Live Sound

The White Stripes

Riding high on the success of their latest album, Elephant, the White Stripes embarked on an ambitious world tour that included two sold-out nights at San Francisco's Warfield Theater. 7/01/2003 8:00 AM Eastern

Riding high on the success of their latest album, Elephant,the White Stripes embarked on an ambitious world tour that included twosold-out nights at San Francisco's Warfield Theater. Consisting of onlyJack White (vocals, guitar and piano) and Meg White (drums and vocals),the band delivered two energetic and frenzied sets that Jack made up onthe spot. Drawing from a modest catalog of albums and EPs, the band hadlittle trouble keeping the crowds entertained.

Monitor engineer Eric Baecht maintains a number of custom mixes atvarious positions onstage. “Jack likes a really loud and powerfulmix. He has three different vocal mics, so he likes to hear everythingall over the stage. There's four mixes onstage, plus sidefills. Peoplejust see two people onstage and they tend to think it's easier than itactually is. His guitar is pretty bass-heavy, so you don't feel you'remissing the bass guitar. It's interesting; lets say if he doesn't feelthe song, he'll just start playing keyboards. It's totally up to hiswhim.”

Drum mics include Neumann KM184s for overheads and hi-hat,Sennheiser 604s on toms and snare, and a ne602 on kick.

FOH engineer Matthew Kettle mixed the San Francisco dates from aYamaha PM4000 console. For this leg of the tour, the crew relies on arental P.A. and consoles. “We're not carrying a console or P.A.right now,” Kettle explains. “I hope to have a Midas XL4 orthe Heritage 3000 down the line.

“Jack constantly rearranges and restructures songs,”says Kettle. “He does improvised melodies, intersperses coverswith their own material and draws from all four of their albums. Jackhas three open vocal mics that he runs back and forth to. Because it'sso unpredictable, I'm changing the mix all of the time.”

The three vocals mics used by Jack are all Sennheiser Evolution8651s. Kettle feels that the mics are well- suited to Jack's style ofperformance because they combine a great deal of gain before feedbackwith the open sound of a condenser mic. “[Jack] will work out howthe mic works so he can get weird off-axis and distance EQeffects,” Kettle explains. “He's very creative with all ofhis gear, and he'll take the idiosyncrasies of something and takeadvantage of it. He uses an effected mic that he likes to controlonstage. He likes it to have this giant kind of vintage plate sound onit for a cavernous effect.”

Kettle relies on number of outboard processors, including a UREI1178 compressor on guitar and an Empirical Labs Distressors on vocals.“I compress almost everything going on, because he can go fromscreaming into his mic to singing really quietly,” says Kettle.All of the shows are also archived with an iZ Technologies RADAR24.