Vista Heads into Country for Trace Adkins Tour

Lighting Designer Jeff Lava has specified a Jands Vista S3 lighting console for the 2009 US tour of American Country ‘n’ Western star Trace Adkins. The tour to support his latest album, Trace Adkins’ X (Ten), follows over 135 live shows last year to 1.3 million fans. This year’s 55-date tour visits a wide variety of venues, ranging from clubs to arenas. Trace Adkins has sold over eight million albums, with more than 26 of his singles hitting the Billboard Top 40 country charts.

The diverse range of venues on the 2009 tour has necessitated a comprehensive main lighting rig and a B-rig, both supplied by Bandit Lites Inc. Furthermore, some local production is required when the B-rig is utilized during the smaller shows. With only a week to reprogram the tour for the variety of show configurations, Lighting Designer Jeff Lava of 44 Designs Inc. was keen to use his control console of choice, the Jands Vista. It was during his earlier experience on a South American tour that he first encountered how the Vista’s generic fixture model could help him easily change fixture types, as the rig changed from venue to venue. Jeff collaborated with 2008 Tour Designer Steve Owens of S01 Designs to reprogram the show on the Vista, assisted by Programmer Darien Koop.

Jeff commented: “The reason I chose the Vista is because we are playing several variations of the show to suit the different sized venues. I am using the Vista’s generic fixture model frequently because I don’t have time to completely re-program shows. This feature alone is going to save dozens of hours of programming time throughout the tour. I can use my show in a casino venue with its own lighting rig, festivals where the rig is supplied, or any size venue from a club up to an arena. Also, the console’s visually based timeline editor has really helped with this process, saving a lot of ‘tweaking’ time.

Jeff is using one of 44 Designs Inc.’s two Jands Vista S3 consoles to control the lighting rigs for all tour dates. Compatible with both native Mac and PC platforms and available in a variety of DMX channel packages, the control surface acts as an extension to a computer. Jeff benefits from this capability and is able to program the show offline wherever he goes.

The main rig includes Martin MAC 2000 wash & spot fixtures, Martin Atomic 3000 strobes, High End Studio Beam luminaires, 8/4 lights and 19° Leko fixtures. A Barco Mitrix 12 x 16ft video wall and Maxedia media server provide content for songs throughout the set. The video cues are triggered from the Vista, which gives Jeff more control over the ultimate look of the show.

Lighting Designer Jeff Lava summarised his experience: “There is no doubt that the Vista has helped all of us manage the show’s lighting and video production, saving us a lot of time, money and drama! The Vista allows my team to spend more time on the creativity and less on the technical side, which lets us better meet our clients’ deadlines and needs.

Such an extensive tour has required a close collaboration between the production team, which includes Production Manager Benny Durham, Crew Chief Mark Steinwachs and lighting technicians Allan Hamilton & Rob Calvin. Brent Barrett of rental equipment supplier Bandit Lites Inc. handles the daily needs of the tour.