Last year saw numerous rock ‘n’ rollers reuniting on the stage — The Police, Van Halen, et al. But perhaps garnering the biggest headlines was Led Zeppelin taking the stage on December 10 in London’s new O2 arena for a charity show in memory of Atlantic Records co-founder Ahmet Ertegun. On hand to ensure that the sound was up to par for this long-awaited show were monitor engineer Dee Miller and front-of-house engineers Roy Williams (mixing Robert Plant) and Big Mick (Jimmy Page, guitar; John Paul Jones, bass; and Jason Bonham, drums); the sound system was supplied by Britannia Row.
Both Williams and Mick mixed on a Midas XL8. “I had known from before the start of rehearsals that two engineers would be doing the show: one to look after the band and one to concentrate on Robert’s vocals and effects,” Williams says. “Not the easiest thing to do…[but] Mick and I have known one another for over 30 years, so that helped a lot.”
“We felt that using the XL8 gave us an unlimited amount of options,” Big Mick says. “The operation of the console made it really easy for Roy and myself to divide the worksurface. Being able to set the last bay of the console to the ‘B’ zone and then recall a POP [population] group containing Robert’s vocal and effects into the ‘B’ zone meant that Roy had his own section. This allowed me the remaining two bays and the VCA section to mix the band.”
As the band does not use in-ears, Dee spec’d 11 Turbosound TFM-350 wedges, a pair of TFM-450s and six Flashlights for sidefills; he mixed on a Midas Heritage 3000. “With John Paul Jones playing bass guitar, bass pedals and keyboards, there was a lot going on,” he says. “And Robert likes it edgy. He has a lot of top end on his vocal mix, so it’s always a challenge. I have to keep an eye on him and my hand on his fader at all times.”