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Jimmy Buffett Tours with Bandit Lites
USA – Jimmy Buffett is about to wrap his I Don’t Know Tour, an ironic name considering how iconic the singer and performances have become. Having toured every year since 1976, the self-proclaimed beach bum knows how to entertain his legion of fans, many of whom make the trek to see his shows many times over. Bandit Lites is proud to be the long-time lighting vendor for Buffett, and help transform every stage into a paradise for both the audience and the performer.
Lighting designer Steve Hoover first toured with Buffett in the early 1990s and has been the tour’s lighting designer and director for about the last five years.
“When I started, I first built upon the familiar look of the show, and now it has evolved into a collaborated effort between lighting and video, bouncing things back and forth so we match and compliment the looks,” Hoover said.
Bandit provided Showline Nitro Strobes, Martin MAC 2000 Washes, VL 3000 Spots, VL 2500 Spots, GLP X4S, Martin MAC Auras and a grandMA 1 Full for control.
Playing on the I Don’t Know name of the tour, a large piece of truss shaped like a question mark draws the eye on stage. Another staple of Buffett’s performances are the stage props and set design, aspects that Hoover worked to highlight with the lighting.
“We always have elements around the stage, part of our set design every year includes boats or surf boards,” he said. “The 2K washes give me all my real wash looks, while the 2500s add textures. Auras and X4S’s give key light for video and everyone on stage.”
Creating that vacation experience is one that Hoover recognizes is a magical aspect for all involved, not just those in the audience.
“No one wants to deal with people with bad attitudes, especially when you are a tour everyone is excited to see and looks forward to,” he explained. “We come back to venues and the stage hands know us and are happy to see us, or the security team will be dressed in grass skirts. Even after 40 years of touring, it is friendships. You hopefully see the same people over and over again.”
“Bandit has been proud to work with Jimmy for 30 years,” said Bandit’s chair Michael T. Strickland. “I simply love the show and the staff. The Jimmy Buffett show is a family, a travelling circus, and a heck of a great time. Long time tour manager and old friend Charlie Fernandez is simply the best in the business. Most of the people on the Buffett staff are long time team members. Howard Kaufmann and Howard Rose have been involved from the beginning and the total package is second to none. Parrot heads are a fiercely loyal bunch that fuel the engine year after year. After all, where else can you see judges, lawyers, accountants, doctors, generals, senators and CEO’s in grass skirts and coconut bras? And that includes the males!”
With decades of concerts under his belt, Buffett’s tour is a ‘well-oiled machine’ according to Hoover, with a crew complete with experts in their respective fields, including Mike Stehr and Bandit’s own lighting veterans and Eric Shafferman and Rick Monroe.
“If it’s not broke, don’t fix it,” said Hoover before noting: “Everyone that’s on this tour is the person that you would call if you couldn’t figure out how to make something work. That’s who is working for Jimmy – those who can overcome those challenges. There’s a knowledge base that works for him, a really high level of knowledge and experience, and the only better job than working for Jimmy Buffett is being Jimmy Buffett!”
20th October 2016
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