't imagine him sitting around the house for the rest of his days,” Jackson added.
13th March 2015
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