Bandit celebrates with Widespread Panic
While New Year's Eve is typically a night of expectancy for the coming year, lighting designer Paul Hoffman had a different kind of anticipation at the event: the set list selection. With a repertoire of over 350 songs, Widespread Panic's concerts can go many different directions musically.
"I don't get a set list until maybe five minutes beforehand, so I have to interpret the music in real time and set the lighting to it on the fly," said Hoffman. "It is kind of an unusual way to run lights. The material ranges from dark and moody, to ballad-like, to whimsical, to full on raging rock - and sometimes those transitions happen very fast - so you need lots of things at your fingertips."
The equipment at his fingertips included Vari*Lite 3000 spots, a fixture Hoffman describes as his 'workhorse'.
"There are brighter fixtures on the market for sure," said Hoffman, "but I'm still in love with the optics, colours and patterns."
Other equipment used included GLP Impressions, the new GLP Impression X4s, GRN LED Pars and GRN LED Battens from Bandit Lites, Clay Paky Sharpys, Maxedia Video Servers, Mirage Video Panels and GrandMA2 Consoles.
To add to the energy of the New Year buzz, Hoffman used video, a new addition to Widespread Panic concerts.
"It's how you use it that determines whether it will be a success," said Hoffman of the new medium. "I didn't want people coming and staring at a screensaver the whole show, so I used the circular video wall to display static imagery, and a small countdown animation. The trusses running the length of the arena also help me get the audience 'involved' in the looks, and I tend to think that helps with the overall energy. Lastly, I integrated my front truss into the thematic design more than I have in the past; I believe that made a big difference."