Renowned lighting designer Chris Lisle has worked with Miranda for eight years, starting in 2005 when she began touring with Keith Urban.
“As a support act, you work with a minimal amount of rig,” said Lisle of the early Lambert shows. “From that, her next step was growing into carrying her own lighting director, and with that we put out a basic ten light lighting package.”
Times have certainly changed; following her explosive popularity, Miranda’s tour now boasts over a hundred moving lights and full crew.
“It’s one of those things that is always cool for me to work with an artist from that level up because you get to go through all the current stages,” said Lisle.
To design the lighting system for her Locked and Reloaded tour, Lisle worked with Lambert over the course of nine months. “Every artist is different in terms of what information they give you, what direction they give you for a design,” explained Lisle. “Some are very specific. Miranda is very general: There are some big, broad strokes of things she likes to see.”
After designing multiple versions of plots, Lisle combined the artist’s favorite aspects of each plot into one grand concept. After addressing budget and corresponding equipment lists, Lisle worked with the set designer and video production to build the massive rig.
“It’s a very on-going progress,” said Lisle, “and it won’t be three or more months from now that we’ll start talking about her 2014 tour. It’s a constant cycle.”
A challenge for Lisle was incorporating a design based around Dierks Bentley part of the concert. “As Miranda was coming up, she went out on tour with Dierks and he took very good care of her, as a support act,” said Lisle. “She gave me a very specific direction to make sure that he gets as much of the rig as possible. The toughest part was coming up with ways to make my vision work for her, but also letting Dierks’ team come in and do their thing and make that happen.”
Fortunately, it did happen, as everyone worked together to create the massive rig. “It’s a lot of toys,” said Lisle. “I have a lot of toys in the toy box and it’s one of the biggest things I’ve done in a long time.”
One of the main parts of the design is three massive chandeliers made of two circular trusses hanging over the stage. A large archway looms out in the front while a five foot mirror ball is aloft on high, waiting for the perfect moment to descend.
“That is one of the moments where the crowd knows what I am talking about,” said Lisle, always mindful of how the lighting adds to the artist’s performance, not distract. “It’s something I’m very adamant about,” he explained. “It’s about her performance. So even when I’m about to do the mirror ball, I try to do it in a way that still goes along with what she’s doing, because it is a very big moment. You have a five foot mirror ball, and that really stands out.”
Lambert’s tour is the first to hit the road with Chauvet’s newest Legend™ 230SR Beam. The new intelligent light is an ultra-narrow beam moving yoke fixture and is powered by the new Osram SR230 Lamp. Other equipment used includes MAC 2000 washes, VL 3000 spots and Bandit 5x5 matrixes.
Additional support came from lighting director Craig Richter, production manager Todd Ortmeier and Miranda Lambert’s tour manager, Ryan Westbrook.
“I am very proud to be associated with the Miranda Lambert organization,” said Bandit Lites’ vice-president Mike Golden. “I have known Chris Lisle and Todd Ortmeier for over twenty years, and I am very much honored to work with these great people. The design, planning and operation of that tour are beyond stunning. My hat’s off to the entire team.”
“I’m thrilled with the Bandit crew,” said Lisle. “They worked really, really hard. It’s a lot of work, especially when you begin a tour, working out the kinks. They have done a really good job, and I’m thrilled with the crew. And the Bandit customer service is fantastic: we need lamps, they get us lamps. They’ve been very supportive of the tour.”
Photo credit: Chauvet.
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.