Melissa Etheridge’s benefit performance at the Hard Rock Café was captured and mixed by Scott Peets and Design FX.
Photo: Hard Rock International/Rene Macura
Multi-Platinum artist and breast cancer survivor Melissa Etheridge helped kick off breast cancer awareness month, “Pinktober,” this past fall with a benefit concert at the Hard Rock Café in Hollywood. Opening was Crystal Bowersox, last year’s American Idol runner up, who also joined Etheridge onstage for a couple of songs. The show was recorded and mixed for Webcast by Scott Peets of Design FX.
“At the Hard Rock Cafe in Hollywood, there’s no place to park a truck,” Peets says. “So we brought in one of our flightpacks—a rack of ATI preamps and a Pro Tools rig. Sound Image dropped us a splitter just like they normally would, and ran it to about 10 feet from where the monitor engineer, Jon Schmicke, was and plugged into the preamps there. When we’re in our truck, we’ve got a tech onstage wearing a headset who coordinates the soundcheck with me, but in this case, we had eye contact with Jon, and that made things go really smooth.”
Peets took the tracks back to the Design FX truck to mix on the custom API console, using a variety of outboard gear and plug-ins. “I mix and match, but mostly I’ll use plug-ins for cleanup and hardware for color,” says Peets, who also mixed an Etheridge/Bowersox duet of the song “I Run for Life,” for benefit sale on iTunes. “The biggest compromise recording a live performance on a small stage like the one at this Hardrock is leakage,” Peets says. “Your vocal mic is now part of your snare sound, for example. Blending it all together is like putting together a sonic puzzle made up of frequencies rather than small pieces of cardboard.”