Bandit Lites is excited to be working with country music artist Dierks Bentley for the first time. Bentley's third studio album, Long Trip Alone, was released this past fall and fans now get the chance to hear some of the new tracks, plus all the hits, on his current Locked and Loaded tour, which began in October in Auburn, Alabama and will wrap in late-April, 2007.

Currently in the Canadian installment of the tour, lighting designer Chris Reade chose to use the following equipment: Coemar Infinity XL Lights, Martin MAC 600 Washes, Martin MAC 2000 Profiles, Martin MAC 250 Profiles, Martin Atomic Strobes, Strand Fresnels, James Thomas Engineering Pars and Molefays. Lighting is controlled by a High End Wholehog II console.

Reade says that after listening to Dierks' music about a hundred times, and this being his first country artist, he decided to take a different approach to lighting Bentley. “Although the instruments are standards, besides the new Coemar [Infinity Lights], the design incorporates a different vibe and feel to it,” Reade explains. “During the intro, the trussing moves to an asymmetrical design and the focuses I use are asymmetrical in nature as well. The color palettes are a lot of different takes on white light and temperatures, along with some standards.”

Reade also says he chose to use absolutely no shade of pink or green in the show, as he felt that those colors did not really fit the feel of the music. He used the scrims within the structure to achieve some interesting looks, as well as the backdrop, which he requested to be manufactured prior to the tour.

After numerous discussions with crew chief Micah Andrews and Bandit lighting technician David Langford, Reade decided to try out the new Coemar Infinity XLs.

“This light has been awesome so far. It can zoom out to 80° without a lot of intensity loss. That is a feat in itself,” Reade notes. “These lights are super bright, and have beam effects to boot!”

Coemar sent their project manager from Italy, along with their US distributor, Gary Mass, to ensure that the lights were up to par—an action that Reade said did not go unnoticed.

“It was incredible being able to discuss ideas and programming situations with the actual people who represent the instrument,” Reade explains. “This is also the first time I have used Bandit Lites as a vendor. They have bent over backwards to make this show happen. All the way from preparation to the touring crew and daily setup, it has been great.”

Bandit vice president Michael Golden, adds, “Chris Reade has brought quite an innovative look to the Dierks Bentley tour and it’s refreshing to see such a different approach used. I applaud Chris and Dierks for sticking to their collective design beliefs and going beyond the boundaries of traditional lighting.”

Bandit also rang in the New Year by recently adding a substantial amount of new equipment to their inventory. After examining their needs for 2007, Bandit worked with various manufacturers and purchased several million dollars worth of inventory. New equipment, including Vari*Lite VL 3000s, Martin MAC 2000s, Coemar Infinitys, Coemar Halos, grandMA consoles, PixelRange Pixilines, DF- 50s, Compulite Vector Consoles, and a large quantity of related support equipment.

The recent additions were initially intended to fulfill needs well into this year, but due to the heavy global workload, Bandit has already used the majority of the recently purchased inventory. As a result, Bandit has begun purchasing additional equipment to fulfill all of their current and potential lighting obligations.

With nominations for Lighting Company of the Year from Pollstar and Total Production, the future looks pretty bright for Bandit.