NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – If the impact of a man is measured by those who love him, Randy Travis is larger than life. Bandit Lites was proud to donate a lighting package for 1 Night. 1 Place. 1 Time: A Heroes & Friends Tribute to Randy Travis where Garth Brooks, Kenny Rogers, Alison Krauss, Kane Brown, Chris Young, Travis Tritt, Wynonna, Alabama and others honored the man Garth Brooks said, “totally saved this music and this format.” Part of the proceeds from the marathon tribute went to the Randy Travis Foundation which supports stroke research and rehabilitation.
Three years ago, Randy Travis was gearing up for a two week run when lighting designer Thom Roberts got the call that Randy had been hospitalized.
“Two days later he had the stroke, and that was that,” said Roberts.
“Due to some experiences earlier in my career, I hate to use the word "family" when describing a road crew and band, but it really does fit and it always felt like something was unfinished, never having had that ‘Last Show.’”
For this tribute, Roberts harkened back to the direction Randy and, then manager, Elizabeth Travis gave him back in 1995: This is not a rock and roll show. It is country music.
“I have always taken that to mean they did not want a lot of flash and trash, random movement or unnecessary changes. I tried to maintain that aesthetic, and to keep the show deliberate and fairly static, but with an interesting color palette, dramatic changes when called for, and using specials to highlight the always excellent band.”
Elements of the show were constantly changing (including the addition of artists and choirs right up until show time), meaning Roberts had create a lighting design that would cover the large stage and allow for quick programming.
“I had made a decision early in the process to light the songs as closely as possible to the way I did "back in the proverbial day", which meant writing a lot of cues rather than punting or busking,” Roberts explained, “but I had plenty of ‘Save Cues’ set up to cover anything I could think of. Bandit set me up for two days in their Pre-Vis Suite at their Venue One rehearsal facility, and I got a huge head start.”
Bandit Lites supplied more than a hundred fixtures, including VL 3500 washes, VL 3000 Spots and Clay Paky Sharpys, Elation CuePix Blinder WW2 fixtures, Ayrton MagicDots, PixelLine 1044s, GRNLite Moving Washes and two Grand MA 2 full consoles for control.
“The real surprise for me was Bandit’s GRNLite Moving Washes,” Roberts said. “I had only ever seen them once before, and I was not operating on that show. I was not expecting them to stand up against VL 3500s, but I am very happy to say I was very wrong. They were bright and the color range was dynamic; I will be using them again.”
The set also featured a beautiful cut drop of tree silhouettes in front of a cyc from Randy Travis’s previous tours, but following Randy’s stroke, the drop was sold to set designer Gary Warrington of Warrington and Company, who graciously donated the drop back for the event.
Bandit’s crew included a mixture of old and new faces for Roberts, including Jimmy Murray (the son of Roberts’s friend and colleague Jake Murray), Carter Fulgham, (who Roberts met as a stage hand on a show in 1992, and have worked with many times over the years including a short tour with Randy Travis back around 1998), and Tyler Veneziano, who Roberts said excelled from start to finish.
“It was like a tour that had been out for month, not a one off,” Roberts emphasized. “They had me at trim in under three hours, even after waiting until after audio had all of their points hung to get the lighting points hung, which gave me the precious time I needed to check and edit all the cues I had written in the blind and in pre-vis.”
Roberts shared that his experience with Bandit Lites was no different than what he had come to know of the company in his career saying, “I have known Mike Golden and Don Lockridge for more than 25 years, and while I am just getting to know Client Representative Shawn Lear, he treated me like an old friend and responded immediately to every request and need I had. The communication was always complete and immediate, and all the details were attended to, which I know is the Bandit style, but still needs to be applauded because it is not always like that everywhere else.”
“Watching Thom put this show together with so many different artists and elements is a testament to his talent,” said Shawn Lear. “His careful consideration to make sure the lighting always complimented and never eclipsed the performances shows his years in the industry are no accident.”
“I know that no one ever came to a Randy Travis show to see a "light show,” and I actually considered it a kind of compliment when they enjoyed the show, but never noticed the lights,” finished Roberts. “It was a real honor to be there, to be a part of it and see the reverence and respect that the Nashville Community, the musicians, artists and even the stage crews, and the general audience gave to Randy; few people deserve it more.”
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