McLachlan sings through a Neumann KMS150; all other vocals take AKG 535s. Other mics onstage include models from Heil, Earthworks, Audix and Electro-Voice.
Photos: Steve Jennings
Female singer/songwriter touring festival Lilith Fair stopped by the Shoreline Amphitheater (Mountain View, Calif.) in early July, where fans were treated to sets by Sarah McLachlan (founder of the festival), Heart, Miranda Lambert, The Bangles, Colbie Caillat and much more on three stages. Solotech (Montreal) provided all of the gear.
Front-of-house engineer Gary Stokes at the Avid Profile
Working out at FOH is Gary Stokes, who is mixing on an Avid Profile, sending 60 channels to the house and a few more to monitors. “However, I have patched my output buses digitally through plug-ins back to extra channel inputs on my bottom layer,” Stokes says. “This gives me effectively 24 more customizable virtual control groups on the input faders. I spend pretty much the whole show on this bank and have almost eliminated the dreaded input bank switching. This setup does hog the console DSP resources, and I quickly ran myself out of DSP and input channels to make this happen.”
Monitor engineer David Pallett mixes on a Yamaha PM1D
Outboard gear includes a dedicated vocal chain (Crane Song Trakker compressor and Empirical Labs Lil Freq EQ on an analog insert), XTA D2 and Sidd (digital insert), TC System 6000 (reverb, chorus and delay on McLachlan’s voice; patched on AES to the desk) and EQ Station, True P8 8-channel mic pre for some audience and test mics, and a Grace headphone amp.
Sarah McLachlan’s studio engineer Chris Potter also mixes on an Avid Profile.
The L-Acoustics V-DOSC rig is supplemented by ARCs for outfill and dV-DOSC for downfill. The two smaller stages use dV-DOSC and Meyer Sound CQs. Solotech system tech Marc Germain tunes the rig on a Meyer Sound SIM system. His control system comprises a custom BSS SoundWeb system for console switching and input matrix management; a Meyer Galileo for primary system EQ and drive; and a remote control of some XTA pieces onstage performing x-over/delay functions for sub-systems.
Over at monitor world, engineer David Pallett is mixing on a Yamaha PM1D; Solotech has provided two Avid monitor boards for those artists who are not carrying their own gear and opt to use one of Solotech’s techs to mix monitors. The only outboard pieces of gear Pallett is using are Avalon 767 tube preamps on McLachlan’s main and piano vocals and a Lexicon PCM70 reverb also on vocals. “I make liberal use of the onboard effects and processing on the PM1D,” Pallett says. “I use individual reverbs for all the other musicians, as well as gates and compressors on various channels.”
McLachlan’s studio engineer, Chris Potter, is also on tour, mixing on an Avid Profile and recording to Pro Tools. “I supply stereo mixes for the cameras archiving the show, as well as reference mixes for the artist and management,” he says. “My main position is to capture the show in multitrack form for later use.” Outboard gear at Potter’s side includes two Yamaha REV500 reverbs and D5000 delays, and Alan Smart C2 comps across the stereo bus.
While much press has been given to the number of shows cancelled on this tour, both Stokes and Pallett remain upbeat.
“It has certainly been a topic of conversation but no one is moping around,” Pallett says. “Having worked with Sarah for close to 20 years, I can honestly say that our morale starts at the top. When you see Sarah smiling and happy to be out here doing what she loves and putting on a great show, you can’t help but be infected with the same attitude. After seeing that Live Nation has cancelled hundreds of shows, you quickly realize that this is just a sign of the times and not a reflection on the great talent we are supporting on this tour.”
“In 25 years,” adds Stokes, “I have almost never been on a tour that has not cancelled or changed dates at the last minute. This is part of ‘business as usual’ for most touring pros. Although I can see tickets are down in some markets, this hardly seems unique to the concert business, and our performers have put on such great and diverse sets that I feel the fans are getting more than their money’s worth. It doesn’t hurt that Sarah is having a great time onstage every night and that is some good energy everyone can’t help but feed off, from patrons to ushers to audio technicians—myself included.”
Sarah Benzuly is
’s managing editor.