With a full television crew recording his every move, and â€˜meet and greetâ€™ packages at every show, singer/songwriter/showman Peter AndrÃ©â€™s big arena tour this December would not make life easy for the production company.
But for Mark â€˜Knockerâ€™ Neilâ€™s sound and lighting company Production Hire, the budget thrown at the stage and set design for this extravagant show could hardly have been more generous, as he rigged three different Martin Audio line array systems scalable to the different venue capacities.
At the UKâ€™s largest arena, O2 in London, his main weapon was the W8L Longbowâ€”13 elements a side, plus two W8LD downfill boxes at the base. Borrowing a couple of enclosures a side from Capital Sound Hire for this gig, Production Hire nonetheless serviced all remaining UK arenas from their own inventoryâ€”including hangs of W8LC Compacts for sidefill or main PA duties, eight LE700 stage wedges and some
Wavefront W3 infills.
The side hang at the O2 included nine W8LC (plus two W8LCD Downfills) and Knocker Neil even supplied a couple of W8/W8S stacks for the glitzy VIP after-party.
The new tour was to promote Andreâ€™s album Accelerate, and with its journey into a more urban groove the sound man knew that Longbow would be perfect. â€œThe Martin Audio enclosures are horn-loaded and we really like the sound; Longbow is particularly powerful and versatile, and handles dance music fantastically well. Itâ€™s easy to rig and covered the O2â€”90ft up to the top seatsâ€”without any problem at all. Itâ€™s the first time I have worked here but itâ€™s quite a forgiving room, and fairly â€˜deadâ€™ acoustically.â€?
But with CAN Associates handling TV productionâ€”and sightlines needing to be preserved with high PA trims (particularly in the wrap-around venues) â€” the tour had been challenging.
The PA was rigged in one of three configurations. â€œOn the smallest gigs we used the side hang W8LC arrays as main FOH. The next size up we used the Longbow with no side hangs â€” and at places like MEN and O2 we have used both.â€?
Optimizing the system were four XTA DP448 processors, with XTA comps, gates and graphics also in the rack.
Dave Lamb was sending mixes from a Midas Heritage 3000, with 48 inputs at front of house, while John Shaw in monitor world, was aboard a PM5D. System tech was Paul Trice.
With top LD Vince Foster designing and operating a massive visual display (with moving stage elements), and with the fast set changes and large onstage cast (including full band, BVâ€™s and dancers) small wonder that it needed five artics to truck the gear.
Summing up, Knocker Neil said, â€œThis comes at the end of a very good year. Itâ€™s a proper grown-up show and it has done really well for us.â€?
Pics: Peter AndrÃ© onstage at the O2 Arena; Mark â€˜Knockerâ€™ Neil
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