KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE – Country superstar Jason Aldean is back on the road with Bandit Lites for his Night Train Tour. The stadium tour kicked off February 21 in Bossier City, LA and will continue through September.
“It’s bigger than anything we’ve ever had out there,” Aldean revealed to Country Weekly. “It’s completely revamped from last year.”
Lighting designer Aaron Swetland began working with Aldean in 2008 and received the illustrious CMA SRO Lighting Designer of the Year Award for his work on Jason Adlean’s 2012 tour, meaning the expectations were a bit high, even if only in his mind.
“There’s always the kind of mentality where you want to outdo yourself,” Swetland said.
To achieve that feat, Swetland’s lighting design consists of a basic upstage and downstage truss with a floor light compliment. The upstage side of the rig has four ladder beams containing MAC Vipers, MAC Auras and Bandit 5x5 Blinders that track left and right across the back side of the set. During the show, they can be placed in different positions, allowing for symmetrical or asymmetrical looks.
The downstage of the floors contains of six flying video walls with MAC Vipers, GLP Volkslicht and Atomic Strobes on top of each moving screen.
“Due to the nature of the moving bits and the amount of focus time required, I don’t do a lot of specific focuses on each one of the moving screens, because I don’t get the time that I need to be as accurate as I would like to be,” explained Swetland. “They generally fill in just general fans and kind of wider generic looks for those, but they fill the space nicely and they move around so it gives it a nice kinetic look.”
An additional challenge came in the form of the sheer amount of automation on the show.
“There are 26 axes of automation,” added Swetland, “and any time you get some moving elements, it becomes challenging from a lighting standpoint because your focus positions constantly change.”
“When Aaron starting talking with me last October, I knew he had a very specific gear list for the 2013 tour, and having seen the show, I genuinely appreciate and understand his vision and work,” said Bandits’ vice president Mike Golden. “It is a very complex show, and our involvement feels effortless thanks to the dedication of tour manager Joey Supak, production manager Joseph Lloyd and stage manager Josh Marcus.
“They’re doing a phenomenal job with the rig,” added Swetland about the Bandit crew, consisting of Jon Houle, Sarah Eucker andJeremy Dunn. “There are a lot of challenges on this show from a build perspective. We are not in control of a lot of it, so they have kind of have to deal with the situation as it is given to them and adapt to that situation, and they are doing a phenomenal job at that.”
About Bandit Lites, Inc.
Bandit Lites is a global leader in the entertainment lighting marketplace. From touring productions to fixed installations, Bandit Lites has a full staff of highly trained professionals to deal with all types of lighting needs. Bandit’s global presence will insure seamless transitions no matter where your next show takes you.