KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE - Melissa Etheridge is once again on the road, this time promoting her newest album, 4th Street Feeling. The Academy Award and two-time Grammy Award winner kicked off her tour early October and will make her way through North America throughout the fall season.
While it has only been a few months since her last tour, the singer-songwriter is offering a different experience for her audience with a stripped, intimate tour that reflects the artful, organic feel of her 12th studio album.
Lighting designer David Hamilton worked with tour manager Steven Girmant to give the show the exposed, rehearsal vibe he and Etheridge sought to express. In his ninth year of working with Etheridge, Hamilton wanted to “turn the venues on their heads” and strip the stages of any and all ornament.
“You see ladders, truss, lighting instruments, PA cabinets, and whatever’s back there on the back wall, and all our empty road cases,” said Hamilton, who worked with production manager, Galen Henson. “I just light all that stuff. Everything on the upstage side of the proscenium gets stripped away and everything on the downstage where the house is at is all theatrical looking.”
In addition to the intimate look of the stage, Hamilton made use of Bandit’s GRN LED technology to light the show. With Etheridge long being a supporter of protecting the environment and utilizing alternative, eco-friendly resources, Bandit’s GRN LED lighting allowed limited power use without sacrificing the brilliance of the color.
“The whole rig I’m using now uses about 32 amps, as opposed to ten years ago when you had to have 400 amp service to do 30 or 40 lights,” Hamilton said.
Etheridge’s tour operates with GLP Spot Ones, a light Hamilton describes as a big step forward in the industry.
“The last light I was this impressed with was the impression wash light,” added Hamilton. "I originally thought that this was a white LED source through dichroics, but it's actually an RGB unit with each color focused into one beam, making it an additive, rather than subtractive color system. I'm glad to see the LED Spot taking its place beside LED Wash fixtures."
For the tour’s lighting design, Hamilton was influenced by lighting designer Keith Wissmar’s work on the Neil Young tour which used applied lifts rather than truss.
Two GLP Spot Ones are on the bottom under hung, with three impressions over hung on three towers, making a total of 9 impressions and six Spot Ones on three towers at different, asymmetric heights. Additionally, three impressions on cases are on the floor at the bottom of each tower. Then three Comair mini cycs are on each side of the stage on the floor running up and down the stage that shoot across as the entire front light.
“It’s real simple,” said Hamilton, “just 24 lights. In two hours I’m up and running and doing preset focuses and it takes about 40 minutes to have everything down and packed up after the show. It’s not a problem.”
The simple, effective design has received glowing reviews. Brent Barrett, Bandit’s business development officer raved, “Among David’s many talents as a lighting designer, I have continually been impressed by his very special ability to get so many looks out of any lighting system, both with and without high fixture counts.”
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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.