Bandit Lites UK supplied LD Bruce Spillman with full lighting production, rigging, and crew for the European leg of Michael Bolton’s Til The End of Forever tour.

Bandit Inc. has serviced Bolton for the last three years, since he resumed touring in the US in 2002. However, this is Bolton’s first European tour for some time. Spillman, based in Anaheim, CA, first worked with Bolton back in the mid 1990s, so he knows the artist very well. Bolton leaves him to his own creative devices when it comes to lighting the show.

With no production rehearsals, Spillman and his crewmate, Martin Garnish, set up the rig in Bandit’s Bedford headquarters’ warehouse. There, he programmed his color palettes and groups into an Avolites Pearl console, which gained them valuable time at the first show. From then on, he programmed as he went, and within a few days had the show fine-tuned.

There were a few set pieces taken from previous tours–notably three fast-fold projection screens, located upstage of the risers and used for gobo projections and other lighting effects.

The rig consisted of 142 PARs spread across three 40’ pre-rig trusses, the front truss featured nine ETC Source Four® key lights, and he used PARs for audience treatment as opposed to blinders, believing the latter were too harsh for Bolton’s lounge-like style.

The upstage truss featured five Martin MAC 2000 profiles, the middle had another four, and the front had four MAC 2000 washes. On the floor were another three MAC 2000s upstage and two MAC 2000 washes downstage for front cross stage fill. None of the conventional lighting is focused on Bolton, so when both hard- and soft-edge moving light sources cut to his position, the look is clean and clearly defined.

Spillman uses a lot of heavily saturated colors in this show, with an emphasis on back light rather than front. Bolton and the soloists are also highlighted throughout the show with four Lycian FOH spots. “The stage should never look flat,” Spillman says, and he likes the traditional heavy key-lit look.

Spillman uses Lee Filters colors for the standard stage washes–179 (chrome orange), 126 (mauve), 139 (primary Green), 119 (Dark Blue), and 026 (Bright Red), 181 (Congo Blue)–with some Rosco R59 lavender as well. Spillman likes the Lee range “because it’s so effervescent.” “When the stage goes, say, amber, I like it to go, real authentic amber,” he explains, “not some half-hearted or mixed-up attempt.”

Upstage of the rear truss was a DMX controlled fiber-optic starcloth, subtly incorporated into the show. This was Spillman’s first time working with Bandit UK, and although only he and Garnish worked on the rig, it has gone smoothly, greatly helped by the gear’s tip-top condition.

Michael Bolton’s tour continues in Asia and the Middle East until Christmas. Tour manager is John Dubuque and production manager is Robert Nelson. Lester Cobrin project managed the tour for Bandit.

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