New York, NY (September 1, 2022)—When most acts tour the world, keeping the concert the same night after night is usually a top priority. When everything from venues to countries to languages can change every night, a uniform stage experience and consistent live sound can provide performers with at least some measure of comfort and consistency.
For Jacob Collier, however—an artist who trades in extensive improvisation each night with his six-piece band—the need to keep things up in the air is the key to inspiration. Any given show will require interactive lighting, songs turning on a dime, audience involvement, lots of improvisation and more. Conjuring a magical experience onstage requires inviting in a certain amount of controlled chaos, but that need has to be balanced with the expectation that a venue’s production offerings can handle that kind of show. The responsibility of ensuring that, then, is entrusted to Ben Bloomberg, production director and show/music systems designer on Collier’s current Djesse world tour, which kicked off in April.
Eying an itinerary that will see the tour hit Europe, the Americas, Asia and Australasia before it finishes next year, Bloomberg knew he had his work cut out for him. “Gone are the days of being able to come in and use a house desk,” he said. “This gig has too many moving parts. With advanced looping and music as dynamic as Jacob’s, our amazing engineers perform almost as much as the band. The mix is highly dynamic and musically specific, and the show changes every night with significant improvisation.”
As a result, Bloomberg turned to Eighth Day Sound (Highland Heights, OH) to provide a pair of Allen & Heath dLive mixing systems for the tour’s live sound at FOH and monitorworld. It wasn’t the first time, as he took one out on a smaller Collier tour in 2019, and found the desks provided the required I/O and channel count in a compact form factor that worked for fly dates. Now FOH engineer Jose Ortega and monitor engineer Alessandro Melchior have built show files that are compatible across the dLive range, ensuring that the production can use regionally supplied dLive desks, regardless of the model available, without a loss of processing capabilities or channel count.
For the U.S. leg on the current tour, a pair of 28-fader S5000 Surfaces were partnered with a DM0 and DM64 MixRack; in the U.K., one of the S5000 Surfaces was substituted with a 36-fader S7000 at monitors; and for the upcoming Australian shows, a pair of ultra-compact C1500 Surfaces will be deployed with a pair of DM0 MixRacks and three DX168 expanders for analog I/O.
The show utilizes 116 channels of audio coming from a combination of analog and digital sources, making use of dLive’s Dante cards for connection to dual-redundant playback systems, plus GUI integration with Shure wireless systems.