Known for his ability to “routinely fill stadiums” (Las Vegas Sun), this year’s ACM Entertainer of the Year Jason Aldean is having an incredible year, and it is only April. The multi-Platinum country music megastar will return to the road as his Six String Circus tour launches 19 May in Rogers, AR with a lighting package provided by longtime vendor Bandit Lites.
Stand out elements of Mike Swinford’s lighting design include the massive MagicRing-R9 fixtures, MagicBlade-R and pods comprising of MagicDot-R’s. Bandit recently added a massive quantity of these Ayrton fixtures to its touring inventory, fixtures that Swinford praises for their consistent output and precision. “I find them appealing because they are on the cutting edge of LED creative technology,” said Swinford. “This gives us a fresh new approach to the design and a look that we had never been able to achieve using just conventional discharge type lighting.”
Additional gear provided by Bandit includes MAC 2000 Performance fixtures, VL 3500 Washes, Clay Paky Mythos, Bandit 5x5s, Ayrton Intellipix Panels, Pixeline 4′ 1044s and two grandMA 2 full consoles. Using Bandit’s convenient on-site programming suite, lighting director/co-programmer Kieth Hoagland and co-programmer Mark Butts were able to pre-visualize the show for two weeks prior to rehearsals even taking place
“The hard part in that is you get given a vision on paper, and it looks good in 3D, but when reality comes, changes have to be made because of rigging limits or safety values needing to be in place to use some of the special things we have within this tour show,” explained Hoagland.
What could have been a headache of configurations at rehearsals instead transformed into a fully functioning rig. “The pre-viz translated almost exactly as we expected,” said Butts. “Smooth sailing through calm seas- what more could you ask for?”
With show director Raj Kapoor instilling the vision of the overall style and look of the show, Hoagland and Butts (who had worked together on previous Jason Aldean tours) morphed that vision into a cohesive lighting look. “Raj would send samples of video clips so we could gather colour direction from the clips,” said Hoagland. “He would layout the song selection order and give us direction of the follow he was envisioning for the tour show.”
“Keith is such a great resource for this, and it really makes my life easy,” added Butts of the programming process. “He knows every nuance of the music, the show, where Jason will be, what he’ll do, etc. etc. so it was really the perfect team to make something great.”
“I knew from the moment I visited rehearsal this was going to be a very special tour,” agreed Bandit’s vice president Mike Golden. “The programming is amazing and the execution is flawless. I cannot say enough about the entire crew out there, and especially production manager Drew Brown who has embraced every aspect of this show from the very beginning.”