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Willie Nelson Tribute Shines with Bandit Lites and Mark Carver

USA – There are legendary performances and there are legendary performers, and every so often, those two things cross for a night of epic music. Bandit Lites had the honour of providing the lighting package for Willie: Life & Songs of an American Outlaw.

Produced by Blackbird Presents and hosted by Ed Helms, the one night only event at Bridgestone Arena featured an all-star line-up of artists honouring the iconic Willie Nelson, including George Strait, Dave Matthews, Lee Ann Womack, Steve Earle, Margo Price, Nathaniel Rateliff, Lyle Lovett, Ray Benson, John Mellencamp, Jamey Johnson, The Avett Brothers, Jimmy Buffett, Kris Kristofferson, Norah Jones and the Little Willies, Bobby Bare, Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, Chris Stapleton, Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell, Sheryl Crow, Eric Church, Vince Gill, Alison Krauss and Sturgill Simpson.

“It is an honour to work with Mark Carver, Robert Rauffer and the staff from Blackbird Presents,” said Bandit Lites Vice President Mike Golden. “We have been working with them to produce these tributes for many years now and I can honestly say each has been nothing but positive.”

“With this design we were trying to give a world renowned artist and his peers a space that they could perform where their individual musical talents would be front and centre,” said lighting designer Mark Carver. “We did not want the lighting and video to overpower the music, but to complement what was on stage.”

Bandit Lites supplied Carver nearly 250 lights for the concert including Claypaky B-EYE K20s, Claypaky Sharpys, Chauvet Rogue RH1 Hybrids, GLP X4S, VL 3500 Spots, Sunstrips STP-10, Bandit’s exclusive GRNLite Moving Washes and Robe PATT 2017 fixtures. A grandMA 2 Full provided control.

“The B-EYES were used for eye candy and toning the band with color, while the RH1 and Sharpys were used for strong beams and gobos to create a strong artistic statement,” explained Carver. “The VL 3500 for band key lighting and edging and the GRNLite washes were my audience light workhorse.”

Balancing dozens of artists, lighting looks for both 18,000 in attendance and millions who will watch at home when A&E airs the concert later this year, while arriving at the arena the day of the show meant pre-show preparation and a strong team were going to be key in the success of the production.

“Bandit’s team, lighting director Brian Jenkins and gaffer George Lunn were very instrumental in this,” said Carver adding, “Pre-viz was also essential in this one as it required creating lighting cues for over 34 songs.”

“Obviously when you take a large TV production in for a one off everything and everyone has to be on their game,” said Golden. “Graham Mellor is the production manager for many of these events and, as always, he had everything under control and planned. We loaded in at 5am and were at trim and ready for Brian Jenkins by noon. We could not do this without the total team effort by these people.”

Bandit’s on-site crew consisted of Patrick Cowden, Andy French, Sam Morgan, Chris Noll, Scot Sepe, Steve Strickland, Ty Veneziano and Justin Wilk.

“Bandit once again met every expectation,” finished Carver. “Mike Golden and project manager Jimmy Hatten delivered a package to spec and well prepped. The on-site techs led by Andy French worked diligently to ensure the package was working and up in a very short period of time with a great professional attitude.”

16th January 2019

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