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Reba McEntire Takes Bandit Lites on Road
USA – Reba McEntire, hailed as “The Queen of Country Music” for a staggering 100 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, 25 of which reached the number one spot, is currently on tour with a lighting system from Bandit Lites. In 2019, when lighting designers Gayle Hase and Dave Hare began planning the lighting for the 2020 tour, they were unified in thinking that nothing should attempt to rival Reba’s powerhouse performance.
“Too many of today’s productions are more about the bells and whistles than the talent that is on stage,” said Hare. “We felt that a proper balance of production would only enhance the tremendous talent that is onstage and deliver a great experience to the audience.”
Bandit Lites supplied more than 200 fixtures, which differed from basic spot and wash lighting rigs. Fixtures included Mac Viper Profiles, Elation Proteus Maximus, Elation SixBar 1000
Elation CuePix WW4, Robe BMFL spots, Elation Smartys and Elation Proteus Rayzor 760.
“We wanted to make sure we had a proper balance of beams and texture while allowing versatility in how we used the fixtures,” explained Hare. “All the fixtures in this lighting system can be used in different ways to create many different scenes.”
In March 2020, Hase and Hare were at Venue One, Bandit Lites pre-visualisation studio and rehearsal space, when Covid-19 halted live events.
“I remember telling everyone that we would be back in two weeks,” said Hare.
Two years later, the two walked back into Venue One to finish the programming and finally take the show on the road.
“Everyone at Bandit was great in getting the lighting rig prepped and out the door in the midst of all this chaos,” said Hare.
“It’s hard for me to comprehend this show had been completely programmed, built and ready for truck load on March 11th, 2020,” said Bandit Lites vice president Mike Golden. “Two years later, we finally got to put this rig on the road. I know I speak for everyone involved in saying it was very satisfying to finally produce this show.”
Hare’s favourite fixture is the Elation Rayzor 760 wash, making use of all its applications, from full pixel mode for 'eye candy' as well as centre pixel for pin-spot looks. He even found a way to make a VL5 wash dupe, removing the centre pixel from programming to give it the dark centre, adding: “The tight powerful beam looks are perfect for making any show look massive.”
With the trim of the lighting rig high, the team had to find a fixture that could both colour the band and provide enough power to highlight band solos. Bandit suggested Elation Smarty Hybrids, but it was not a fixture Hare had utilized before. Two units were placed for each band member, one in the front and one in the back, and Hare was sceptical of their brightness, choosing to program them first to see if he was going to need to swap fixtures.
“The first time I turned all the Smartys on at once I was immediately relieved with their output at that distance,” said Hare. “These fixtures have proven to be a great fixture for keeping the band lit and colouring them to complement each songs color pallet.”
The tour may have been postponed for two years, but the wait was more than worth it, as fans are regaled by a legend who showcases her decades of hits for a solid ninety minutes. Every moment is crafted to give the audience as many “postcard” moments as possible, whether it’s a fiery “Fancy” or the dramatic build for “And Still.”
“This was my first experience having Bandit support a show I designed, and I could not have been in better hands,” said Hare. “Everyone I came in contact with was pleasant and very helpful. Having a production company that can take my drawing and recreate it in the real world is the first quality I look at when working with vendors. Every little detail I had spec'd was implemented, even down to type and color of couplers I wanted to use. Other companies would have sent a long list of substitutes or ‘Sorry we cannot provide this list, but Bandit already had or acquired what I wanted in the design.”
“Dave Hare and production manager Michael Anderson have been fantastic to work with,” added Golden. “The show is very polished- in every aspect. As this leg starts to wind down, we are already working on additions to the fall tour. My compliments to the entire production team as well as our Bandit crew on a beautiful show.”
7th April 2022
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