With her Lover's Rock CD already RIAA-certified Platinum, Sade set out on her first U.S. tour in almost eight years. Mix caught the Shoreline Amphitheater show in Mountain View, Calif., in mid-July.
Mixing FOH for the tour is Howard Page, who, as VP at Showco, was largely responsible for the design of the Showconsole, the digitally controlled analog console that Showco developed jointly with Harrison/GLW.
“I don't do full tours much anymore,” notes Page, who started touring in his native Australia in the '70s. “So this is a rare opportunity to use some of the things I've designed and built. I have a different stored preset for every song on the show. Sade and I have structured every song [in terms of the mix], and each song is very different from the next. With the Showconsole, I just hit one button and the whole mix resets for that song's feeling, grooves and sounds, all in the blink of an eye.”
Though the P.A. is a familiar one for Page — a Showco Prism system — the choice of lead vocal mic was less straightforward, because Sade wanted to use a wireless handheld. “We ended up with a Shure SM87 head on a Shure wireless system,” notes Page. “A female vocal is tricky at the best of times, and generic vocal mic choices don't always work — you have to tailor the choice to the artist's intonation and the way the artist sings.” Perhaps not surprisingly for an artist who has a sophisticated ear, Sade is using Future Sonics in-ear monitors.