Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young team up again for Freedom of Speech ’06. tour, their first as a group since 2002. The tour is set to visit 30 cities across North America between early July and mid-September. Music featured includes selections from their earlier collaborations, as well as from their individual careers. Neil Young also makes his concert debut of music from his 2006 album, Living With War.

Production managers Tim Foster and Mason Wilkinson, lighting designer Keith Wissmar and lighting director Joel Reiff worked with Bandit Lites Inc. on the tour.

“The band decided this year that they wanted to tour with a big message. To emphasize the message they made extensive use of multiple tab tracks, kabuki’s scenery and high-resolution video. This pushed the lighting into a whole new direction that Wissmar and Reiff took onboard and created an exciting show that amplified the intensity of the message, the band and their songs,” explains Dizzy Gosnell, of Bandit’s San Francisco office.

The lighting design started as a phone conversation between Neil Young and Wissmar, who also worked with Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young on their 2002 tour. Young and Wissmar initially collaborated by producing six versions of dimensional drawings. Wissmar said that Young took over at that point. According to Wissmar, “There were numerous flags and banners in this production, all choreographed by Young.”

Wissmar added that the show took on a CNN-esque quality–powerful, outspoken and visually appealing. In order to create a mood that coincided with that of the music itself, Wissmar chose to use Mac 2000 Performance lights, Mac 2000 Wash lights, ETC Source Four 19 degree profiles, Coemar I Flex Spots and Color Blast 12’s. Wissmar also used two Whole Hog II’s.

Bandit CEO, Michael Strickland, compliments all parties involved, “Crosby, Stills Nash and Young are certainly an iconic band and one which I have personally been a fan of since the beginning. I consider it an honor and a privilege to work with them in any combination they may go out in. The management and production staff around CSNY is second to none and a real pleasure to work with. The entire entourage is world class.”