Recognized for his work with David Bowie and Mick Jagger, Tony Blancis on the road these days at FOH with Christina Aguilera.
Christina is co-headlining with Justin Timberlake. Does thiscreate double trouble, in terms of logistics?
We work together, although there are time constraints. Given thewindows of opportunity available, it’s a luxury if we get an hour forsoundcheck. My chronic concern is making sure that the P.A.’s tonalityis correct. If necessary, I’ll take most of my hour and make surethat’s right and then just do a line check. Then, we’ll let the band goup and do one or two songs. If everyone’s happy, they jam a bit, andthen it’s showtime.
What do you try to bring to this show each night?
The crowd has to understand what Christina is singing, so I focus onmaking her voice as intelligible as if she were just speaking. Thepeople come out to hear the star. Her vocal needs to be as clear, fulland in-your-face as I can make it.
What’s your choice for her vocal mic?
She’s been a Beta 87A user, but in my opinion, she sounds better onan SM58 because of her tonality. She has a spike in her voice at about2.5k or so that’s useful for volume. The SM58 gives her what she needsnaturally, and me, as well.
Is there one guiding principle house engineers should liveby?
It’s not for us to make music; our job is to report it. We’re justlayering things so the gain structure is correct and the tonality ofthe instruments doesn’t jump out in any way. Our world is a question ofbalance. The best engineers I’ve ever watched at work know theirproportions.