Bandit Lites continues its working relationship with innovative US-based lighting designer, Susanne Sasic and maverick alternative rockers, REM, supplying full lighting production for the current UK outdoor stadium shows, European arena tour and UK/European festival circuit section of the “Accelerate” tour.
Lead singer Michael Stipe was very involved in the visuals from the outset, and Sasic - collaborating closely with video director Blue Leach - evolved the stage set which consists of 5 columns of Barco MiTrix screen and two horizontal strips of SoftLED upstage of the screen. The effect is a subtly layered video texturing to the stage and also structurally mimics the city skyline theme of the album artwork.
Stipe was very keen on having video as the main visual centrepiece, so Sasic's gently asymmetric lighting design is largely positioned around the perimeters of the stage with a carefully crafted rig based around 3 cross stage and two side stage trusses.
On the upstage truss are 4 Martin Professional MAC 2000 Wash lights which is also used to hang the 5 MiTrix screens.
The mid stage truss contains 3 Zap Technology 4.5K Big Lites, 12 Martin MAC 2000 Washes, 4 Vari*Lite 2500 Spots and 8 Martin Atomic Strobes with colour scrollers.
The side stage trusses consist of three more 4.5K Big Lites - 2 on stage left and one on the stage right. Also rigged onto these are 3 Coemar Infinity Wash XLs and 2 Vari*Lite 3000 Spots on stage right, and 2 Coemar Infinities and a single Vari*Lite 3000 Spot on stage left.
The front truss features 6 Martin MAC 2000 Washes, four Vari*Lite 2500s, eight 8-lite Moles and 10 JTE PixelLines which are used for high level colour effects.
For the larger UK outdoor stadium shows, an extra 8 Infinities are positioned on both sides of the stage wings with additional 8-lite Moles & Atomics rigged on the PA towers. It's the first time Sasic has used Coemar moving lights – she specifically wanted a selection of fixtures that could complete with the brightness of the video without interfering or distracting from it. Sasic creates a dynamic variety of interesting looks and scenes throughout the 2 hour set. She operates the show using a grandMA console.
Bandit has also supplied a complete floor â€˜specials' package for the entire European run consisting of another 5 MAC 2000 washes, located upstage of the backline, 6 MR16 battens on vertical stands in between each of the MiTrix panels and six 4-lite Moles on stands behind the MiTrix, taking advantage of its transparency thus projecting through at different heights. There are also 4 additional Infinities upstage of the MiTrix and another 2 downstage right and left, used for low level cross lighting along the monitor line. The floor quota is completed with another 6 Martin Atomic Strobes. All the above listed floor kit is tech'd by Rob Starksfield, who's working directly for Sasic and REM.
Two Lycian M2 follow spots are positioned at either end of the front truss for a tight beam focus and there's also 4 Gladiator 3K follow spots at FOH. With a 22 point rigging package, 10 way intercom system and 2 DF50's completing the system.
Bandit's crew includes Roger Grybowicz, Steve Rusling, Nigel Julian, Martin Garnish and Phil Kerwick.
Bandit also supplied equipment for REM's last UK and European tour in 2005, and Sasic comments, “As always, the service, the kit and the crew have been brilliant”.
Bandit UK Chief Executive Lester Cobrin adds, “Bandit is thankful to continue working with such a creative and professional team as Susanne Sasic and the entire REM production crew.”