Cody Johnson plays Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena
USA - Bandit Lites is lighting platinum selling hitmaker Cody Johnson. With his recent sold-out appearance at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, Cody broke records as the most tickets sold by a male country artist in their Bridgestone debut. Johnson performed a nearly two-hour set before a crowd that never sat. One of the most poignant statements from the superstar during the night: “God put me on this earth to make country music country music again.”
“Richard ‘Wookie’ Whitley designed The Leather Tour floor package and the full 360 rig used in Bridgestone,” said Bandit Lites client representative Allen Deneau. “Both are dynamic in their capabilities, but easy to transport and deploy. Project manager Don Lockridge was extremely instrumental in helping Wookie and Clint shape the rig into what we used for the show. Months of discussions, drawing updates, gear discussions all went into this rig.”
Bandit Lites provided more than 175 fixtures including Ayrton Khamsin S, Chauvet Strike 4 Array Blinders, GLP JDC1 LED Strobes, HES SolaPix 19 and a grandMA3 Full console for control as well as more than 420ft of Tyler truss.
“The washes are my go-to for flooding the stage with colour, but also using for colour effects,” Wookie said. “I have them zoomed in for a few of the upbeat songs for that added punch and tight beam look. Strobes are meant just for that. Those build up moments or those big hits where you need that little extra oomph. Having them for colour effects and bumps helps a lot too. The crowd lights were perfect for the big hit moments or bringing up while Cody talks.”
Two projects were brought before the Bandit team: design a new floor rig that would be ready to roll at the beginning of the year as well as plan and design a system for Johnson’s sold-out Bridgestone show for 2 February. Bandit assisted in fixture selection, prepping and sending it out the door.
In designing the lighting for the 180-degree style arena show, Wookie crafted a floor package that would quickly deploy, blend in behind the riser set up and still put out stunning aerial effects.
“The Ayrton Ghiblis and High End/ETC Solapix 19 were the way to go for this,” said Wookie. “They have a great zoom range and the colour saturation is amazing. The built-in FLEX effect engine provides some great looks as well, especially if you are trying to save on parameters or not wanting to run them in the full pixel mode.”
The 360-degree style Bridgestone Arena show saw Wookie’s original system evolve into an aerial aspect, using the Ayrton Khamsins for additional power on the profile end. “They really provided some punch, even with a saturated colour and the gobo/breakup patterns were terrific. Going from a Ghibli to Khamsin was simple and helpful as well.
“I’m a real big fan of the Chauvet Strike Array 4,” shared Wookie. “The output is exactly what I needed, and that red shift is top tier. They were the way to go for the Bridgestone show. Cody likes to see and talk with the crowd, and the Strike Array 4 were a big help and the right fixture for these moments. We also integrated the Follow-Me system for this show with some of the Khamsin fixtures. Both of these setups ran with an MA3 full size in mode 3 while atmosphere/haze comes from 2- MDG The One.”
Deneau said Bandit team executed its commitment to excellence, as the lighting, video and audio all converged for this rig for the first time at the Bridgestone Arena show adding, “John Lucksinger was the crew chief for the day along with Andrew Ellis who handled load in and Follow Me, Sam Morgan as the SL dimmer tech, Cheyan DeBrower and Derek Ingrao handling much of the on-stage load in and tech. They all did Bandit proud.”

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