The Dixie Chicks hit the road in support of their now-platinum selling album Taking the Long Way on the Accidents and Accusations tour. Known for groundbreaking productions, the girls decided that they needed to refocus the world's attention back to their music this time around.

Lighting designer Alex Reardon has put together a spectacular, entertaining show with a lighting package consisting of six BigLite 4.5s, 30 Martin MAC 2000 Washes, and eight Atomic Strobes fitted with Atomic Colors, along with other automated fixtures. Commenting on the production itself, Reardon notes, “All too often I hear the euphemism of ‘we want to make this show all about the music’ when the translation means, ‘we want to make it all about the money.’ However, in an absolute first, this show really is ‘all about the music’. They have a stunning nine-piece band whose talent is spectacular. They are deliberately keeping the show largely free of political grandstanding and as such a smaller production was the spec.”

When asked about his use of BigLites in the show, Reardon says, “This was my first outing with the BigLites and I was very seriously impressed. At full intensity, they have the punch required, but it is the other, perhaps secondary, functions that made them stand out.”

Explaining further, he continues, “The color system gave me the flexibility I've been looking for, and provided for some wonderful cross fades. The speed of pan and tilt made complex marking cues very simple. The cooling system ensured that in the very few times a color scroll needed to be tech’d it could be done with the lamp still on and without gloves. The design for tech access is superb. The beam effect of lowering the dimmer value to 40% gave a very cool–and square–gobo effect. Also the fact that Upstaging owns them allowed me to have one supplier and crew dealing with their own equipment. As with many new products, I had been a little concerned about reliability, but when John Huddleston told me that they were behaving themselves on other Upstaging jobs, that was all I needed.” Reardon sums it up by saying, “All in all, a winner, and I expect to see them on many productions in the future.”

Talking about his choice of main washlight fixture, Reardon says, “The MAC 2000 Wash has become ubiquitous because it does a very good job indeed. I rarely use them at full intensity, but the colors, beams and reliability proved themselves once again. You know them, you know you love 'em. Nothing for me to say except keep making them.”

The Accidents and Accusations tour has its next leg in Australia before returning to North America where it runs through to December 2006.