Robbie Williams European tour, 14 June – 25 August, 2013
LONDON — Robbie Williams’ ‘Take the Crown’ European stadium tour, his first solo tour for seven years, kicked off on June 14 of this year, taking in 11 countries across June, July and August. Sherif el Barbari, Audio System Designer and System Engineer for Robbie Williams, designed and spec’d the entire PA system around the requirements of the tour. Britannia Row, who had already serviced Robbie Williams’ tours for almost two decades, supplied the entire audio equipment for the tour.
The full equipment inventory included 64 K1, 32 K1-SB, 44 SB28, 24 V-DOSC, 240 KUDO, 24 KARA, 12 ARCS II and 150 LA8 amplifiers. According to Joshua Lloyd, Brit Row’s PA Crew Chief, “K1 is one of, if not the best, systems in the market currently.” It was deployed in full for this special tour.
To match the video screen backdrop and extensive gold stage scenery and design, the K1, K1-SB and ARCS II enclosures were all customized with gold grills. Sherif el Barbari said, “How could the K1 grills be any other color than gold? This top of the pops high end sound reinforcement system deserves no less than a gold finish. Everyone was extremely satisfied with the looks and I’m not alone in saying that finish is just the perfect match.”
A flown ring delay system was also deployed in the stadiums where the roof structure allowed the system to be hung, dramatically improving the quality of sound right to the back of the stadium audiences.
The largest deployment of ring delays was at Wembley Stadium, London. Sherif el Barbari said, “126 KUDO were used to cover the upper bowl, distributed into 14 hangs of nine cabinets. The selective horizontal coverage of the KUDO made it the perfect choice to minimize triangulation time path problems when using multiple sources, which overlap in coverage. The 50-degree horizontal K-LOUVER setting was used wherever possible to overcome these problems. We received high praise for the sound quality in the upper bowl in each stadium where we used the ring delay system, especially notable in the Wembley Stadium in London.”
Joshua Lloyd agrees, “The ring delay system made a huge difference in the large stadiums where every seat in the house got the best coverage we could achieve. It provides a very different experience going to the back of a stadium and having that vocal in your face. Overall, it meant that everyone had great audio and felt involved in the show as they could hear every word.”
Visiting 11 different countries with such a big production poses challenges even for the most experienced of system engineers. Thanks to the help of L-ACOUSTICS’ SOUNDVISION software, these challenges could be predicted and resolved ahead of set up at each venue. Sherif el Barbari said, “The extensive simulations that I was able to do beforehand in SOUNDVISION proved once again to be the most powerful tool to cope with the time limitations one faces in such a big stadium production when it comes to aligning a system comprising of more than 36 arrays and clusters. Without it, I can’t think of how we would have been able to run our first show of the tour in the Dublin Aviva stadium where we had a tight noise window of only two one-hour sessions over two days to align and tune the PA system in a challenging environment.”
Joshua Lloyd, “The reviews were all good and everyone from the musical director to production seemed very pleased with the results.”
Sherif el Barbari reiterates, “I would like to express my sincere thanks to all of the Britannia Row Audio Crew. They have worked hard to make it all happen. Their efforts and determination are highly appreciated and I will be looking forward to a new challenge to master with such a talented and professional crew.”
Britannia Row Productions: www.britanniarow.com