ASHEVILLE, NC – The Warren Haynes Presents Christmas Jam returned for its 32nd year, partnering with the Asheville area Habitat for Humanity and BeLoved Asheville. Bandit Lites provided the lighting system for the Dec 9th showcase which featured a line up including Slash and Myles Kennedy, Billy F Gibbons, Gov’t Mule, Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Evening, Clutch and Karina Rykman.
The winter spectacular began in 1988 and has raised more than 2.8 million over the years, helping those in the area who have been unable to be homeowners due to financial setbacks.
“To take something as simple as playing music, which we all love to do, and turn it into building houses, it’s an opportunity that I can’t be more thankful for,” Haynes told area news.
Bandit Lites provided over 100 feet of Tyler Truss and more than 165 fixtures for the epic jam night including Ayrton Khamsin S, Chauvet COLORado PXL Bar 8, Elation FUZE WASH Z350, Elation ACL 360 Bars, Elation CuePix WW2 Blinders, GLP X4s and ROBE MegaPointes as well as well as two grandMA2 Full consoles for control.
Lighting designer Preston Hoffman took to the epic lineup for inspiration, noting the heavy rock performances would be “saturated with amazing guitar licks and big moments.”
“The original idea that I had was to create a modern ACL look which paid homage to a classic rock look,” explained Hoffman. “To achieve this, I arranged Chauvet COLORado PXL Bar 8s along a curve. That produced a fan of fat beams that had some animation to them. I put some ROBE MegaPointes on the curve as well for a more traditional ACL look that also has a load of functionality as well. By placing these curve pods around as though they were ACL bars really created a modern big rock look!”
To compliment this look, side trusses echoing the curved pods were outfitted with the same PXL Bar 8s and bigger spot fixtures for “over the shoulder” gobo looks. The backdrop truss also had a curve-lined ACL Bar 360s providing a pan and tilt bar to illuminate the backdrop as well as control for different patterns.
“I liked the PXL Bar 8,” said Hoffman. “It was a fantastic punchy LED bar. It was the first time I used them on a production like this and was very happy with their performance and brightness! The Khamsin also performed very well. I have used the smaller fixtures in the Ayrton line, but this was my first with the Khamsin. It was super crisp and had plenty of brightness to punch through the many layers. I have been very impressed with the Ayrton line and I look forward to using their fixtures for a long time to come.”
As the extravaganza reached midnight, the arena filled with the sound of electric guitars as Gibbons, Slash and Haynes took to the stage for a final set with Gov’t Mule, Joe Russo, George Porter Jr., John Medeski and other artists.
For Hoffman, the show was also special due to his own history of growing up listening to Guns N’ Roses, ZZ Top, Led Zeppelin and The Allman Brothers Band.
“The material is some of the most recognized in rock and roll and the soundtrack to my adolescent years,” he said. “As a lighting designer and operator, I often treat a tribute set as though it’s the real deal. I would light Jason Bonham as though it was really Led Zeppelin; it makes it really fun to play that role and it pushes you to rise to the opportunity.”
“This is our 14th Warren Haynes Christmas Jam and we love being a small part of such a great event for a great cause,” said Dizzy Gosnell, Bandit Vice President of Production. “When Preston called me with his ideas for this show, I had a feeling he was going to get some big fat rock’n’roll looks out of this pretty modest rig. The PXL 8 strips really fit the bill for some really epic looks. It had an 80’s vibe but 21st century flexibility which was key for the time constraints for programming and a long show day. This rig typified one of my mantras ‘it ain’t what you got, it’s what you do with it that counts.’ Preston just crushed it…. Again.”
“I know it’s going to be a good day whenever I have a Bandit crew on my side,” finished Hoffman. “Even when things aren’t going quite as planned, they are right there with you every step or pivot. Having done this show year after year I get to meet a lot of the Bandit techs and they all have a great fun but professional disposition. I loved the crew this year headed up by Craig Richter. They really did a great job and made everything on my end very smooth and easy.”
Preston Hoffman: Lighting Designer
Paul Hoffman: Assistant Lighting Designer
Mike Smith: Production Manager
Bandit Client Representative: Dizzy Gosnell
Bandit Project Manager: Don Lockridge
Bandit Crew: Craig Richter, Carter Fulghum, Tala Bell and Brian Bogovic
Photo credit: Ian Rawn
About Bandit Lites, Inc.
Bandit Lites is a full-service design, management and producer of live events, theatrical productions, and live shows. Bandit Lites has a full staff of highly trained professionals to deal with all types of production needs. Bandit’s presence will ensure seamless transitions no matter where your next show takes you. More information available at www.BanditLites.com