Grammy Award–winners Gorillaz recently performed their multi-Platinum Demon Days album from start to finish during a five-night run at Harlem's Apollo Theater. The nightly Demon Days Live show, which featured more than 80 guest musicians from the album, was a huge technical challenge.
Sennheiser supplied a large quantity of wired and wireless microphone systems, as well as IEM setups for the band and their many guest artists. Performers included Ike Turner, MF Doom, De La Soul, Neneh Cherry, Pharcyde's Bootie Brown, Roots Manuva, Martina Topley Bird, Dennis Hopper, Happy Mondays' Shaun Ryder, the 25-piece Harlem Gospel Choir, the 25-member Boys and Girls Choir of Harlem and more than a dozen strings from the Juilliard Academy of Music. Sennheiser provided 18 channels of SKM 935 G2/EM 550 G2 wireless vocal microphone systems, 14 channels of Evolution G2 wireless personal monitor systems, 10 wired e 935 vocal mics and a considerable quantity of instrument microphones, including Sennheiser e 609 Silver, e 905, MD 421 II and MKH70, as well as Neumann KM 184 and TLM 193 models.
"Getting a good selection of mics and good RF was critical," says tour manager Craig Duffy, who, along with stage manager James Baseley and his team, had the unenviable task of moving the dozens of musicians on and offstage exactly on cue. "I had to make sure they were all in the right place at the right time and make sure that they could hear themselves."
Production manager Anthony Aquilato, who also assisted the stage manager and more than half a dozen others with the logistics of coordinating the stage performers, adds, "There were mics going on and offstage all the time."
Aquilato heaps praise on Sennheiser's Paul Hugo for his support. "Paul checked frequencies morning, noon and night; we never had one wireless hit for the whole week. The show was filmed for DVD, and when the film people came in, Paul assisted them with frequency coordination, too. The wireless worked flawlessly."
"Paul pulled it out of the bag," agrees Duffy, who previously worked with Hugo during Live 8, putting the Paris show together, as well as on past Natasha Bedingfield shows. Duffy also notes that Hugo made sure that all of the Sennheiser equipment was available for band rehearsals in the UK prior to the run of shows at the Apollo Theater.
Notes Hugo, "It was not until after the fifth and final day of the run that I realized that my friend Bob Muller was on site working as the technical manager for the video shoot. He had no idea that I was there handling all the RF nor was I aware of his presence. I guess that's a new definition for successful RF. Neither side had to reach out to the other for a solution."
For more information on the Sennheiser gear, visit www.sennheiserusa.com.