Bandit Lites provided the lighting for the final three shows, where lighting designers Candace Brightman and Paul Hoffman used more than 500 fixtures to create breathtaking looks
USA - It was a celebration of epic proportions as the four original members of The Grateful Dead (Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh, and Bob Weir) reunited at Soldier's Field, almost 20 years to the day after they played their last concert with Jerry Garcia. They were joined onstage by frequent musical comrades Trey Anastasio, Bruce Hornsby and Jeff Chimenti. Seventy thousand Deadheads filled the stadium each night on 3, 4 and 5 July, while millions streamed the show online and watched on Pay Per View to say goodbye to one of the most iconic bands in history.

2015 also marked the Grateful Dead's 50th year in the business. The show was produced by Peter Shapiro and Madison House Presents. Bandit Lites provided the lighting for the final three shows, where lighting designers Candace Brightman (The Grateful Dead's original, long time LD) and Paul Hoffman used more than 500 fixtures to create breathtaking looks.

Seven months earlier, the team found themselves going through a lengthy design process, with many variables, including a set and video design that was still unknown. The band ultimately decided on an industrial look with a small header piece of roses and a custom made Steal Your Face.

"Candace wanted to create a design that would be a natural "follow on" from her organic designs of the past while incorporating the capabilities of new technology," said Hoffman. "There wasn't a set and nothing upstage of the band to light," said Brightman. "The audience behind the stage needed a clear view of the band. And the first half of the show was in daylight."

"It was also unclear for much of the process how large a role TV or film would play in the final shows, so the tendency was to over-design and then subtract what might not be needed down the line," added Hoffman about the design process. "At one point we had several more trusses and fixtures than ended up in the final design - mostly to support a full film shoot."

"The phrase 'long strange trip' has been bandied about a lot in the last few weeks, but it really and truly was one starting in December last year," said Bandit Lites' Dizzy Gosnell. "Candace and Paul started throwing ideas around and I doodled their ideas, emailed them back, got edits, tweaks and 'eureka' moments and carried on to the next iteration of the design. It ended up not a million miles away from where it started, but having the comparative luxury of time to process new versions it was a totally organic design process, truly fitting for the history of designs that Candace has created with the Dead in the past."

The heavy lifting was done by 50 Robe BMFLs, with additional gear consisting of 50 x MAC Vipers, 60 x VL3000 Spots, 36 x VL3500 Washes, 32 x Robe Pointe, eight VL 3500 Spots, 12 x GLP X4, 28 x MAC 2000 Profile, 16 x Clay Paky Sharpy, 30 x 2-light MOLE, 12 x Atomic Strobe, three GrandMA2 Lights and two GrandMA2 Full consoles.

"The BMFL fixtures really were the spectacle of the show, outshining everything else," said Hoffman. "They were hung to follow the general outline of the system and were also pointed inward to the 30' diameter scrim custom built to go inside the circle and serve as a projection surface.

Dizzy echoed Hoffman's sentiments saying, "I must say how very impressed I was with the BMFL heads from Robe, and of course the GLP X4 LED units. Both of them are destined to become as 'rock'n'roll' standard as par cans in the future."

With 500 fixtures on the stage and hundreds of thousands watching, Bandit worked tirelessly to ensure every single one performed flawlessly, an effort noted by Brightman. "Did you notice?" she asked. "They all worked all the time. I think that's amazing." And while there were not any issues with the fixtures, the biggest challenge for the event came in the form of unpredictability during the concert as the band performed something both Hoffman and Brightman are skilled professionals at handling. "There was no pre

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