Stevie Nicks, the Queen of Rock ’n’ Roll, performed a two-hour show at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, Calif., in December. The set list covered fan favorites and rarities from her 35-year solo career, along with some Fleetwood Mac staples. Also on the bill were The Pretenders, and Nicks was joined onstage by Chrissie Hynde to sing the hit “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.” Nicks’ vocal mic is a Sennheiser 935.
“As one of the last analogosaurus roaming the earth, I still get a kick out of pushing faders and twisting knobs, so it’s a Yamaha PM5K for me whenever the project allows for it,” says FOH engineer Dave Kob, left, with Clair system engineer Jeff Wuerth. “I actually have people come up and ask me what kind of desk it is because they’ve never seen an actual analog console before!
“My usual analog arsenal includes a Summit TLA 100 tube compressor on Stevie’s vocal,” he continues, “Empirical Labs Distressors on background vocals and bass, dbx 160As on guitarist Waddy Wachtel’s acoustic and RF mic, Aphex 612 gates on drums, Bricasti M-7 for special effects and ambience ’verbs, Yamaha SPX 2000 for drum ambience, and Eventide Eclipse V4 for vocal effects.
“Mixing live sound is both proactive—the creative bits—and reactive, where you’re adjusting for a multitude of unavoidable variables. I can react much more fluently when everything is laid out before me on one surface. Less usually proves to be more in live situations, so don’t go digging into that tool/toy chest to fix a problem that doesn’t really exist in the first place. I mix with my ears not with my eyes. The band is up there onstage playing live music, not on that LCD screen on your console. There is no plug-in that can turn a bad mix into a good one, so pay attention and mix.”
“I’m mixing on a DiGiCo SD10, says monitor engineer Dave Coyle, left, with P.A. tech Josh Hughes and monitor tech Calvin Welshans. “Stevie’s tour is different than Fleetwood Mac’s in that it has more outputs. There are also six different styles of ears on the stage. So the sounds that I get from the mics have to work everywhere. The key is using the graphic EQs on the mix outputs to make the ears and wedges sound similar.
“Stevie and the two background vocalists have Future Sonics MG5pros; Carlos Rios, guitar, a Sensaphonics 3D 2max system; Darrel Smith, keyboards, Future Sonics MG6pro; Rickey Peterson, B3 Organ, Sensaphonics 2max with Shure 600 hardware and ML18 sub; Scott Crago, drums, Ultimate Ears 16; Al Ortiz, bass, JH Audio 16V2 and Clair CM22, all using Sennheiser 2050 twin receivers; and Waddy Wachtel, guitar, who uses three Clair 12am wedges.”
“Our main hang consists of 16 CO-12s a side with three flown CP-218 behind it in a cardioid configuration,” explains Clair systems engineer Jeff Wuerth. “The side hang is made up of 12 i3s, which assisted in eliminating the need to carry a rear hang due to the width of coverage the i3 offers. The center hang employs four CO-8s to fill the very center of the first eight to 10 rows. On the ground we use a single CP-218 in the center under the stage, which gave a bit more power where the cardioid effect of the flown subs began to fall off. Across the front of the stage we are using six CO-8s as front fills. The entire P.A. is powered with PLM 20ks riding inside the Clair StakRak. At FOH we have three LM44s that drive the system. Because of the analog desk, we are also driving the P.A. via analog out of the LMs.”
“I started using a small center fill—four Clair CO8s on a matrix mix—a few years ago on Fleetwood Mac and it worked so well it’s now part of my standard system,” adds FOH engineer Kob. “We typically fly them at 45 to 50 feet to avoid any sight-line issues, and it’s amazing how, even at a comparatively low level, they pull the left-right main system together sonically and fill in the front, center 10 to 15 rows. I also supplement the low end with one Clair BT218 CP sub under the stage DSC.”
Guitarist Waddy Wachtel uses BlackStar artist series amps with a Shure SM57 and a KSM313/NE Dual-Voice Ribbon microphone.
Drum tech Mike Rose at drummer Scott Crago’s kit, which includes Shure SM-91A on kick (in) and Sennheiser E602 on kick (out); SM-57 and Beyer 201 TB on snare top and bottom; AKG C-451 EB on hi-hat,; Shure Beta 181 on ride and toys; Audix D4 on rack and floor toms; two MILAB M-96 on overheads L-R.
Keyboardist Darrel Smith’s setup, top, and Ricky Peterson’s Hammond B3 setup, which sits stage right.