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the online magazine for touring professionals


CLICK for a 360° view HERE #7

| 03.2017

New from DiGiCo


Predictably Stunning In 2015, DiGiCo launched its compact S-Series, which boasted a modern workflow at an affordable pricepoint; last year, the whole SD Range became much more powerful thanks to the introduction of Stealth Core 2 Software across the board; now, in DiGiCo’s 15th year, meet the new and predictably stunning SD12.

Main Features 

72 input channels with full processing

36 aux/grp busses with full processing

LR / LCR bus & 12 x 8 Matrix

The new DiGiCo SD12 doesn’t just re-write the book on

12 FX processors & 16 Graphic EQs

compact multi-application consoles, it simply rips it up

119 Dynamic EQs, 119 Multiband Compressors, 119 DiGiTuBes

and starts again. DiGiCo UK Ltd. Unit 10 Silverglade Business Park, Leatherhead Road Chessington, Surrey KT9 2QL. Tel: +44 (0) 1372 845600

Advanced surface connectivity with optional DMI cards

UB MADI & optional Optics

the online magazine for touring professionals




Kinetic Kalifornication


| 03.2017


A Production Legend’s Journey



Walter Jaquiss On Touring With Lydon


Reviewing DiGiCo’s SD12 & ER Cyclone

PAUL ‘WIX’ WICKENS The Musician’s Perspective

ULTRA-COMPACT MODULAR LINE SOURCE Packing a 138 dB wallop, Kiva II breaks the SPL record for an ultra-compact 14 kg/31 lb line source. Kiva II features L-Acoustics’ patented DOSC technology enhanced with an L-Fins waveguide for ultimate precise and smooth horizontal directivity. WSTŽ gives Kiva II long throw and even SPL, from the front row to the back, making it the perfect choice for venues and special events that require power and clarity with minimal visual obtrusion. Add to that a 16 ohm impedance for maximized amplifier density and a new sturdy IP45 rated cabinet, and you get power, efficiency and ruggedness in the most elegant package.




#7 | 03.2017



do on the road to help fine tune the body, and this is the subject of a

his business can be a very difficult place to inhabit

new Load-In series by our friend Sally

at times. Long periods away from our loved ones,

Morris which begins this month.

financial concerns and health issues all affect us,

On behalf of my small but perfectly

and we sometimes forget that we all have our

formed team, I am delighted to report

limits. In the last year, I lost two very dear industry friends

that Load-In’s audience figures have

for whom life became too much to bear. I don’t want to lose

dramatically increased over the last

any more this year.

few issues so I’m hoping that indicates

Those of you who are regularly on tour have surrogate

we are doing something right.

road brothers and sisters to turn to and lean on when things

Every now and again, we’ll shake things up a little to

really get tough, but they can only help if you let them. Some

keep the magazine fresh and this month we’re looking at

people believe that opening up about their feelings is a sign

the business from the musician’s perspective, care of an

of weakness when, actually, it’s a sign of strength.

extensive feature on keyboard maestro and all-round good

Most of us have hit rock bottom at some point in our

guy, Paul ‘Wix’ Wickens.

lives. If you’re feeling low or fear you’re entering a dark,

Our next issue will be themed around the heavy metal

desperate place, talk to your bus buddies because a

side of the touring and event industry, so we’re currently

problem shared really is a problem halved. Conversely, if

working on perfecting our ‘Sign of the Horns’ salute as well

one of your crew mates starts to appear unusually quiet,

as finalising some very special feature content.

keep an eye on them and offer support. To be fair, it’s only

Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy the diversity of this edition

common sense but it is worth saying.

and, remember, be safe out there.

Lifestyle is another thing to be aware of. Irregular sleep and fast meals – not to mention alcohol – all add to the

Richard Bennett, PUBLISHER/Editor-in-Chief

pressure on our hearts. There are a few things one can

OUR CREW Publisher/Editor-in-Chief Richard Bennett Consulting Editor & Designer Mark Cunningham Office Manager Svetlana Boulai Commercial Director Tony Bloomfield Online Tech Nick Wells Contributors Sally Morris, Karrie Keyes, Helen Baxter, Jake Berry, Mark Cunningham Photographers Todd Kaplan, Tony Bloomfield, Helen Bradley-Owers, Guy Perry, MJ Kim, Mark Cunningham, Paul Reno, Tim Bugbee Cover Image Todd Kaplan LOAD-IN is published by Bear & Bones Publishing Ltd under licence. Head office: 238 Lydgate Road, Southampton, Hampshire SO19 6LT, UK. Tel: +44 (0) 23 8040 7751 | Mobile: +44 (0) 7949 731043 | Copyright © 2017 Load-In International Ltd. All contents of this publication are subject to worldwide copyright protection and reproduction in whole or part, in any form whatsoever, is expressly forbidden without the prior written consent of the Publishers. Every effort is taken to ensure accuracy in the preparation of this publication but neither Load-In International Ltd, nor the Editor, can be held responsible for its contents or any consequential loss or damage resulting from information published. Load-In International Ltd does not officially endorse any advertisement within this publication. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Publishers or Editor.

Load-in magazine 03.2017 | facebook | twitter | facebook | twitter

06 #7 | 03.2017



Public image limited


Forty years on from ‘Anarchy’, John Lydon’s anger is still his energy. red hot chili peppers


RHCP return to Europe and brandish an impressive kinetic lighting design on their The Getaway tour. justin bieber 50

The Canadian pop star caught live on his third full-length world tour, Purpose. the tubes 92

It’s always ‘Prime Time’ for the confrontational ‘White Punks On Dope’ from San Francisco.



James Gordon gives Load-In the low down on DiGiCo’s new SD12 console. UNDER THE BONNET... EXTRA 68

We talk to Ryan Hagan about laser specialist ER Productions’ extraordinary Cyclone.



Helen Baxter feasts like a Bavarian.

Load-in magazine 03.2017

How a thatched roof, a caped keyboard legend and a session in a local Devon boozer launched production icon Jake Berry’s career. DAZE OF YORE


When The Who put the boot in and broke the sound barrier at Charlton. THE XX FACTOR


Karrie Keyes meets Janelle Monáe and Wondaland FOH engineer Amanda Davis. REAL LIVES


Musician focus! An extensive interview with prolific keyboard player, MD and long-standing member of the McCartney band... Mr. Paul ‘Wix’ Wickens. ON THE SPOT




Helping you to improve your quality of life on the road, Sally Morris begins her series of tips and techniques with... balls!



Ian Anderson heads back to the late ’70s to revisit Jethro Tull’s double set, Bursting Out. OUR WORLD


Lady Gaga’s Halftime Show dazzles at Super Bowl 51 in Houston, plus a SXSW preview. | facebook | twitter


ER PRODUCTIONS CELEBRATES A DECADE IN LASERS Founded by Ryan Hagan and Marc Webber in 2007, ER Productions is an award-winning laser specialist providing cutting edge laser design to some of the most iconic shows in the world. Known for its innovative custom designed laser systems, which have helped to define the look of countless concert tours, one off installations and flagship TV shows including the X Factor and The Voice, the company marks its 10th birthday this year. It has been rollercoaster journey for the British business, which has risen swiftly through the ranks, making a name for itself as one of the top suppliers of lasers worldwide. With offices in London, Ibiza, Las Vegas and Australia’s Gold Coast, ER Productions will be showcasing some of its innovations at pop-up events over the coming months. For more information, sign up to the newsletter at

UK +44 1322 293 135 | USA +1 214 2700665 | AUSTRALIA +61 403 703 731 | SPAIN +34 938 000291 |


SD12: Unleashed O

n January 19th, DiGiCo’s SD series was expanded

with the worldwide introduction of the SD12 mixing console – a compact, 96kHz system

DiGiCo’s James Gordon talks to Load-In about a new, welcome addition to the company’s celebrated SD console range

that is destined to become

other companies, we came up with the idea of a multiple, simultaneous release across the world. We managed to get a console to 30 of our international distributors without the industry knowing they were

extremely popular with rental companies the world over. Led

even there.

by customer demand, Project Vulcan, to give the console’s

“On the day of the launch it rolled out in Melbourne,

internal code name, was two years in development and is

Australia at 10am with a big party at our local distributor

the first new SD product for four years.

[Group Technologies Australasia Pty Ltd] with lots of

That the surprise of the new product’s impending launch

customers invited down and an actual SD12 there for them

was not diluted by an advance news leak was, in itself,

to see. This all went on social media and an hour or two

a testament to the close relationships DiGiCo has with its

later the same thing happened in Singapore, and as the day

distributors... and a clever marketing plan.

progressed there were big reveals in France, Germany, the

“We told our distributors about the SD12 back in

UK, Canada and even Guatemala, to name but a few, until

December, what it does, how much it was going to cost.

the NAMM Show in Anaheim opened with it. We basically

The great thing was that they all kept it under wraps, there

owned social media for about 18 hours!

wasn’t a single leak about it before the launch,” explains

“Our distributors across the world were great in helping

James Gordon, managing director of DiGiCo. “Instead

us do this; they organised their launch parties and really

of simply launching the product at a trade show like most

bought into the whole brand expectation.”

03.2017 | facebook | twitter



dual screen look and approach found on the SD5 and SD7

With the DiGiCo SD12 now out there for all to see, what

but on a smaller product. It’s like a baby SD7 that’s perfect

exactly are users getting for their investment? A smaller and

for the engineer doing corporate and regional work, but is

reduced capacity version of the brand’s flagship model, the

equally as powerful for touring and theatre.”

new console features the dual touch screen element from

The SD12 also features 12 stereo FX units, 16 graphic

both the SD5 and the SD7, and boasts 72 input channels,

EQs, 119 dynamic EQs, 119 multi-band compressors and

36 aux/group busses, a 12 x 8 matrix and a LR/LCR buss,

119 DigiTubes (tube emulation), along with 12 control

all with full processing.

groups (VCA) and the SD Series Stealth Core 2 software,

Says Gordon: “After launching the S21, we started

making it compatible with all other SD Series sessions. The

getting feedback from our SD8 and SD9 customers who

desk also has a dual operator mode and the ability for the

said it would be great if there was a more affordable

right-hand screen to be the Master, as well as advanced

multiple screen work surface that could fit in with their

connectivity via optional DMI cards.

current inventories. The idea for the SD12 was driven by

There are two slots for DMI cards on the back of the

the demand from the marketplace to have that beautiful

SD12 that were developed for the S21 and S31. DMI

03.2017 | facebook | twitter


possible with the console clocking at 48kHz and 24 tracks at 96kHz. On the main work surface, the EQ and dynamics controls are aligned perfectly next to both the left and right-hand screens so that they sit adjacent to the graphic representation that you see when you assign an EQ. DiGiCo has also included its Hidden Til Lit (HTL) technology, with two banks of 24 encoders featuring an RGB HTL ring, as well as an SD7style channel strip with HTL EQ encoders.

There is also new dynamics

metering on the channel strip and new high-intensity meters associated with the faders. The rotaries that sit below the screen indicate, by colour, which parameters they are options include a Dante module, which can

controlling to allow for fast operation.

be plugged straight into the back of the console, alleviating

Although the SD12 lacks the capacity of channels

the need to purchase an Orange Box I/O. A Waves

compared to the SD5 and SD7, it does share several

module can also be fitted to take full advantage of the

familiar features with its two predecessors, such as gain

Waves SoundGrid platform.

reduction meters.

A standard local I/O format is to be found at the rear

There is also an assignable master section on the bottom

of the SD12. There are eight local mic/line inputs, eight

right-hand side of the work surface and two assignable

local line outputs and eight AES/EBU in/out for local

faders with their own displays and metering, which can be

digital sources, as well as two MADI ports and a UB MADI

assigned to be any of the channels whether input or output

connection for recording – 48 tracks of recording are

or solo master controls.

“It’s like a baby SD7 that’s perfect for the engineer doing corporate and regional work, but is equally as powerful for touring and theatre.” 03.2017 | facebook | twitter


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Further features include a suite of remote control options,

seriously. “The thing with DiGiCo,” he says, “is that we

including the iPad SD remote app which offers remote

have the major acts touring who use the bigger consoles.

control, expansion and show control, and there’s a bright

The rental companies now have a much wider spectrum of

light bar across the top of the work surface that provides for

customer doing lots of regional work, corporate events and

excellent visibility in the working environment.

smaller tours. Having something like the SD12 that can fit

All in all, the SD12 is a welcome addition to the market

in with the SD7 inventory stock is a major step forward for

and, according to James Gordon, it demonstrates that

engineers working on those jobs.”

the manufacturer takes its customers practical needs very

03.2017 | facebook | twitter


Concert stages in all sizes. Stageco Belgium N.V. Kapelleweg 6 • 3150 Tildonk Tel : +32 16 60 84 71 Fax: +32 16 60 10 61


Temporary structures for every event.


When in Bavaria, eat like a Bavarian, says Aussie show caller Helen Baxter


unich is a city I always

Served with potato dumplings and

look forward to visiting

sauerkraut, a half pork knuckle (taken

when I’m touring Europe,

from the leg) is a meal in itself so it’s

especially if I’m there on a day off.

wise to arrive with an empty stomach.

It’s even better if it coincides with

Lightly seasoned in a salty herb

Oktoberfest. I could go on about the

marinade for 24 hours before grilling,

great nightlife but when it comes to

the knuckle meat is consistently delicate

food there is one constant for me and

and juicy with just the right amount of

that’s a restaurant called Haxnbauer.

crispy crunch on the outside.

Situated in the old part of the city,

Veal knuckles, a slightly more

Haxnbauer is housed within the historic

expensive option, are also available

Scholastikahaus, a building that is at

along with the choice of mixing slices

least 700 years old. At this point, if

from both types. Other traditional

you are a vegetarian or are on a diet,

dishes like schnitzel and Tyrolean

I strongly advise you to turn to the next

sausages can be found on the menu.


And as any Bavarian will tell you, the

I am a shameless lover of pork (no

perfect accompaniment is a glass of

sniggering at the back, please) and

Hefe-Weißbier – the cloudy wheat

what you get at Haxnbauer are some

beer that’s a heavy but rewarding

of the most exquisite pork dishes on

alternative to the regular German

the planet. It was the teasing sight

lager. The Löwenbräu Triumphator is

of the most enormous knuckles being

also worth a try if you like dark beer.

roasted over an open beechwood

My only reservation is that in a

charcoal grill in the front window – not

couple of instances, I have been

to mention the irresistible smells – that

disappointed by a long wait for

drew me into the restaurant first time

service, but the end result was always


worth the hassle. Dig in!

Haxnbauer, Sparkassenstraße 6, 80331 Munich, Germany • +49 89 216 6540 •

03.2017 | facebook | twitter

setting the stage since 1968

ANGER REMAINS THE ENERGY Richard Bennett catches Public Image Limited on their recent UK tour and quizzes crew captain Walter Jaquiss



or some of us, it can often seem like only yesterday

assistant studio engineer Walter Jaquiss, monitor mixer

that we reeled with excitement as ’God Save The

Rob Helig and backline technician Dan Dabrowski – have

Queen’ hit the record stores and shocked the living

become an efficient team as they deal with the usual issues

bejeezus out of the British’s crusty establishment in the run-up

associated with using mostly in-house equipment.

to Her Majesty’s Silver Jubilee.

Said Jaquiss: “For this short run of shows, it’s a bus-and-

Forty years is a long time in rock’n’roll but for the Sex

trailer operation and a normal load-in sees us start around

Pistols it was all over after 18 months, leaving the movement

midday and have everything set up by the band’s 3pm

to continue under the guidance of The Clash.


Meanwhile, frontman Johnny Rotten reclaimed his birth

“PiL usually perform for about two hours without an

name, John Lydon, and launched Public Image Limited in

interval so they’re normally done by 11pm and the trailer’s

the summer of ’78. Ten studio albums later, the one-time

packed by midnight, ready for us to drive to the next gig.”

face of Country Life butter remains in fine form as the high

At this level of touring, in-house systems can

priest of punk while PiL continue to deliver his unique social

make the logistics of moving around

observations on sold-out tours including their jaunt around

much easier. However, the crew

the UK at the end of last year.

are wholly dependent on the

Playing venues with audience capacities of 2,000-

venue having the resources and

3,000, PiL’s four-man touring crew – tour manager Keith

equipment in place to match the

Curtis, production manager, FOH sound engineer and

advance information.

03.2017 | facebook | twitter


“When you arrive at the venue, what you’re faced with is not always what you were expecting.” clamps and stands, and have more recently travelled with our own small monitor desk for consistency. “At FOH, I use a small laptop-based FX rack running Waves MultiRack which I connect either with my RME units or via Dante [which supports up to 512 bi-directional audio channels] or MADI, a unidirectional point to point approach.” EXPERIENCE Working as part of a small crew does yield many benefits. Knowing how each other work and becoming extra familiar with each individual’s character helps the team gel. Experience and knowledge is all shared equally, making the unit a force to be reckoned with. Having left school with the bare minimum of qualifications. Later to also work on the road with artists Despite being informed that everything is present, there are

including Lisa Stansfield and John Barrowman, Jaquiss was

often some surprises in store, as Jaquiss explained.

16 when he started as an apprentice for the Leeds sound

“When you arrive at the venue, what you’re faced with is

company, SSP. Through Andrew ‘Om’ Smith, the owner, he

not always what you were expecting,” he said. “On this run,

learned the basics of how to mix a band in pubs and clubs

our biggest test has been getting the monitors loud enough.

up and down the country – in fact, anywhere that needed a

John likes quite a high level of monitoring for himself so

small rig. It was also Smith who taught the young Jaquiss the

although we carry Adlib Audio’s MP4 wedges, we still rely

myriad non-audio aspects of touring.

on the house side fills which vary from day-to-day.

Clearly, the engineer took notice of all the wisdom that

“We carry six MP4s for John and his manager, ‘Rambo’

came his way. His work on the show I witnessed at the City

Stevens. Apart from d&b audiotechnik M2s and Meyer

Hall in Salisbury was nothing short of first class with PiL gems

MJF212s, we’ve found over the years that most house

such as ‘Rise’, ‘Death Disco’, ‘Religion’ and ‘This Is Not A

monitors we encounter just aren’t powerful enough for John.

Love Song’ sounding as good as ever.

We also carry our own in-ear monitors for the rest of the band and crew, a complete microphone and DI package,


Photography by Paul Reno, Xander Deccio & PiL Official | facebook | twitter


JUST A FEW OF THE SPECTACULAR EVENTS THAT GRACED OUR STAGE: • A Day To Remember • Animal Collective • Artist & Manager Awards • Asking Alexandria • Beverly Knight • City & Colour • Craig Charles Funk & Soul Club • Craig David • Garbage • Jamie XX • Jillionaire • Jimmy Eat World • John Carpenter • Junun • Kano • Kaytranada • Kerrang Awards • Lamb • Mayday Parade • Odesza • Robbie Williams • Roisin Murphy • Sink The Pink • The Specials • Unsigned Music Awards •


An industry giant, production manager JAKE BERRY takes time out to talk to Load-In

about how a trip to his local pub led to an illustrious career in international touring


t all started for me down in Exeter, Devon, where I was born [in 1953] and raised with my twin brother Trevor who was a thatcher. In the mid-’70s, he was thatching

a country house that belonged to Rick Wakeman, while I was working as a truck driver delivering animal feed to local farms. Although that meant early starts, I also finished early. One day, I got home to a message from my brother asking me to take something over to him at work at Rick’s house. It was around lunchtime when I got there and Rick said, “I’m off to the pub now – your brother’s working so would you like to join me?” Nine hours later, I left the pub completely drunk and the seeds of a new career had been sown. We became good friends with Rick; he would come over to our place and we’d all hang out together. In the spring of 1975, he asked us to go to London with him to help with his show, The Myths and Legends of King Arthur

03.2017 | facebook | twitter


Right: Caped crusader Rick Wakeman.

and the Knights of the Round Table On Ice. We both went along and helped out the crew by pushing equipment around. At the end of the tour, Rick asked if I would like to go to America and, naturally, I did. I soon moved to High Wycombe where he had his Complex 7 rehearsal studio, from where he also ran the Packhorse case company. I then became the drum and percussion tech for Rick and his English Rock Ensemble on their 1975 US tour, and I realised that I wanted to be in the touring business full-time. That’s when Rick employed me and when we weren’t touring, he’d keep me busy at Packhorse.

AC/DC. At the time, I would drink in The Warrington in

When Rick got the call to rejoin Yes, I went out with him

Maida Vale, a big hangout for musicians. It was during one

and the band on the Going For The One tour [in 1977] as

of these drinking sessions that Ian told me AC/DC were

both the assistant keyboard tech and the guitar and drum

looking for a production manager and that he’d mentioned

tech for their support act, Donovan, who shared the same

me. After Ian and I lied to their manager, Peter Mensch, he

manager as Yes, Brian Lane.

agreed to give me a chance and I started with them on the

When that tour ended, I discovered that Ian Jeffrey, the

Highway To Hell UK tour in Belfast.

monitor guy for the English Rock Ensemble, had become the

Very soon, we were in America and as the tour and the

tour manager for a little-known Australian rock band called

band were getting bigger, Peter brought in Joe Baptista as


Above: Yes on their Going For The One tour in 1977; AC/DC took Berry on the Highway To Hell.

production manager. Joe took me under his wing and lent

time in 1988 and asked if I would production manage the

me all his advance forms for the tour. In those days, the

Damaged Justice tour. I finished the AC/DC tour at L.A.

advance was all done by phone and you filled the sheets in

Forum on a Tuesday and by Wednesday I was in Ohio

by hand. I watched him do this for a few shows and he then

as Metallica’s PM. I also worked on their three-year Black

handed the job to me.

Album tour which saw them hit the big time, and in between

Joe always carried a silver briefcase but I never knew

runs I was still working for AC/DC and other bands.

what was in it until the day I began advancing. He said,

Just before all this, I went out on Ronnie James Dio’s

“You can do this; I’ll tell the guys you’ve got it. I will stay

Sacred Heart tour which is still the only tour from which I

for a few more shows and then I’m going home.” Joe

have been fired. I thank Wendy Dio for making my career

opened the briefcase and the only thing in it was a bottle of

take off because within 24 hours of being sacked I was the

Johnnie Walker whisky. That’s how I became the production

stage manager for Mötley Crüe on their Theatre Of Pain

manager for AC/DC.

tour, which led to me being PM on their next two tours. One of the most profound phone calls I ever took was


from Michael Cohl who, in my opinion, is one of the

I was on AC/DC’s payroll for several years but after a

greatest promoters in rock’n’roll history, right up there with

while, it felt like I was getting blamed for everything, even

Bill Graham. Michael and his business partner were looking

the stuff that was out of my control. I wanted to continue

to promote The Rolling Stones’ next tour and change the

doing their tours but as a freelancer, which they agreed to.

current production team. He told me that my name was on

That’s when it started to get very busy.

the list for production manager, so there I am thinking to

By then, Peter Mensch had moved on from AC/DC and

myself that a boy from Devon could be working with the

had this little band called Metallica. He called me up some

Stones. That was a real “fucking hell” moment for me.

“Joe BAPTISTA always carried a silver briefcase with him...the only thing in it was a bottle of Johnnie Walker whisky.” 03.2017 | facebook | twitter




Above: In the mid-’90s, the “boy from Devon” graduated from Metallica to The Rolling Stones.

Over the years, I’d been gaining a reputation for being

he told me that the original PM wouldn’t be coming back, so

very efficient with my tours, and Michael was looking to

if it wasn’t me, it’d be someone else. I understood and I was

make the Stones work that way from their next tour – Voodoo

OK with that. You can say whatever you want about the

Lounge – onwards.

Stones but they are in a world of their own – a different zip

My first personal encounters with the Stones came in

code altogether.

1992-93. I met Sir Mick Jagger in the Four Seasons in Los Angeles and I will never forget it. I was sitting in a chair


with my back to the door and when Mick walked in, I kid

Through working on Voodoo Lounge, I met Paul

you not, the feeling in the room changed. Mick isn’t just one

McGuinness, U2’s manager. U2 had just come off their

of rock’n’roll’s all-time greatest frontmen, he also carries a

Zoo TV tour and had hardly made any money from it. Paul

strong spiritual aura about him.

asked if I would be part of their next tour, PopMart. Due to

My interview with Keith Richards was in a different hotel.

my commitments with the Stones, I only did a few PopMart

When I got there he was playing pool with the tennis star

shows as site co-ordinator for the promoter, CPI, and it

John McEnroe. While still playing, Keith asked me to tell

was a little strange because I felt as if I was treated as an

him a bit about myself. When I mentioned AC/DC, Keith

outsider. I wasn’t allowed to eat in tour catering – I had to

stopped playing, looked at me and said, “I love AC/DC,

eat in local catering – I wasn’t given an all access pass.

they are the best and if you work for them then that’s good

There was no malice about it at all; it was just a bit weird.

enough for me, you’re in.”

The Stones and U2 tours fitted in with each other

From that moment, I was accepted into the Stones’ family

nicely. I did U2’s Elevation tour in 2001 as co-production

and had to turn down an offer to be Michael Jackson’s

manager with Steve Iredale. Steve and I had a fantastic

production manager when the Stones put me on a retainer.

understanding; we kind of drew a line in the sand without

However, I did have one concern. I was a bit upset that I

realising it and just went about doing a good job.

was taking a gig away from someone else; it didn’t sit well

The hardest decision I have ever had to make in my

with me. When I explained my concerns to Michael Cohl,

career was choosing between the Stones and U2 when their

03.2017 | facebook | twitter




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“The hardest decision I have ever had to make in my career was choosing between the Stones and U2 when their tours collided.”

tours collided. Although a flattering position to be in, it was


far from comfortable. In the end, moving over to U2 mostly

I was in the Live Nation office one day when a U2 tour

came down to money. Michael Cohl was very upset but

got put back. Live Nation had just brought a share in the

was appeased to some degree by my recommendation of

electronic dance event company, Insomniac, and Craig

Dale ‘Opie’ Skjerseth, who had followed me on AC/DC. I

Evans [the SVP of Live Nation Global Operations] asked if I

stayed for a few shows to help with the transition and it all

fancied consulting for them on the Electric Daisy Carnival in

worked out because Opie and I share the same work ethic.

Las Vegas. I had already dipped my toe in the EDM market

Your personal work ethic has a lot to do with how you

and I was happy to do that Vegas show in 2013. We

were brought up. Growing up in Devon, I had to work hard

made it more organised and saved a lot of money on labour

for everything and I enjoyed it. When I first worked for AC/

and vendors.

DC, I was their production manager, production assistant

It was a fantastic experience that I really enjoyed and I

and stage manager, and I also helped with security. You

still consult for them now. What I really like about the EDM

had to do it all back then. Today, the corporate element has

market is that it takes us back to the ’80s and ’90s when

taken over to the point where as a production manager you

there were big productions, and you could put your stamp

must spend more time in your office on spreadsheets, and

on it and contribute.

you just don’t have the time to go out on the floor anymore.

Modern-day touring has become so corporate – you can

In the ’70s, you could advance a show with a payphone;

still contribute but nowhere near as much as you could 20 or

you need 21 phone lines to do the same task nowadays.

30 years ago.

03.2017 | facebook | twitter


Electric Daisy Carnival. Below: Berry (right) at Tour Link with Phay MacMahon.

I love what I do but I have worked hard for it and you don’t get to be at the top of your game without making sacrifices. In my view, I am not the best, I’m the second best which means I still have something to aim for. Rock’n’roll touring is not about one person, it’s all about teamwork. The most important words you need to learn in this business are “I’ll get back to you” – if you don’t know the answer you can just buy some time that way, rather than making a fool of yourself. When people ask me how they can get into the industry, I tell them that they are about 20 years too late. It has

coming production managers, riggers and, in fact, everyone

changed so much compared to the period when we were

in the industry. The people I brought through into that

breaking new ground as pioneers. Unfortunately, those days

environment have all gone on to be very successful, so never

are long gone but there are still plenty of opportunities,

underestimate what those types of shows can do for your

especially if you look at the smaller productions.


For some time, I toured with a lot of kids’ shows like ‘Barney The Purple Dinosaur’ and ‘Bob The Builder’, and

Photography by David Jansen, Mark Fisher, Insomniac Events,

that kind of thing is a great training ground for up and

Graham Brown, Ralph Larmann/RMP, Shelby Cude,

03.2017 | facebook | twitter

35 Years


d&b is 35. Vier is d&b.

Werner ‘Vier’ Bayer is a Product Manager at d&b. He’s been on board since day one. “You dream of being somewhere, and then… most of it comes true. d&b is my life. Full of lunatics.” In 35 years d&b has evolved from a small garage venture to a worldwide standard in professional sound systems. It’s people like Vier who make this story possible, and just that bit different from the rest.

Welcome to System reality.





he Oxford English Dictionary defines the term ‘kinetic’ as “relating to or from motion of a work of art, depending on movement for its effect.” Currently

touring the world with the Red Hot Chili Peppers on their

Getaway Tour, the extraordinary much talked about state-ofthe-art kinetic lighting rig certainly lives up to that definition, creating a cornucopia of waves, shapes and effects that take the show experience out across the audience, while at the same time raising the bar for concert design. A fan of kinetic sculpture, Scott Holthaus, the Chili Peppers’ long-time production and lighting designer, had been looking for a way to integrate it into a touring concert design. “I have some kinetic sculptures in my home and I really like them for their visual substance,” he said. “My wife and I came across a video of a German company that makes variable-control winches. It was then that I realised that it would be possible to create something on a bigger scale. The great thing about my working relationship with the band [frontman Anthony Kiedis, bassist Flea, drummer Chad Smith and guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, who became a full member in 2010] is the artistic and design freedom they give me to constantly come up with ideas, to which they’ll either say ’yes’ or ‘no’. My drive as a designer is to break down the divide between the audience and the artist.” Taking the video clip to Tait, Holthaus was surprised to discover that the company had already developed a similar concept – the Cadillac project for the 2015 North American

Auto Show – albeit it on a much smaller scale. The concept is based around Tait’s Nano Winch system which, according to Tait’s head of project management, Brian Levine, was two years in development. While the Cadillac project incorporated only 50 polished spheres attached to the Nano Winch system, Holthaus had the vision of using more than 840 cylindrical spheres, effectively creating the largest automated light installation in the touring industry.


The creation of the cylinders was a detailed process.

crowd with the rig extending from the upstage video wall to

Each tube is constructed of polycarbonate and weighs 5lbs,

halfway out into arenas such as the O2 in London, where

which fits comfortably within the Nano Winch 10lb limit.

Load-In caught up with the tour. The fixtures themselves move

To overcome a significant obstacle, the tubes were

vertically at 10 feet per second, with the cylinders constantly

custom made with pigment injected

changing colour and configuration,

plastic. Holthaus’s desire was to have

and adding an immersive, 3D flavour

the cylinders turn black so that virtual

to complement the Chili Peppers’ funky

invisibility could be achieved at times.


The problem was getting the LED lights to

The system itself is controlled by Tait’s

be punchy enough to shine through the

Navigator software automation system

dark pigment. Eventually, a compromise

which Holthaus described as the “brain

was reached that allowed them to be

and the mother” of the kinetic rig’s overall

dark at the cost of the brightness of the other colours in the

movement, with cues actioned through one of two Catalyst


media servers.

When completed, the resulting lighting rig was something

Production manager Narci Martinez and the band’s

to behold. The LED cylinders are suspended above the

manager Peter Mensch of Q-Prime were both involved

03.2017 | facebook | twitter


alongside Holthaus in the overall production design and

and Clay Paky B-EYE K20s on the upstage area, housed on

its development. The collective collaboration resulted in

11 16” torms, while additional B-EYEs are on the floor.

a concept that totally fits with the band’s style and the

Two stage side trusses accommodate PRG Bad Boys that

expectations of their loyal fans.

are operated via the PRG’s Ground Control system (refer

to Load-In issue 5 for an in-depth profile) with the control INTRICACY

located behind the back curtain.

Although the kinetic sculpture is the production’s focal point,

Surprisingly, despite the size and intricacy of the rig,

it’s by no means the only lighting element in the show, even

load-in is running around the five-hour mark for the whole

if Holthaus specified only a third of the ‘traditional’ fixtures

production with load-out taking an average of two and a

that the band would normally take on the road.

half hours. It’s a credit to the crew Martinez has assembled,

The grandMA2-driven lighting package has been

along with his long-established work ethic, that everyone

supplied by Nashville-based Premier Global Production and

gets involved with all aspects of the tour, even to the point

includes a selection of Ayrton MagicBlade-Rs, Solaris Flares

where the production office staff assist with the load-out by

“The band are great towork for;they have a fun vibe and it’s extremely important that the crew feelthat aswell.” 03.2017 | facebook | twitter


Above left: Production & lighting designer Scott Holthaus.

loading the first few trucks, leaving the rest of the production

When I looked at it I realised the on/off ramp was being

staff on the floor, getting the stage rolled.

placed over the stairs, leaving only one route on and off

“It’s really important to me that all the crew feel happy

stage,” recalled Sharpling.

and successful. The band are great to work for; they have a

“I moved the ramp slightly to the right, exposing some of

fun vibe and it’s extremely important that the crew feel that

the stairs, so you now have two routes that allow the crew to

as well,” said Martinez.

work more quickly. Sometimes, things are so obvious that it takes a bit of time for you to see them.”


Working alongside Dannemann and Sharpling are

This attitude ensures that Martinez has the right people

head carpenter Scott ‘Yogi’ Badeau and his departmental

around him like, for instance, veteran stage manager Phillip

colleague Joshua Perree.

‘Big Daddy’ Dannemann and his right-hand man Clifford

Said Badeau: “Being part of a big team, you can’t have

Sharpling. “I was away from the tour for a while and

your gig blinders on – you’ve got to look out for each other.

Clifford took over, which I was more than happy about,”

It’s a tight set up out here with not much gap between FOH

Danneman commented. “I trust him and he does a great job,

and where the Nanos end.

it is very important that I have people around me that I can

“Depending on the venue and the day, we may have to

rely upon.”

move things around a bit. Luckily, we have been to the most

Talking to Sharpling during the day, it was obvious that

of the venues on this run so we have the knowledge and

Danneman’s trust was well-placed as he was constantly

experience of what we can and can’t do. For me, having

looking for ways to make the stage process smoother.

that knowledge is a huge advantage and it was taught to

“Moving the gear on and off stage was taking a bit of time.

me by a great mentor of mine, Tim Ducker, who worked at

03.2017 | facebook | twitter


Above right: Head carpenter Scott ‘Yogi’ Badeau and stage risers carpenter Joshua Perree.

a local venue alongside me. He showed me how to do this

content design that was colourful, humorous and at times

business the right way.”

bordering on lucid psychedelia. The whole process sat well

with the band’s reputation for fun and spectacle.


The content aspect on show day is piloted at front of

Adding to the overall visual content are four rectangular ROE

house by video operator Leif Dixon.

Visual Linx SMD 9mm video screens – each measuring 12’

Taking care of the live I-Mag cut, Elizando sits behind a

wide x 20’ high – that are supplied by Colonel Tom Touring.

mid-sized Ross Carbonite Black 3S switcher. Joining the tour

Completely plastic, they are positioned on the back wall

fresh from working on the CGI filming for the Halo gaming

and move during the show either as four independent units

franchise, Elizando’s team uses nine cameras, including

or one large screen when moved together.

three manned Sony HSC 300s and two Sony robo-cams

The video content was supplied by Montréal’s Moment

and the rest are Marshall lipstick cameras, used to good

Factory and their team of creative director Jesse Lee Stout,

effect around the drum kit.

producer Daniel Jean and multimedia director Mariano

The Chili Peppers’ reluctance to stick to the same set

Leotta. The services of TV producer and editor David Hughes

every night means that the video director calls the show

and his team at Million Monkeys, whose credits include

manually at each show. A veteran of three previous RHCP

‘Beavis And Butthead’, ‘Celebrity Death Match’ and his own

tours, Elizando enjoys the atmosphere created on this tour

MTV show, ‘Off The Air’, were also called upon.

which, he admits, comes from the band and Martinez.

The team built a 3D visualizer incorporating an Oculus

“I may have been in the business for nearly 20 years,

Rift virtual reality system, which immerses the viewer inside

but I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for the great

self-constructed VR worlds. Hughes and his team created a

crews and production managers I have worked with,” he

03.2017 | facebook | twitter


said. “They are the driving force making shit happen daily. I

Vanderwall reported that the large span of LED used

just come in and cut it. Being a video director is like playing

for the visuals posed a familiar problem on the tour. He

chess – I’m not thinking about the current shot on screen

explained: “Being so close to the band, the video screen

because my mind is constantly focused on the next five to

makes for an unfriendly RF environment. Between antenna

10 shots that I want.”

placement and RF scanner use, however, the situation is very manageable.”

MONITOR COMBO Close to video world at stage left, monitor engineer Mark


Vanderwall presides over an DiGiCo SD10 and runs 48

Kicking off on September 1st at Budapest Sports Arena in

channels from the stage and an additional 16 for effects

Hungary, the first European leg featured an L’Acoustics PA

and talkbacks.

supplied by Czech rental company High Lite Touring.

The band are on Shure PSM1000 IEMs with Future Sonics ear moulds, although guitarist Josh Klinghoffer prefers the old school wedge approach, not that there’s anything dated about SDW ‘super wedge’ supplied by FOH engineer David ‘Dave Rat’ Levine’s Rat Sound Systems. “It’s effectively an extension guitar cabinet and monitor wedge in one,” informed Vanderwall. For Chad Smith’s drum sub, I am using Dave’s new 21” super sub with a thumper for extended low end response. We pretty much use a full in-ear system with wedges so that anyone can remove their ear moulds and still hear a good mix if an IEM problem arises, or simply out of choice. “Even though he’s on in-ears, ’AK’ [singer Anthony Kiedis, an Audix OM7 mix user] has L’Acoustics ARCs for side fills and a couple of Rat Sound 2 x 15” L-Wedges in front of him just to deliver the raw band sound.”

“The band don’t look at what they are playing,they just know THEIR GIg.It’s the same with me – I know what my board can do and I don’t need it to be labelled.” 03.2017 | facebook | twitter




Production Manager Narciso Martinez Production Co-ordinator Luke Bell Production Assistant Jason Pepper Tour Accountant Timothy Duffy Security Joseph Burke Backstage Co-ordinator Lyssa Bloom Backstage Assistant Joanne Conaty Stage Managers Philip Dannemann Clifford Sharpling Audio High Lite Touring Rat Sound FOH Engineer David Levine a.k.a. Dave Rat Systems Technician Jim Lockyer Monitor Engineer Mark Vanderwall FOH Technician James Lockyer Monitor Technician Takayuki Nakai ProTools Engineer Jason Gossman Audio Crew Radek Lesa (chief) Jakub Skrinair Marian Musil Kvetoslav Balsan Backline Technicians Tracy Robar • Ian Sheppard Christopher Warren Daniel Norris Lighting Premier Global Productions Lighting Director Scott Holthaus Lighting Crew Jason Henry (chief) Cort Lawrence Greg Nunz • Ryan Sclavi Mark Liatos Video Colonel Tom Touring Video Content Moment Factory Video Director George Elizando Video Operator Leif Dixon Video Engineer Roy Fountain Cameras Scott Lutton




Nicholas Weldon Stephen Gray Tyler Raphalian Staging Tait Carpenters Scott Badeau (head) Joshua Perree Riggers Gabriel Wood (head) Charles Anderson Automation Operator Paul Sapsis Automation McLane Snow • Dan Porter Chris Butterfeild Nano Grid Carps Russell Macias Timothy Woo Matthew Medina Olu Kiara Electrician Tom Delbaere Power The Power Shop Freight Xpeditious Unlimited Catering Sarah’s Kitchen Rockpool Tour Catering Band Chefs Tanya Collyer • Stuart Jackson Head Caterer Victoria Lee Caterers Sarah Nicholas Joseph Shanks Anne-Marie Summers Richard Irving • Gordon Watt Trucking Transam Truck Drivers Dave Cole (lead) Rob Campbell Rob Holder • Mike Emery Kevin Barnes Paul Brierly Bryan Taplin • Daniel Perry Rachel Shadwick Steven Pearce Richard Crooks Tony Allard • Gary Fleming Julian Maynell David Petty Buses Beat The Street Bus Drivers Michael McCartney (lead) Lloyd Brown • Ingolf Goebel Brenton Andriske Jeroen Hendrickx Thomas Berg

Above left: Dave Rat with daughter Madeline Keyes-Levine. Right: System tech Jim Lockyer. Below: Midas H3000 at FOH.

The main system comprises 14 K1 cabinets with six K2s underhung per side; the first side hang comprises two K1s and 14 K2s per side, while the second features 12 Kara boxes per side. An additional two ARCS II boxes per side were flown for in-fill, while front fill comprises 12 Kara boxes. The low end is handled by 36 KS28 subs, 12 each left and right, placed around the stage. Amplification is provided by 60 LA8 and 13 LA12X units with the amp racks flown within the arrays and cables dropping down from a 7m truss to the offstage area. FOH control was supplied independently by Rat Sound and the centrepiece was a Midas Heritage 3000 console in an unconventional side-on position, facing the audience rather than the stage. Levine, who has been with the band | facebook | twitter


Right: Stage manager Phillip ‘Big Daddy’ Dannemann and drum tech Christopher Warren.

since 1991, explained that this console position allows him to walk to front of the barrier to hear and feel the band. With no labelling on his console, his approach to mixing is instinctive. “The band don’t look at what they are playing, they just know their gig,” he said. “It’s the same with me – I know what my board can do and I don’t need it to be labelled.” Another benefit of this position is that it enables Levine to have constant visual access to his rack which is located at a 90° angle at the foot of the console and contains gates and compressors such as several BSS DPR-404


I N F O @ R O C K P O O LT O U R C AT E R I N G . C O M


+44 (0) 7912964100

W W W . R O C K P O O LT O U R C AT E R I N G . C O M




W E L O V E F O O D, M U S I C & PA R T I E S

quad comp/de-essers, a Lexicon PCM60 for digital reverb


and vocals, an Eventide H3500 ultraharmonizer and an Empirical Labs EL7 Fatso Jr analogue tape simulator. The entire day spent with this crew was a pleasure. These highly skilled and seasoned road warriors are not only at the top of their game, but their collective demeanour showed how crews can come together to create something greater than the sum of its parts. Starting from the band and amplified downwards by Martinez’s positive approach, the tour feels more like a fun road trip with a bunch of like-minded people. Their collective professionalism is as outstanding as it is stealth-like in nature, which just goes to prove that when you have a great crew working for a band of this stature, you can’t help but deliver an incredible show. Photography by Tony Bloomfield, Tim Bugbee, Nev Rimes, Tait & Derek Robertson.

03.2017 | facebook | twitter


Join in at


TEENAGE WASTELAND IN THE VALLEY Mark Cunningham recalls the day his hearing took a turn for the worse.


ne of my school friends was called Alistair. He

after school; Nan adored his constantly smiling, angelic

was a short, upbeat and quite unusual Geordie

face while Grandad praised his impeccable manners.

boy who wore a Brylcreemed barnet and a

Alistair wasn’t the sort of lad one would readily associate

gabardine coat that would have been the height of fashion

with rock’n’roll but he had somehow forged a link with the

in the ‘50s but was now strikingly out of sync with the times.

Curbishleys, the famous music business and football family

I sometimes took him with me to my grandparents’ house

who originated from Canning Town and Plaistow in east London. Alan Curbishley, an ex-pupil at our school, Trinity, had recently signed up as a West Ham United player, while brother Bill was The Who’s manager.

This not inconsiderable piece of trivia emerged when

Alistair asked if I’d like to help him make some badges in a house off the Barking Road, one afternoon. It seemed a little odd but I went along with him all the same, especially as there was the promise of a few quid, not to mention a portion of fish’n’chips.

I soon learned that the badges were to be part of

The Who’s merchandise at some forthcoming concerts.

03.2017 || facebook facebook || twitter twitter


The main man in charge of this little operation was Bill Curbishley’s brother Alfie who was given a concession to make some of the ‘swag’, a few of the items being themed around the band’s latest album, The Who By Numbers. Inside the house, one of the rooms had been refashioned as a micro factory, with several people on a small and quite bizarre production line. We joined in the light-hearted fun as the badges dropped off the end of the long table into a large cardboard box. (I may have slipped one into my pocket as a keepsake.) At the end of the day, someone gave each of us a modest amount of cash and offered the bonus

Outlaws, Little Feat and the Sensational Alex Harvey Band

of a free (£4.00) ticket for The Who’s concert at The Valley,

were really on the money. The SAHB had been eye-popping

home of then Second Division football team Charlton

from the moment they hit the stage.

Athletic, on May 31st, a Bank Holiday Monday.

My only gripe was that their set failed to include both

Having been into The Who since I’d first heard Tommy

‘Boston Tea Party’, their new single, and their brilliant cover

and Who’s Next a few years earlier, I was extremely

of ‘Delilah’.

grateful. Alistair accepted his ticket but was less enthusiastic.

The other not-so-great aspect was that at the end of a

When we left the house, he said that he was chuffed

month known for its 24-28°C temperatures (with the hottest

that I’d taken him with me to see the Stones at Earls Court

British summer and drought just on the horizon), it was the

a week earlier but wasn’t really into live music as much as

only day in recent memory to witness rainfall, although it

I was. In return for that favour, he gave me his Who ticket,

was mostly overcast, hence the free sun visor inside the

allowing me to invite Graham, an old junior school friend

‘Bellboy’ souvenir programme remained unused. Mustn’t

who had moved away. Gra’ could hardly believe his luck.

grumble, though – the promise of seeing The Who for the first time was off the scale of excitement.

OFF THE SCALE As well as The Who, the rest of the bill was also strong. We


missed Widowmaker, the outfit fronted by The Love Affair’s

Moonie’s legendary character was upheld by his fiery

Steve Ellis, and although I don’t remember much about

drumming style and cheeky humour. I recall him spouting

Streetwalkers (featuring Family’s Roger Chapman) or The

forth in his fake posh accent when he introduced ‘Squeeze

03.2017 | facebook | twitter


As production manager, Wiggy was working

alongside Norman Perry (Stage Manager), Bob Pridden (Sound Engineer), Dick Hayes (Sound Engineer), Alan Smith (Sound Engineer/Guitar Technician, Mick Double (Drum Technician), Alan Rogan (Guitar Technician), Bill Harrison (Bass Technician), Roger Searle (LD), Tony Haslam (Lighting Technician), Jim Hubbard (Lighting Technician) and Richard Ames (Production Assistant and author of the Grateful Dead piece in Load-In’s last issue).

“It wasn’t like the James Bond films; these lasers wouldn’t actually killyou.”

SUPER HEROES According to biographer Richard Barnes, Charlton ’76 was “one of rock’s greatest and most climactic moments”, thus disagreeing with Pete

Box’, but in their own distinctive ways

Townshend’s claim that it was not one

Townshend, Daltrey and Entwistle were as

of The Who’s better performances. I

much of a revelation.

take Barnes’s side on this one, because

Although the band only included a couple

amidst the scuffles in the crowd, the bottle

of songs from the new album, they did

throwing and the balloons, The Who

play a half hour selection from Tommy and

were super heroes to me on this inclement

a contender for my favourite Who song,


‘Behind Blue Eyes’, but nothing prepared me for the closing number. This was my first experience of lasers. Appearing in the middle section of ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’, the effect was staggering. Many years later, I would meet the man responsible for bringing lasers into The Who’s arsenal – John ‘Wiggy’ Wolff – who took the time to explain how it all worked. It wasn’t like the James Bond films; these lasers wouldn’t actually kill you. Or so I was led to believe.

03.2017 | facebook | twitter


Annoyingly, the legacy of Charlton, for me, was its

stadium. Consequently, when I returned to school,

long-term effect on my hearing. For most of the gig, I was

I was struggling to catch my history teacher’s words

foolishly standing about 30 feet back from the front of the

as he waxed lyrical about Napoleon. Struggling so hard, in

stage left PA wing and although the sound quality was

fact, that I was forced to move to the front of the classroom.

crystal clear, as the show progressed I noticed that my

Coming in my early teens, this was the first of countless

hearing started to crackle and distort.

‘audio hangovers’ I would suffer over a lifetime. It was

This happened to be the concert that saw The Who

only rock’n’roll, we thought, and very much part of the gig

break the Guinness World Record for Loudest Concert


Performance. Costing £7,000 to rent for the Charlton show

There were no rules, no guidelines about protecting one’s

alone, the 76,000 watt Tasco PA system was driven by 80

precious hearing. People talked about huge PA systems

800W Crown DC 300A amplifiers and 20 600W Phase

making your ears bleed and some of us would go in search

Linear 200s, producing 126dB at 32 metres (104 feet) from

of the gigs that might deliver such masochistic pleasures.

the stage. It was a record that stood for many years.

In my case, it all started with the ’orrible ’Oo.

As one might imagine, I was unwittingly doing myself considerable harm, just by standing where I was in the

Photography & archive content: Rigoberto Gruner, Mark Cunningham, Time (UK) Ltd.

NOW OPEN The UK has a major music and entertainment industry and in order to preserve that position we must ensure that major groups continue to see the UK as a starting point for European tours. The facility itself is world class and offers real life arena-sized environment for not just concert tours but TV, film, corporate events and product launches.

FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT WWW.FBNSTUDIOS.CO.UK CALL SCOTTIE +44 7789 831 615 OR EMAIL AT SCOTTIE@FBNSTUDIOS.CO.UK CALL CARL +44 7976 284 252 OR EMAIL AT CARL@FBNSTUDIOS.CO.UK Fly By Nite Rehearsal Studios Broad Ground Road, Lakeside, Redditch, B98 8YP Main Phone +44 1527 962 963 • Email

ot redro ni ot eunitn si flesti yt tsuj ton .sehcn



SONIC PROGRESSION Karrie Keyes meets AMANDA DAVIS, the engineer making the FOH sound happen for Wondaland


urrently mixing at front of house for singer-

She says: “A friend of mine cold-called churches to see if

songwriter Janelle Monáe, independent sound

any of them needed help in their audio department. When

engineer Amanda Davis started out on her

he got a reply from a church in Atlanta, he took me along

career path nine years ago after graduating from Roosevelt

for the interview and they hired both of us. I was fresh out

University with a BA in Vocal Performance.

of audio school with no experience and they asked me

Leaving the SAE Institute in Atlanta with a degree in

to be the FOH for their contemporary services. My main

Audio Technology in 2010, Davis soon discovered that

responsibility was the two services they held on Sunday

interning at local studios and teaching would not create

mornings. It was a bit of a baptism of fire, but I just took

enough income, but found herself drawn towards the area of

everything I had learned at audio school along with my

live sound production to generate another source of finance.

deep love of music and applied myself.”

03.2017 | facebook | twitter


Touring artist and Wondaland founder Janelle Monáe.

The transition towards live sound from the studio environment

One meeting later, Davis was offered the job and, as well

was not as difficult as Davis had imagined: “I was interning

as Monáe, she has mixed another Wonderland artist,

at studios, working at SAE, the church and local clubs

Roman GianArthur, and handled monitors for R. Kelly.

so I kind of blended the two disciplines. I would apply

“It was my very first time doing monitors and I was

microphone placement techniques and compression ideas

terrified!” she recalls. “Darcy Khan, a friend and mentor, put

I learned in the studio to my live gigs. I had no other

me on the gig and helped me to prepare for it. I had loads

reference points for the live situation, but being trained in the

of fun, but I prefer doing FOH.”

studio really helped me. I was learning as I was working.” It wasn’t long before the allure of mixing live sound took


hold, with Davis soon realising that this was the career she

Touring 2,000-4,000 capacity venues as well as festivals

wanted to pursue. For her, there was no looking back and

in Europe, Monáe’s live production consists of a nine-piece

her big break came when Janelle Monáe launched her

band with playback. Davis has her equipment preferences –

Wondaland label, hiring Davis as her FOH engineer.

running a total of 48 inputs, the engineer chooses between

As luck would have it, Davis knew the singer’s musical

a Yamaha PM5D or CL5 console, utilising the internal

director and tour/production manager from high school,

processing and effects. For Monáe’s vocals, she specifies a

and didn’t waste time putting her resumé under his nose.

Sennheiser SKM 5200 with an MD5235 dynamic capsule.

03.2017 | facebook | twitter


The Finest…

All Studios have: Natural daylight, production office, own lounge, kitchen, wi-fi, outside space, secure parking, ‘Eat To The Beat’ catering on request





“Janelle’s voice tends to make 1k

that I am a female FOH mixer doesn’t

ring out so I just automatically dip that

mean I have to take on their issues. I

out on the graphic. She has a good

am there to make sure the audience

mic technique and a wide range of

enjoys a great show. As my mum says,

dynamics in her voice, so I use a

‘keep the main thing the main thing’.”

compressor to just catch the peaks. The two background singers are on


Shure SM57s and stand immediately

Davis has noticed an increasing

in front of the drum kit, with no screen

number of young women choose live

between them, so we are trying to reduce as much of that unwanted spill as possible.” Davis loves the travel aspect of touring, learning and experiencing new cultures, but admits it can be tiring. “It can be very taxing on the body and, in some countries, the food is not always

“TOURING can be very taxing on the body...but I am not complaining because I am very lucky to be doing something I love to do.”

sound as a career and is often asked for advice on how to enter the industry. “It is a lot of hard work and not a glamorous life at all,” she says.

“On the job experience is the best

way to learn and don’t forget to be nice. I’ve been given a lot of jobs simply because I was pleasant to be

the best, but I am not complaining

around. It goes a long way. You’ve got

because I am very lucky to be doing

to know your stuff, but the right kind of

something I love to do.

disposition and attitude count for so much.

“Attitude is everything – if you walk into a venue with a

“If you don’t know how to deal with people and all the

chip on your shoulder then, of course, you’re not going to

different personalities you will encounter in this business, it’s

have a good day because that’s the type of energy you’re

not going to a lot of fun, and that’s is really the whole point

giving off. Just because someone has an issue with the fact

of the job.”

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Thinking. Inside the box.

Richard Bennett reports from London’s O2 Arena on a feast for all the senses.







ometimes you can’t help but feel sorry for the

screaming girls,” he admitted. “There are a couple of

humble FOH engineer. Not only do they have to

acoustic numbers in the show where I will drop it down to

push all those knobs and faders for hours during a

about 90db, and that forces the crowd to shut up. When

show, they also have to adhere to those pesky local health

Justin starts the acoustic set, you just can’t hear him but if you

and safety regulations imposed on sound pressure levels. It’s

just leave it there and don’t chase him with the volume, then

a relatively simple task, that is until your artist is Justin Bieber,

everyone begins to calm down so they can listen.”

whose legion of mostly female fans come equipped with a great set of lungs.


As Bieber’s Purpose world tour arrived for two sold-out

Throughout the show, elements come and go that not only

shows at London’s O2 Arena, these enthusiastic ‘Beliebers’

change the mood but also add some spectacular aspects

were pushing levels up to around 112db for a solid two

to an already gag-laden performance. From the sleight of


hand opening sequence that precedes the grand reveal of

Veteran FOH engineer Ken ‘Pooch’ Van Druten was

Bieber in a hydraulically-raised glass cube, right through to

ready with a few old tricks up his sleeve. “Throughout the

the dramatic routine under simulated rainfall, the show is

show, I am sitting in the 98 to 102db bracket, although I

a testament to the cutting edge elements of the respective

do consistently go a bit higher to get ahead of the 15,000


03.2017 | facebook | twitter


The production seen in the UK was a virtual replica of the design for the original North American leg during the spring and summer of 2016, and was a combination of thoughts and ideas from production manager Chris Gratton, creative director Nick DeMoura and lighting designer Cory Fitzgerald who worked with associate programmer David Martinez. The idea was to base the production around Bieber’s own concepts as expressed on his latest album, Purpose, released in November 2015. In sync with Bieber’s increasing artistic maturity, the creative and technical limits were pushed at all levels. Gratton explained: “We started with ideas based around the album’s meaning and feel. I worked with Show Group Production Services (SGPS) in Las Vegas on building the set. SGPS also supplied the rigging and automation for the tour while Nick and Cory took care of the content of the production. Splitting duties that way was a good method of working. When it came to taking it out, I was confident that it was going to come together very well, as I knew I had the best crew chiefs in the business.” The result is a spectacular combination of lights, video and over 450 special effects that keep the show flowing and constantly changing. Stage manager Timmy Doyle freely admitted that the European tour ran smoothly, except for the usual European access issues, including how to get 25 trucks full of gear into the building without causing any disruption to the work flow. Sammy Herrington, who heads a team of six carpenters, said: “There are things that you need to be aware of when we roll the stage in every day. The sheer amount of elements, effects, automation and trap doors on that thing mean it can take time to get it in place.” The automation for the aerial stunts relies on a team led by Jeremiah Anderson as well as head rigger Ryan ‘Rylo’ Merfy and his crew. With 160 rigging points in

03.2017 | facebook | twitter


place there is plenty of space on the trusses to set up an impressive automation system. This springs into life as soon as the show takes off, with the glass cube gag. Other elements for the team to deal with include the sequence for the song ‘Company’, for which a giant, suspended trampoline descends from the roof, allowing Bieber the opportunity to show off his backflip skills. With so much already happening on stage throughout the two-hour show, it is difficult to imagine any more could be accommodated, but this is a spectacle of gigantic proportions, making sure that the Strictly FX team led by crew chief Rob Bleggi have their work cut out. From laser systems and CO2 jets, to the grand and rather wet finale of the man-made rain shower, the visuals remain consistently stunning. Arguably, the pyro waterfall and ‘rainstorm’ steal the show, both visually and technically. The rain stunt, for which Mirage WaterWorks drops more than 850 gallons of water (warmed up by external heaters

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in advance) on to Bieber and his dancers is extremely

in the show. With so many people on stage at any one

impressive from any angle in the arena.

time, the safety aspect of the use of lasers is always on

Appearing for the song ‘Sorry’, the show’s encore, the

Curry’s mind. Therefore, a three-way visual check is ongoing

water build-up on the stage also adds its own effect in the form of creating splashes when Bieber and co. jump up and down during the dance routine. The problem of how to make sure the water didn’t drip on to the under-stage electronics is overcome with a simple inflatable paddling pool which acts as

throughout the performance – with one

Drew’s team deliver an impressive and vitalaspect to the overall look of the production.

an overflow reservoir. This really is quite

crew member at the side of the stage and two at the back – to ensure that everyone is clear before the buttons are pushed. VIDEO International production rental company VER provides an extensive range of

something to see in action.

services on this tour. As well as audio and lighting, the firm

Technician Nick Curry operates a vast battery of lasers

also handles the bulk of the video hardware. Video director

to give the production an authentic EDM feel at key points

Mike Drew and his team are working with some of today’s

03.2017 | facebook | twitter


most in-demand technology, including a video

Productions, is run through a d3 Technologies

ramp covered with WinVision Air 9mm LED

media server, which Drew claimed is “one of

tiles as well as an upstage wall of WinVision

the most powerful servers I have ever used.”

9375 9mm LED panels.

At the O2, while Drew cut the show on his

Partnering on the video supply is PRG,

favourite switcher, a Ross Vision 3-ME HD, his

whose 16 V-Thru 28mm panels, chosen for

camera operators used six Sony HXC-100s

their transparency, are placed in an octagon

with Fujinon lenses, along with three Panasonic

formation on the B-stage thrust. The effect when

HE-120K robo-cams that covered the onstage

these panels came into action is outstanding.

area. The team also used four Barco HDX-20K

During an early number, ‘I’ll Show You’, the

projectors in conjunction with the I-Mag screens

panels are lowered down to encase Bieber

that translated the full-blown Bieber experience

with video content projected on to them while

to the fans at the far reaches of the venue.

the star is still totally visible to the audience.

Drew’s team deliver an impressive and vital

The video content, created by Nick

aspect to the overall look of the production,

DeMoura and the team from L.A.’s Possible

which is not always easy to achieve,

03.2017 | facebook | twitter


particularly when you have several

“This tour has been pretty smooth

dancers suspended from the roof,

all round,” said Van Nostrand. “Our

twisting and turning in front of your

only challenge has been related to the

video wall.

spotlights. Many shows are getting

bigger and moving further into the


audience these days. The allocated

Occupying FOH with Pooch is

spot positions in most venues are

touring lighting director Nick Van

great if your stage is flat and you have

Nostrand who pilots the original

nothing over the audience.

design created by Cory Fitzgerald

“However, as soon as you add

with David Martinez. Also in the hot

a three-storey stage, trampolines,

seat for Believe, Bieber’s previous tour,

audience trusses and flying gags,

Van Nostrand is not only familiar with

you have your work cut out. I’ve yet

what the artist wants but also his style

to utilise any of the ‘remote operator’

of working.

spotlight systems, but I can’t wait


because it’s the perfect solution for so many shows out there

(lighting inside the octagon and for the water curtain) and

and the technology is becoming very refined.”

Robe BMFLs (equipped with handles and used as DMX truss

For Purpose, Van Nostrand has been working with a


diverse array of around 670 individual lights, including Clay

All of the lighting elements are controlled by Van

Paky A.leda B-EYE K20s (primary LED wash fixtures), Clay

Nostrand through a grandMA2 console, specified and

Paky Mythos (primary spot fixtures), Ayrton MagicBlade-Rs

programmed in advance by Fitzgerald. “I rely very heavily

(surrounding the peaked video wall), Ayrton MagicDots (built

on the grandMA2 remote which connects to the console in

into the trampoline frame), Ayrton VersaPix (built into racks

dimmer world and allows me to focus all lift specials, key

that hung on the front of the stage and thrust trusses), Philips

light and stage washes from the stage. I spent what seemed

Vari-Lite 4k BeamWashes (aerial effects and key lighting)

like a thousand years trying different antenna and hardware

and Solaris LED Flares (a strobe/blinder combo).

combinations, before finally building a wireless rig that’s

Offering a high output from its compact body, the Robe

flawless 100% of the time… well, give or take 20%.”

Pointe was also specified as the primary beam fixture.

Ever the perfectionist, Van Nostrand keeps a close eye

Other equipment in use include Solaris Mozarts (integrated

on the spots during the support act performance to make

lighting into the glass cube), GLP Impression X4 Bar 20s

sure there are no problems. During the changeover, he will

03.2017 | facebook | twitter


test some key pieces and chat with the spot operators one

Pooch runs 125 outputs on his DiGiCo SD7 at FOH,

last time before starting the show.

with 24 channels alone reserved for the drums. “We have a SD7 at front of house and in monitor world – it’s by far


my favourite desk,” he said. “For me the front end of the

VER’s audio package combines 32 Meyer Sound Leo-M

desk is really transparent, so when you make mic choices

series and 54 Lyon cabinets along with 24 1100-LFC (Low-

specifically for individual instruments the SD7 really makes

Frequency Control) bass elements distributed in both flown

them shine. You get back exactly what you put in to it and

and ground-stacked formats. Galileo Callisto 616 array

the summing aspects of the desk are also very impressive.

processors provide the system’s loudspeaker management.

“When I’m recording Justin’s show, I get it all down on

The choice of Meyer originally came out of a suggestion

a [relatively inexpensive] Cockos Reaper DAW through

by Chris Gratton after his positive experience of the Leo

a Waves DiGiGrid MGB interface. I’m the ultimate

series on an Ariana Grande tour. “It’s giving us the sound we

Waves poster boy – a massive fan of their products. The

want consistently from show to show, and it’s ready to go

incorporation of Waves and the SD7, particularly on the

in a tight time frame,” said our man at front of house, Ken

compressors I use, is also a very important factor for me as

‘Pooch’ Van Druten.

an engineer.”

03.2017 | facebook | twitter


Left: In the Bieber production office with production assistant Eric Johnson, production manager Chris Gratton, stage manager Timmy Doyle and Gratton’s PA Jessica Sheehan. Right: Security crew – Jose Ibarra, Anthony ‘Loc’ Cruz & Chris ‘Hawk’ Louden.

Left: The lighting crew – (back row) Matt Butler, Jessica LaPoint, Ty Brooks, Edgar Serrano & Matthew LeVine; (front row) David ‘Boots’ Callan, Nick Van Nostrand, Kevin Parsley & Eric Marshall. Right: ‘Boots’, primed to pounce.

Left: The noize boys – (back row) Ken Van Druten, Frank Peoples, Brett Stec, Christopher Rushin & Alex Macleod; (front row) Chase Usry, Kyle Bazinet and Austin Dudley. Right: The automation crew – Mike Williams, Trey Welch, Jeremiah Anderson, Joshua Brewer. Andrew Johnstone & Jeremy Sorensen.


Left: The video crew – (back row) Colton Carroll, Nate Fountain, Kyle Brinkman, Mike Drew, Sean Harper & Dylan Taylor; (front row) Jerry Rodgers, David Vega & Austin Wavra. Right: The carps – Ryan Snyder, Chase Paulino, Corwin Scites, Jared Letzt, Trev Cromwell, Sammy Herrington & Dru Biba.

Left: The pyro crew – (back row) David Yarbrough & Ron Bleggi; (front row) Nick Curry, Ciro D’Antuono, Eddie Romack & Anthony Alaimo. Right: The backline crew – L. Bowens, Ruff Stewart, Matthew Hunter & Dylan Ely.

Left: The combined wardrobe and dressing room teams – Jennifer Jones, Kiyomi Hara & Lesley Mortimer-Wallace. Right: Bieber’s stage clobber.


Just as crucial to this job is Pooch’s understanding of the

also had to be a model that didn’t get too much bleed from

artist’s audience demographic, enabling him to perfect a

the PA when Justin sings in front of it, which he does a lot.

mix that meets their expectations. He explained: “There are

Robustness was another desirable quality because he drops

two different types of Bieber fan. Firstly, there’s the fan who

the mic every night as part of his gig.”

has been with him since the start of his career. They are

Pooch also praised the Meyer PA for its part in the overall

more concerned with whether he takes his shirt

vocal sound. “I suspect one reason for it is

off than what his show is sounding like.

that Leo and Lyon are two-way boxes. With

“Then you have the slightly older fans who

the three-way systems you have an upper

have only got into Justin on the back of the

crossover point right where you want to put

recent album. This new material is way more

the meat of the vocal, and sometimes that can

mature than his usual kiddie pop stuff and

make it difficult to make your vocal really pop.

these new converts want to hear the songs

With the Meyer system you don’t have that

reproduced faithfully.”

problem because the one crossover is below

Capturing the source is, therefore, vital to

where you’re working with vocals.”

the end result and Pooch went to great lengths

to find the right microphone for Bieber’s voice

Telefunken mics are also on duty for the

live instruments, explained Pooch. “We have

and stage performance. After auditioning a wide range of

two different drum kits, one that Justin plays, and we use

brands and mic types, including headset mics, the engineer

Telefunken dynamic M82s for the kick drums and M80s on

finally settled on a Telefunken M80. “There were a number

the snares [top and bottom], with M60 condensers on hi-

of factors. The sound quality was a big one, of course, but it

hats and rides.”

“This new material is way more mature than his usual kiddie pop stuff and these new converts want to hear the songs reproduced faithfully.” 03.2017 | facebook | twitter


SPIDERS ALL OVER THE WEB w w w. s p i i d e r.c z


RADIO WAVES At the opposite end of the O2’s auditorium, positioned under the stage, monitor engineer Alex Macleod was manning another SD7 console and stated that onstage




communication was his main reason for running more than 40 outputs. Each member of the band, the dancers and the stage techs are on Jerry Harvey in-ears with Shure PSM1000 monitoring systems. All of the wireless transmission is managed on tour by a Shure Axient system. “A decision was made at the start of the tour that it was important for everyone on stage to be in contact with each other,” explained Macleod. “The theory behind it was that it would keep the routines and interactions tight, hence why I have so many outputs going on. Justin sometimes takes his in-ears out for a whole song so we have four d&b audiotechnik M2 wedges on stage and four more on the B-stage, as well as d&b J8 side fills, d&b V-Subs and L’Acoustics DV-Sub for the drum fill.” Wrapping up our backstage chat, Gratton said: “We have a lot of familiar faces on this crew, like my PA Jessica Sheehan and production assistant Eric Johnson. We also have our fair share of new faces but the crew came together and gelled really quickly, and that’s made the whole tour a real pleasure.” As Load-In mixed with the crew, it became fully evident from the buoyant mood backstage that on Gratton’s watch there is no hierarchy; everyone is there to do a job and get on with each other. In return, they are treated with the greatest respect. When you consider the length of the tour – 159 shows and counting – and the prospect of return legs in both Europe and North America later this year, that’s a nice way to be.

Production Manager Chris Gratton PA to Chris Gratton Jessica Sheehan Production Assistant Eric Johnson Stage Manager Timmy Doyle Audio, Lighting & Video VER FOH Audio Engineer Ken ‘Pooch’ Van Druten Monitor Engineer Alex Macleod Audio Crew Brett Stec • Chris Rushin Austin Dudley Chris Hoff Tyler Austin • Chase Usry Frank Peoples Lighting Director Nick Van Nostrand Lighting Crew Kevin Parsley Jessica LaPoint Matt Butler David ‘Boots’ Callan Edgar Serrano Matthew LeVine Eric Marshall Ty Brooks Video Director Mike Drew Video Crew Sean ‘Sharky’ Harper David Vega Nate ‘Buttons’ Fountain Austin Wavra Colton Carroll Kyle Brinkman Jerry Rodgers Dylan Taylor Backline Crew Ruff Stewart (crew chief) J.R. Newkirk Matthew Hunter Dylan Ely Set, Rigging & Automation SGPS / Showrig, Inc Head Carpenter Sammy Herrington Carpenters Trev Cromwell Chase Paulino Ryan Snyder

Corwin Scites Jared Letzt • Dru Biba Head Rigger Ryan ‘Rylo’ Merfy Riggers Chris Sorensen Gerard Moriarty Automation Jeremiah Anderson (crew chief) Andrew Johnstone Trey Welch Joshua Brewer Mike Williams Stuart Hart Pyro, Lasers & Special FX Strictly FX Pyrotechnicians Ron Bleggi Anthony Alaimo Nick Curry • Alex Lopez David Yarbrough Joey Atkinson Water Effects Mirage WaterWorks Wardrobe Kiyomi Hara Jennifer Jones Dressing Rooms Lesley Mortimer-Wallace V-Thru Video Panels PRG Power The Power Shop Travel Agency The Appointment Group Freight Shockwave Cargo Security Project 7 Security Group Chris ‘Hawk’ Louden Jose Ibarra Anthony ‘Loc’ Cruz Catering Eat Your Hearts Out Buses Beat The Street Trucking Stage Truck Merchandise Bravado International Passes Access Event Solutions Itineraries Knowhere

Photography by Todd Kaplan & Guy Perry

03.2017 | facebook | twitter

TOU R I N G W I T H PAS S I O N S I N C E . . .

Headoffice Austria: | | Office UK Buses: | Office UK Cars & Vans: |

“The name’s Eric.”

Lights must be controlled from sound board.

JBL Vertec is not an acceptable substitution for a line array.

Trained blue macaw in the dressing room.

The drummer is clueless and doesn’t care how you mic him.

A Kramer lookalike to introduce the band would be appreciated.

Do not under any condition plug the star’s guitar into the house console! Only the monitor console.

Large bowl of potato chips and an SM81.

Three quarter scale statue of David Hasselhoff.

Garden gnome in dressing room.

A sheep called Eric. A sheep by any other name will not suffice.

A live chicken.

Sand and inflatable palm trees in production office.

Andy Partridge in a pear tree. Gravity free environment.

A clown suit, a crossbow and a unicorn. No questions asked. OK?

One clean white female. We require a wicker basket containing the black keys from a Steinway piano (all the sad notes). Jefferson Airplane DO NOT play ‘We Built This City’. Neither is anyone to mention it to them. Absolutely no analogue or cheap digital mixer. Acceptable boards: Behringer X32. One shaved gerbil. The PA must be capable of undistorted sound at 1500db(A) at FOH. The artist does not want any crew dressed in black. Artist requires one package of magnum condoms.

Two cans of Purina Cat Chow. Twelve pairs of gym socks. Must be Maxwell House. No cheap coffee will be accepted. Two thousand boxes of Mac ’n’ Cheese for the audience to shake. A bag of gold. A small dog for the crew to play with. A sub-machine gun. Twenty international phone lines. The artist does not want to be served lasagne… does not want lasagne in catering… does not want to smell lasagne anywhere in the venue… does not want to hear the word ‘lasagne’ mentioned in his presence.

Tour riders. Just because.

Inspired by Chip Self


Spun Out



nyone who took the time to walk around the Innovation section at PLASA London 2016 would have surely been fascinated by the two metre circular device propped against the wall.

Known as the Cyclone, this ground-breaking product bears all of the quality hallmarks one has come to expect from laser specialist ER Productions. A year in development, the Cyclone is a combination of several components, including 60 300mW RGB modules with 60 high-speed X/Y Compact-506 scanners. Everything is housed on the circular unit which attaches to a ballast and spine system, whose electric motor is able to spin the unit up to 60rpm. The spine is a six-inch solid piece of metal allowing the unit to be used both vertically, horizontally and at any angle in between.

03.2017 | facebook | twitter


Right: Cyclone featured in the video for Zayn Malik’s single ‘Like I Would’.

Ryan Hagan, joint director of ER Productions, picks up the story. “A lot of time was spent on the development of the RGB laser modules and their stability for rough touring purposes,” he says. “Once that was firmly proven, we had the laser module ready to go. “Too many people are obsessed with laser power, whereas at ER we look at things a little differently – instead of having one big powerful Class 4 laser scanning a cage, we went down a route that offered 60 individual modules at Class 3 output. The operator now has 60 individual, less hazardous lasers to play with. With the technology being so small we could fit this into a fixture that spins. The spinning element adds a few challenges, like power and data transferral, which meant we had to go down the DMX protocol route.” CAGE EFFECT

wanted a laser to encompass them on a downstage centre

The concept behind the Cyclone came about when ER

riser. This encouraged Hagan and fellow director Marc

Productions was approached by The Chemical Brothers,

Webber to start thinking of different ideas of how lasers

who were preparing to head out on a world tour and

could achieve cage effects.

“We had produced a great product that produced fantastic new effects with less hazardous power.” 03.2017 | facebook | twitter


With production of the first

for the past 10 years and this

Cyclone completed, the time came to

really concreted that fact. We had

test it. Hagan comments: “We were

produced a great product that

obviously very nervous, I remember

produced fantastic new effects with

the day extremely well. We rented

less hazardous power.”

The Backstage Centre in Purfleet,

Seen on the promotional video for

Essex to really get a feel of it – we

Zayn Malik’s single ‘Like I Would’,

could rig at a 10 metre trim height

the effects produced by the Cyclone

there. Once everything was ready to

are stunning and versatile. Demand

go we fired it up and firstly tested the

is high for the two existing models

spinning of the fixture, then the lasers.

and, with a further four currently in

“Both Marc and I were very

the production line, we will all be

proud of what the company had

seeing a lot more of this innovative

achieved; it was a great moment in

product cropping up in several

ER’s history. We have been at the

touring productions.

forefront of laser show development

CYCLONE SPECS Laser Type • Diode Wavelengths • 450nm, 520nm, 650nm Beam Diameter • 1mm Beam Divergence • 0.6mrd NOHD (Nominal Ocular Hazard Distance) • 123m FX • 60 X/Y scanning pairs, rotating truss fixture Input • DMX Electrical Input • 110 to 240v Power Consumption • 5.75kW Weight • 160kg Dimensions • 2000mm x 2000mm x 1000mm

A content-rich multimedia experience, documenting the highlights of tour manager Richard Ames’ career on the road with Cockney Rebel, ELO, Wings, Kate Bush, Supertramp, Rainbow, Duran Duran, XTC, Paul Young, Frankie Miller and many others.









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Wix Wickens in 1993.

“This was Paul McCartney... this was different. I was so nervous that I smashed my thumb and bled all over his grand piano.�



Macca’s multi-instrumental MD talks exclusively to Mark Cunningham about his long and winding career


f you happened to be one of the 70,000 people who

introductory contributions as a member of the Fab One’s unit.

attended either of Sir Paul McCartney’s two sold-out

The subject of the reissue gave me the perfect opportunity to

shows as part of the Desert Trip festival last October,

explore Wix’s career for the first time since in 1993, when

you wouldn’t have failed to notice the chap behind the

I last interviewed him at length. We both agreed there was

keyboards – the one who has consistently supported the ex-

some catching up to do.

Beatle on stage for longer than any other living musician,

During a break in his touring schedule, we finally met

performing nearly 600 shows over the last 28 years.

again in the familiar territory of his north London home – the

A man of numerous talents, Paul ‘Wix’ Wickens’ brief as

comfortable oasis of domestic charm that he shares with

keyboard player and musical director of McCartney’s live

singer-songwriter wife Margo Buchanan, daughter Lily Mae

band also includes playing accordion, guitar, harmonica,

and a ProTools/Logic-based project studio.

percussion and adding backing vocals. His long-time touring

With tea freshly brewed, the affable Wix, who turned

technician Howard ‘D J’ Howes claims that he is one of the

60 last spring, led me through to the lounge where, over the

nicest guys in the business.

next two and a half hours, we pored over his entire career,

This March sees the release of a remastered version of

the many other leading artists with whom he has performed

Macca’s Flowers In The Dirt, the 1989 album that preceded

and the shows that have taken him around the world as an

his first tour in 10 years – both of which featured Wix’s

in-demand musical director.

03.2017 | facebook | twitter


Released in June 1989, Flowers In The Dirt featured songwriting collaborations between McCartney and Elvis Costello

Take me back to 1989 – how did your relationship

invited by MPL to go down to The Mill [McCartney’s Hog

with Paul begin?

Hill Mill studio in Sussex], and it was stressed that this wasn’t

That February, I went down for a play and we started

an audition but simply a chance to have a play with Paul

recording, completing the remaining numbers for Flowers In

and the guys, just to see what might happen.

The Dirt. He had a lot of other people come and play on

I’d previously turned down a few opportunities to tour

the sessions, and also involved different producers like Trevor

with bands because my studio career had taken so long to

Horn, Steve Lipson and Chris Hughes. But throughout those

develop. But this was Paul McCartney... this was different.

sessions, certainly the latter ones, Paul was looking to get a

The whole thing about arriving there and Paul walking

band together for what was to be his first tour in 10 years,

in to greet me was terribly nerve-wracking. I play hard,

and he was very careful about his choices.

especially when I play rock’n’roll, and because I was so

Robbie McIntosh and Chris Whitten had already been

nervous I smashed my thumb and bled all over his grand

working with Paul on the album, and there had been

piano which was a rather embarrassing start!

discussions about forming a live band for a tour. When the

When we got in the studio, he was calling out things

topic of keyboards was mentioned, my name was suggested

like, ‘Who knows ‘Get Back’?” As a musician, it’s one of

by two independent sources – one of them being Robbie,

those numbers that you’ve played countless times in pubs

a long-time friend with whom I’d worked on the Pretenders’

and I knew the piano solo pretty well, but playing it with

Get Close album and a bunch of other projects. So I was

Paul was amazing because it wasn’t a pub singer – the right

03.2017 | facebook | twitter


Above: The 1993 New World Tour line-up, L-R – Wix, Hamish Stuart, Blair Cunningham, the McCartneys and Robbie McIntosh.

voice was singing. That was my biggest ‘Oh my God, it’s Paul McCartney’ moment and I really had to keep myself together but I got through it. We broke a while later for tea and Paul played me some of the songs he’d been working on for the album. It was such a brilliant, eye-opening day and I hadn’t been home long before I got a call with the big question: Would you be prepared to tour with Paul if you were asked?’. My response was that I would be delighted to if I could clear the work I had committed to doing, as I didn’t want to let anyone down. It was the right thing to do and I soon began going to the studio to record some parts for Flowers

In The Dirt while intermittently rehearsing with Paul, Linda, Robbie, Hamish Stuart and Chris Whitten for the tour. We were going to play ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ and I happened to mention that as there was no keyboard part,


maybe I could play acoustic guitar for that one. Going through the song together with Paul in his kitchen was

That relationship has obviously changed

the closest I got to an audition, and I think I was able to

considerably over the years to the extent that

demonstrate that I could offer broader musical support than

it definitely has the appearance of a very tight

just keyboards.

road family.

I’m no virtuoso but I have been playing guitar since I was

You go through stuff together. Obviously Paul’s private life

11 and I can be a handy chord strummer in those situations,

is kept very private but I’ve watched his family grow up.

so it’s just been another part of my gig with Paul.

James, his son, was 11 when I first met him.

03.2017 | facebook | twitter


Going places: Wix on screen in Moscow’s Red Square, 2003; playing for the Obamas at the White House, far left, 2010.

Linda was my pal. She and I were the keyboard

to learn some pretty complex stuff. Some artists might want

department, and we spent a lot of time together figuring

to find an easier way out, but not Paul.

out what we could do between us,

On every tour we’ve done since 1989,

and what she was comfortable with.

Paul has included more and more Beatles

Linda still knew all the parts she played

and Wings numbers, some of which he’d

live with Wings and was keen to keep

never performed live before. The most

playing those, so we weaved our way

recent additions have included ‘A Hard

around each other in a very supportive

Day’s Night’ and ‘Another Girl’ [from

way and became close.

Help!] and it’s always a lovely moment

My professional relationship with Paul

when we do those ‘world firsts’, and you

is such that I might occasionally need

get that instant audience feedback.

to suggest that he listens to a certain part. Expecting any high profile artist

You’ve gained some notoriety for

to closely study an aspect of their own

reproducing famous orchestrations

music is hard because they have such

with incredible accuracy and it

busy lives and it’s probably something they don’t want to do.

appears that you have been gradually refining

But Paul really can focus and he’s happy to learn stuff in front

those sounds.

of people.

I’ve refined some and added to others. I find it very difficult

In preparing for the various tours we’ve done together,

to find modern replacements for some parts, especially the

we have pooled an astonishing number of songs from all

pop brass. Maybe due to their outputs, some of the older

eras of Paul’s career from which to choose a live set, and

modules ‘bark’ in a certain way and a software version of it

they include many that he hasn’t touched since he recorded

requires a lot of treatment to get it sounding close, but it still

them; with a lot of those songs, he’d never sung and played

doesn’t have the right character. That’s one instance where I

an instrument together at the same time. That means he has

struggle to upgrade the rig and reduce its size.

03.2017 | facebook | twitter



I have a Native Instruments B4D organ drawbar controller and then a four-channel fader pad at the left of the bottom keyboard that I can reach for and turn each of my four main outputs up in my in-ears at any time without affecting anyone else. Sometimes there’s so much going on that I don’t have the chance to quickly ask Grubby on monitors to adjust one element of my mix, so I can short circuit that with My touring rig is a gradual evolution of my original one from back in 1989, and that was built specifically to help me deal with playing a lot of different parts. I started working out how to trigger things like bass notes with foot pedals to free my hands to do other things and get

a fader move at my end. Live is live and you’ve got to be prepared.

There are some switch pedals for the Leslie

cabinets and a bunch of volume and sustain pedals. I have Roland foot pedals for bass and percussion triggers; two Apple Mac Minis run

around some of the complexities.

At the moment, I have a Kurzweil PC2

and a Yamaha Motif, and they both have some sounds coming out of them as well as being controller keyboards. There’s also a Nova analogue synth and I have a rack of modules: a Roland 1080 and 5080, a Proteus Custom, Muse Receptor unit, Akai S5000 sampler and a Studio 5 MIDI controller/splitter.

03.2017 | facebook | twitter


Main Stage is something I have been using more recently – in fact, I’ve worked on it with Apple for a couple of years to get it to do exactly what I need it to do, but so far I still haven’t managed to find a sound in software to totally replicate what I’ve achieved by blending with old gear and tweaking it myself. I’m now on my second incarnation of the ‘Eleanor Rigby’ strings and moving them into software mode. When I created my original string parts for the first tour, that was Logic Main Stage with a variety of samples and

a moment when Paul saw what I could do and I found a

instrument sounds, and everything runs through

way solving a problem for myself. At first, I wondered how

a Soundcraft Performer Si mixer.

the hell I could recreate such a legendary sound with just

two hands but after a bit of a journey I figured it out in the

Occasionally, I’ll play some acoustic and

electric guitar, going through a Line 6 Pro effects

end, triggering chords with my feet.

unit with a floor controller. It depends on what’s needed at any one time. I’m a bit of a musical

The loss of Sir George Martin last year was felt

dustbin like that. If there’s something that they

by millions, not least yourself.

can’t get round to doing between them, they’ll

George was absolutely fantastic to me over the years and

say, ‘Oh, Wix can do that!’

very generous with his support. I would get access to the

original sounds and George would very kindly let me

A couple of wireless receivers are included

for guitar and accordion. On top of all this,

look at his scores. He often came to our shows and we’d

I have a few items of hand held percussion,

have a chat afterwards with him pointing out some subtle

Hohner harmonicas and even a kazoo, all


within arm’s reach. For monitoring, I use

With something like ‘Eleanor Rigby’, it isn’t possible for

Ultimate Ears in-ear moulds but I can turn on

me to be eight string players with all their nuances, but I

some Line 6 speakers behind me if I need a little

can approximate it in such a way that it sounds quite real,

extra. I balance my own in-ear mix through the

especially with [front of house engineer] Pab Boothroyd’s

Performer Si.

genius mixing in the most difficult arenas.

Some of the things I play have to be like stage scenery.

My onstage world is completed by a pair

of microphones: a vocal mic and one for

From a distance, they look like a great tree but if you get

percussion. Have I missed anything?!

close up, you would notice that it’s not so detailed. To work

With thanks to Howard ‘DJ’ Howes & MJ Kim

at distance, some of my things have to be signature, speak loudly and get the message across, such that it preserves enough of the root vibe of the original recording.

03.2017 | facebook | twitter


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The McCartney band: Wix, Rusty Anderson, Sir Paul, Abe Laboriel Jr, Brian Ray & front of house engineer Paul ‘Pab’ Boothroyd. Inset: Sir George Martin.

You can’t approach this like you would if you were

our gig so they seeded the clouds to make sure there was

making a record – that requires a completely different way

a downpour well before showtime. Cloud busting actually

of thinking – although the latest equipment does allow for

happens! People often ask me, ‘What’s been your favourite

greater finesse.

gig?’, but it is hard to compare shows.

I’ve been fortunate to see you play with Paul in places as far flung as

Working with someone of Paul’s status opens doors. When we played the Coliseum in Rome, both inside to a group of dignitaries and

Rio, Tel Aviv, New York, Chicago and

outside to 500,000 people, they moved the

Las Vegas, but playing in Russia

election so that we could play that weekend.

for the first time in Moscow’s Red

That doesn’t happen to many people, if indeed

Square beside the Kremlin and Lenin’s mausoleum in 2003 must surely have been

anyone else. So you get to do so many of these crazy things. Another was playing ‘Michelle’ in The

one of the most exciting experiences.

White House for Michelle Obama. Each of these incidents

Oh yeah, that was special. Some weird and wacky things

are very special in their own way. It’s a far cry from The

went on there. Heavy rain was forecast for the evening of

Green Man in Brentwood.

03.2017 | facebook | twitter


When was the last time you pinched yourself?

what sold Paul on the idea of progressing the medley as

I pinch myself regularly. When we get to the end of each

the show finale. After all this time, I still love playing it – it’s

gig, we usually finish with the ‘Golden Slumbers’ / ‘Carry

a wonderful shared emotional experience for us and the

That Weight’ / ‘The End’ medley from Abbey Road, which

audience at the end of every night, and it’s fantastic to feel

is my favourite piece of Beatles music and so significant to

the power that he has.

me. I’d heard other music via my older brother and sister, but Abbey Road was the first Beatles album I discovered for

Have you suggested adding any other classics

myself. When Paul was putting his set together for that first

from Paul’s huge catalogue?

tour, I suggested that we include this incredible piece with

It’s one of those things that comes up when we’re chatting.

Robbie, Hamish and Paul dividing up the guitar solos. I’m

It sometimes takes a while for suggestions to estalish

not sure Paul was convinced but the band learned it without

themselves. ‘Helter Skelter’ was one example. As a new

him and Linda, and once we had it nailed I asked Paul if he

band in 2002, we really wanted to have a go at that

fancied trying it in rehearsal one day.

because it seriously rocked and influenced so many bands.

We staggered through it the first time and Eddie Klein,

The idea kept reappearing; Paul thought it was interesting

the ex-Abbey Road maintenance technician who later

but nothing happened until three years later when he heard

managed Paul’s studio, came out of his little room looking

us play it in soundcheck and we managed to persuade him

very misty-eyed. It really took him back and I think that’s

to try it out – it’s now a regular feature of the set.


THE VIEW FROM FRONT OF HOUSE Wix is a lovely guy to be with


calming influence and methodical

on the road and he’s seriously

in his approach to performance.

at the top of his game as a

musician. From my engineer’s

uncanny ability to put his head

perspective, it’s all about what he

into some kind of mode whereby

gives me from the stage and it’s

he can simultaneously multi-task

always correct, and of very high

between his feet, hands and


mouth. That’s a helluva skill. In

fact, there’s never been anything

It’s no surprise to me that he’s

What I love about Wix is his

held his position in this band

he can’t do and I don’t know

for so long, because he’s a very

another musician like him. | facebook | twitter



who was also the school’s music teacher. My first public

You attended Brentwood School in Essex and I

playing four-hand piano pieces with my Dad. I also played

find it fascinating that three to four years above

French horn so we would sometimes do a duet. Dad was

you were Griff Rhys Jones and the late, great

also a choirmaster and so music flowed generously in our

Douglas Adams (pictured below).


That’s right! I became big pals with Douglas after I joined

My parents played classical and religious choral music. It

appearances were at local competitions in the school hall,

Paul’s band and that’s when we

was the natural order of things. I wasn’t

discovered we had a bigger connection

particularly studious with music, nor was

than we realised. We shared the same

I a good pupil because I sometimes

music teacher, my Dad was the local

bunked off lessons due to lack of

veterinary surgeon and Douglas’ granny

interest. Nevertheless, I was very good

was the local RSPCA lady, so they had

at playing by ear which frustrated Miss

an ongoing relationship. Douglas even

Greaves because I was a terrible sight

came to stay at our house a few times

reader. That’s a skill that, like a foreign

although he had to remind me of that.

language, you have to maintain and I

Rarely do you come across such an

haven’t. It’s there if I need it but it always

individual brain like Douglas’ and when

requires a lot of brushing up.

you’re not an academic, it’s staggering

The guitar turned up at around age

to be around a left-field intellectual giant as he was.

11, as I mentioned, and I also used to bash things so I got

I still miss him greatly and was very proud to write the

a hi-hat and a snare drum, and that’s when I began to veer

music for the BBC audiobook of ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide To

away from classical music. I used to bore everyone with

The Galaxy’ after we lost him.

my harmonica playing. One year we went on holiday to Germany where my parents bought me a tiny accordion

It comes as no surprise that you were classically

which was more like a concertina, but I soon got myself a


slightly larger model with six bass buttons and I was then

Everyone in my family had piano lessons. I was number

getting the hang of playing with bellows. Of course, the

three of four children so I just did what everybody else was

keyboard wasn’t a problem because I was used to the

doing, and started at age six. I did my recorder lessons

piano and as soon as I graduated to a bigger accordion

at school and learned piano privately with Miss Greaves

with a few more bass notes, around the age of 12 or 13,

“I wasn’t particularly studious with music, nor was I a good pupil because I sometimes bunked off lessons due to lack of interest. Nevertheless, I was very good at playing by ear.”

03.2017 | facebook | twitter


I got co-opted into playing in church with other people.

Despite all the formality, was there much room

Everybody wanted to play guitar so, by playing accordion, I

for pop music in the Wickens household when you

could join in and give the music a different layer.

were a boy?

One of the reasons I played the French horn was

My older brother and sister would play Cliff Richard, The

because my godfather, a paratrooper, was in the military

Beatles and ’60s pop music in general, and it all sunk in

band at Aldershot. I fancied playing saxophone but we

with me, as did watching Chuck Berry on TV singing ‘No

didn’t have one in the orchestra; the nearest was the

Particular Place To Go’. Later on, hearing some of Elton

clarinet but it didn’t appeal to me then. Then my godfather

John’s early records inspired me to try a few different things

suggested the French horn, saying that it had a harder

on piano. The first major gig I saw was Elton at the Royal

embouchure and was difficult to play. Being cocky, I said,

Festival Hall in the spring of 1971. Tumbleweed Connection

‘Oh right, I’ll do that then.’

hadn’t long been out so it was still early days for him.

Of course, it’s not very rock’n’roll and in hindsight the

I think the most profound moment for me was when I

trumpet would’ve been much more useful but it taught me

met a guy at school who collected old 78rpm records and

another discipline with some breath control. It’s been many

played guitar. He told me that he had a 78 by Pinetop

years since I last played a French horn although I think my

Perkins [above left], who I’d never heard of. I went over

original choice indicated that I was up for a challenge even

to his house and he put on this record, ‘Pinetop’s Boogie

as a boy, and I still enjoy testing myself like that.

Woogie’. I’d never heard anything like it. This guy had the


most extraordinary left-hand piano technique, kind of like Professor Longhair but simpler. It was very early blues music and a real moment for me – the moment that turned me on to the blues and made me realise there was a whole world of exciting potential for the piano that just opened up for me. After that day, I regularly visited his house to trawl through his collection and made some incredible discoveries, like Howlin’ Wolf. His knowledge and enthusiasm started me off, and we started jamming old Jerry Lee Lewis together at the school folk club that we founded and soon renamed the folk AND blues club. I was raring to go at that point. I think ‘Juliet’ by The Four Pennies may have been the first single I ever bought, because I’m a sucker for an emotional tune. The first album I could afford was a Jerry Lee LP that I played to death.

ENTERING THE BUSINESS It was at college in the mid-’70s that our man was dubbed ‘Wix’. When he left in 1977, his regular gigging on the Essex and London circuits led him to become a member of power pop band The Young Ones. We played guitar music with catchy riffs and harmonies, which was very in vogue when everything was getting faster and louder. We did a showcase in my

of hits and we did very little apart from gigging frequently

parents’ lounge because it had a piano and a drum kit, so

around the UK, notably supporting The Boomtown Rats on

we moved the furniture, set up the gear and played for three

their Tonic For The Troops tour. The gigs were a nightmare

guys – two of whom were connected to Virgin.

though; as well as the hellish sleeping arrangements, we

That day, we landed a management deal and it led to

were competing with the rise of punk and I moved to the

Richard Branson signing us to Virgin in his flat on the same

back of the stage because we were getting spat at. People

day that XTC came onboard. Of course, they had a lot

would chew up digestive biscuits to get a bit of distance.

03.2017 | facebook | twitter


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Left: Just a few of the many records that have been graced by the Wickens touch.


I ended up sticking a little umbrella on my

When were you able to turn pro?

head as a vain attempt at deflecting the

I suppose it was when I began to consistently

avalanche of gob.

earn money. In 1977, after training to be a

When The Young Ones fizzled out, my

teacher, I gave myself a five-year plan and

Dad lent me the money to buy the synthesiser

was dossing on floors, going back home

that our management had bought for the

to eat Sunday lunches after my mother had

band, so I now owned a decent piece

somehow arranged for me to play accordion

of equipment. The third guy who saw our

for the hospital service in the morning. After

showcase was Bob Ward and he was

five years, I wasn’t quite where I wanted

working with Kevin Coyne in a little eight-

to be and I kept on extending my time limit

track studio in Wimbledon. Bob was aware

every six months to avoid taking a job as a

that I played accordion, which was just what


he wanted on some of Kevin’s tracks.

A drummer I knew from my old local

Bob also introduced me to a singer-

scene, Mick Clews, had gone on to work

songwriter friend of his called Ed Sirrs and

with Chris Thompson from Manfred Mann’s

in 1980 the two of us started writing and

Earth Band and his side project, The

recording as Woodhead Monroe. We spent

Islands, which featured Robbie McIntosh

many hours in a darkened room with a

and Malcolm Foster. Mick suggested that I

TEAC four-track and got a deal with Charlie

audition as the keyboard player at [London

Gillett’s Oval Records, releasing our first

rehearsal studio] EZ Hire. Unfortunately,

single ‘Mumbo Jumbo’.

Chris hadn’t yet made it back from a session

Charlie later arranged for our records

in America, but the rest of us jammed some

to be licensed by Stiff and we loved mad

blues and got on like a house on fire, so it

Dave Robinson [Stiff founder]. Whenever he

was a done deal by the time Chris returned.

played our latest tracks, it was through these

We went on to make a record [Out Of

massive JBL speakers about four feet from his

The Night] and promote it on tour in Europe,

ears with the mid-range cranked right up, so

Scandinavia and the UK for several months,

it was unbelievably painful to be in that room

and we also had a residency at The Golden

with him. If we caught him on a good day,

Lion in Fulham. That’s when Robbie and I

he’d agree to a four-colour picture sleeve

formed a bond.

– Dave let us do our own thing with the

It was also the connection that gave rise

artwork: very ‘art school’ with odd graphics.

to my career as a session musician, because | facebook | twitter


Right: Wix performed with wife Margo at her gig at Camden Town’s intimate Green Note in January.

Chris was a friend of the record producer, Peter Collins. Chris had sung on the Abbey National jingle that Peter produced. Peter came to see one of Chris’s gigs and liked my playing. He was about to make a single with Tracey Ullman and asked if I’d play rock’n’roll piano on it. The next thing I knew, I was at Wessex Studios. In my favour, I’d done a lot of recording by then, so I wasn’t fazed by the studio environment. With Kevin Coyne, it was very artistic and all about the feel, and I think that was a good way for me start,

Another positive aspect of working with Peter

whereas this was a very professional environment with more

Collins was that he introduced you to your wife,

pressure for me to deliver the goods quickly and precisely.

Margo – a gifted artist in her own right.

‘Breakaway’ was in E flat, which wasn’t a great key for

Peter brought us together in 1983. He was producing her

rock’n’roll piano but I got through it, and came up with a

first single on MCA Records and I got the call to come down

few hooky ideas. Peter was delighted and he earned himself

to play on the session. That was the first time we met and

a Top Five hit. I had already written to studios, promoting

around that time I also backed her on a live TV show in

myself as a session player, but it’s a Catch 22 situation –

Birmingham, and we became good pals.

when a producer has a finite budget it’s unlikely that he’s

It wasn’t until 1990 that our relationship became a

going to hire someone without a proven track record, so I

romantic one, and things progressed to the point that we got

had to wait for that lucky break which came in the summer

married at the end of January 1992 during the recording of

of 1982.

Off The Ground with Paul. Margo put her career on hold

Once Tracey’s single became a hit, Peter started to use

to be a mother to our daughter Lily Mae but she’s continued

me for other sessions and it also let other producers know

to be active as a singer-songwriter and backing vocalist

that I was a safe bet. I started to get somewhere when I

throughout the years, working on a lot of very cool projects,

stopped looking for it.

some of which we’ve done together.

Around this time, one of the boys in Musical Youth, Michael Grant, had to go on a school trip and couldn’t

You had your fair share of the big time even

make a session, so I covered for him and the record,

before joining Paul.

‘Pass The Dutchie’, went to No.1. This all came out of an

I got to do some fantastic things. Every successful musician

unexpected meeting at a pub gig and with my paid work

has a moment when the lightbulb goes on and you think,

now being regular, I knew I had turned a corner.

‘That’s it, this is really happening!’, and your head gets a bit

03.2017 | facebook | twitter


bigger. For me that was when I flew on Concorde to New

What is it that makes Wix Wickens the right

York to record with The Pretenders in 1986, but my friends

choice of MD in these lofty situations?

made sure that I soon got over myself, thankfully. Had that

I understand how to converse with musicians and hopefully

all happened 10 years before, I may well have been the

get the best from them in most situations, and have a good

casualty my parents warned me about.

overview. I can offer an informed opinion and say, ‘Let’s

A lot of promising careers have been destroyed by

try it this way and see what happens’. To have input from

premature success. If you get a lucky break, you need a

everybody all the time doesn’t work, even if they’re the best

lot of help from that moment onwards or you will burn out.

players. You need too much time to process all those ideas

For example, I co-produced the Tasmin Archer record,

so you need someone to steer that ship.

‘Sleeping Satellite’, which was No.1 in the UK and Top 10

Sometimes you have to say ’No’ a lot and one classic

in America. It was her first release and it freaked her out.

example of that was at The Concert For Diana rehearsals.

Tasmin still has a great voice and I think if she’d had a

TV and live music are difficult bedfellows. Even though

slower rise, she’d have had success over a longer period.

live music is the prime element of a concert broadcast, TV

Fortunately, in my case, it was a slow burn; everything

people just think you’re part of the scenery. So you have to

happened at the right time and having a degree of self-

fight your corner until they respect your position. When it’s a

awareness has helped me deal with people and getting me

multi-artist event like that, the house band has to play a lot of

where I am.

different music; there’s a lot to juggle. I might grit my teeth now and then but I mostly remain


calm in the face of stress. At The Concert For Diana, however, songs were cut from the show without informing

Shortly after Wix came to prominence through

myself or the band. I’d seen the final running order, the

McCartney’s band, his versatility

camera blocking, so I knew we

and easy character earned him

were fully prepared. But just as we’re

the role of house band musical director on several high-profile, multi-artist events, such as The Concert For Diana, Party At The Palace, Songs And Visions, The Great Music Experience in Osaka (“with Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and the world’s largest Buddha statue”) and charity functions like the annual Pancreatic Cancer UK events.


“Even though live music is the prime element of a concert broadcast, TV people just think you’re part of the scenery. So you have to fight your corner until they respect your position.”

about to count in one particular song, someone said it had been cut. They’d made that decision at 11am and I found that out while we were on stage during the live broadcast. I had the producer up against the wall over that.

The Party At The Palace in Her

Majesty’s back garden was stunning, with Phil Collins on drums. He’s a lovely guy and if I thought we needed something, I could use him as a | facebook | twitter


mouthpiece because he carried more weight, being a star. I talk to each artist privately and get all the information I need to make them comfortable and present them in the best possible way, because these are the people at the sharp end. But in doing that, one has to avoid making it sound like a cruise ship showband. It has to feel and sound authentic. Naturally, being with Paul for so long helps to establish some confidence as an MD and I suppose it’s a leveller in team talks. Ultimately, it all comes down to the performance. At what point did you progress from being Paul’s keyboard player to his MD? That was when the current band lineup with Abe Laboriel, Jr [drums], Brian Ray [guitar & bass] and Rusty Anderson [guitar] got together in 2002. By then, I had a thorough knowledge of how Paul liked things which meant that I could rehearse our old arrangements with the band in advance of Paul arriving. I became a conduit between Paul and the new guys, so if there was a problem with anything, I could sort it out on his behalf. But he’d already been recording with Abe and Rusty on Driving Rain. Giving me the responsibility of MD was a little like

03.2017 | facebook | twitter


getting a gold service medal, but he and I still sit down

someone else to shine. It can take years to get there and it’s

and talk about the set, and I offer my suggestions. Perhaps

very satisfying when you arrive at that awareness.

because I’ve been there for so long, I can step a little closer to the line than some other people, and I don’t take that for

You are currently the only member of McCartney’s

granted but he knows he can trust me as a sounding board.

band who has not released his own album. Do you have any plans to address this?

Is there anyone you would class as a mentor?

I like such a variety of musical styles that I could never

No single person has taken me under their wing as such.

single anything out and say that this was me, so I think it

Obviously, George Martin was very ‘mentor-like’ with all the

would be a real mixed bag and maybe that’s acceptable

things I’ve done with Paul. There are icons who I believe

now in contrast to several years ago when you had to be

have influenced me, like The Band’s Garth Hudson, Bill

packageable. I also need a reason to do it. I’m not the kind

Payne of Little Feat and, out of the plethora of jazz musicians

of musician who will sit in the corner and play you my songs

I could name, it would have to be Count Basie.

whether you want to hear them or not. That’s not my burning

I’m not blessed with a fantastic technique. I was

urge. I just love playing and engaging with other people –

technically at my best when I was 14, but I stopped the

that’s my drive.

academic side early enough to develop my own approach

So far, the closest I’ve got to doing it has been when

to music. Count Basie taught me to shut up. There’s actually

I’ve thought of working with some people from my past

a skill in knowing when to remain silent and allow space for

and seeing if they’d be interested in writing with me, and recording with my house band, make some lovely tracks, maybe film it and have a theme that knits it all together. And do it all for a very worthy cause without trying to be Bono. That would then have some meaning, rather than ‘Wix does a solo album’.

In fact, the reason I accept so many invitations

to play at charity events is because this industry has been so good to me. I’ve worked hard but I haven’t really chased it – that’s not something I take for granted. Things have come my way and I’m very keen on giving back. I think it’s the right thing to do and I get so much enjoyment from it. Photography by MJ Kim, Bill Bernstein, Linda McCartney, MPL Communications Ltd. Mark Cunningham, James Cumpsty, Jonathan Stewart

03.2017 | facebook | twitter



Load-In welcomes The Tubes’ dynamic crew duo to Southampton


he irrepressible Fee Waybill and his band The

thrill as was evident on the recent European leg of their

Tubes have had a varied career. From their humble

Mondo Pulp tour. On this run, the band played several small

beginnings in San Francisco to worldwide arena

venues with support from their dynamic crew duo, long-time

tours, the influential combo have been delighting

Tubes tour manager and FOH engineer Geoff Ganniford,

audiences for over 40 years with theatrical stage shows

and backline tech Manchester-based Ben Dawson.

filled with edgy anthems like ’White Punks On Dope’ and

Although they carried their own backline, the band

‘Prime Time’.

– like so many before them – were dependent on house

More accustomed to playing small venues these days,

gear and the practical restrictions of each venue, as

the current line-up – Roger Steen, Prairie Prince, Rick

Dawson explained before doors opened at Southampton’s

Anderson, David Medd and singer Waybill – continue to

600-capacity The Brook.

03.2017 | facebook | twitter


Right: Geoff Ganniford; Ben Dawson; frontman Fee Waybill.

“This run has mainly been about the logistics of getting the band on the stage and everything in the right place,” he commented. “Fee is constantly going off stage to change and coming back on. Therefore, it’s important to get the position of everyone else right so that it doesn’t block Fee’s movement. “The first thing I do is check out the access route to the stage from the van, to determine how am I going to get everything in. At one recent venue, there were no local crew so the two of us had to hump everything up to the stage via a massive flight of stairs.” SNAKE TRAILS While Dawson was a hired gun for this tour, comrade Ganniford has been with the band since their Completion Backward Principle tour in 1981. “I am totally old school all the way,” said Ganniford, proudly. “My first job in the industry was working at Orange Music in Denmark Street, testing the amps. “After a period spent in Germany, I came back to England and worked for the prog rock band Caravan. I built my own FOH board and snake at a time when everyone was mixing on the stage and not out front, so I set up a system that would allow me to do that.” A four-year stint with Uriah Heep followed Caravan before Ganniford moved to the US where he worked for TFA Electronics while also mixing at FOH for Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. Ganniford’s entry into the world of The Tubes marked the next

“At one recent venue, there were no local crew so the two of us had to hump everything up via a massive flight of stairs.”

03.2017 | facebook | twitter


everything works on your console. That gives you the head start. My advice to the younger generation is to firstly find out how the gear works and then progress to became a sound guy. Do it that way around, not the other way.” Dawson’s career took a different path. Attending his first Reading Festival and seeing headliners Metallica sparked his interest in production. “It was at Reading that I became fascinated with how the stage and everything came together. I went to college but soon realised that the best education for this industry was to simply get out there and do it. In 2010, the first Parklife festival took place in Manchester and they were looking for volunteers so I went and did that. For me, it was mind blowing and I soon began to work in clubs and local venues.” Watching Dawson and Ganniford work together, one can see two generations not only getting on but also learning from each other. For the former, it’s important that the local guys he works with, particularly the younger ones, receive as much encouragement as they can to do a good job. “I clearly label most of my gear so that when I ask a young, local guy to bring me a part, they can see exactly what I’m referring to,” Dawson explained. “For me it’s better than saying, ‘bring me the so-and-so’, and it’s a good way to learn about the equipment.” With everything ready, the show at The Brook typically began on time and The Tubes delivered an amazing set. chapter in his career, whose impressive legacy has yielded

The numerous costume changes went without a hitch, with

a wealth of experience along with a few well-earned

Waybill exiting the stage and returning freely, and even


when his alter ego Quay Lewd staggered on stage in

“This is an industry that flies by the seat of its pants

outrageous high heels, the movement was perfect. At the

and the kids coming up need to be taught the right way,”

end of a successful night, another venue in another town lay

he said. “A good racing car driver must have intimate

in wait.

knowledge of how his car works and the same applies if you’re a good sound guy – you need to know how


Photography by Helen Bradley-Owers | facebook | twitter





is looking for good quality contributions from touring professionals to feature in future editions.









Interested? Please email us at


PERFORMANCE & TECHNOLOGY a book by mark cunningham

for previews and updates, join the mailing list at


Massage therapist Sally Morris offers a series of tips and techniques to help improve your quality of life on the road




dd technology – such as smart phones,

poor posture, repetitive movements and not enough

computers and tablets – to common day to day

activities to counteract the effects.

behaviours and a demanding workload, and

Over the course of the next few issues of Load-In,

you have the perfect recipe for aches and pains.

I would like to show you some simple ways to increase

movement and flexibility in your body, free yourself from

Think about your daily activities, particularly the

repetitive ones. Do you find yourself hunched over?

unnecessary restrictions and feel alive again.

Head forward? Shoulders rounded? Do you have neck or

shoulder aches and pains? Maybe in your lower back? If

rubber ball is perfect but a tennis ball will do just fine and,

so, you’re not alone. Most of these problems stem from

of course, it’s easier to carry with you wherever you go.


To begin with, all you need is a ball. A 4” inflatable || facebook facebook || twitter twitter


A small ball is an ideal tool with which to self-massage away areas of tightness and restriction. You can use the ball seated, lying and standing to find and release those tender areas.around your body and not just where you feel the tensions.

USING THE BALL BETWEEN YOU AND A WALL 1. It may help to place the ball in a sock, that way you

6. An ideal time for release is after five minutes or at

don’t lose the ball each time you reposition yourself.

least until you feel the tension and tenderness easing.

2. Begin by placing the ball between you and the

7. Having released one area, move to the next and

wall, and roll against it to find areas of tension and

repeat each step. It’s a great habit to use the ball all


around your body and not just where you feel the tensions.

3. Now find the spot within that area that might feel hard, tender and may refer pain to another area, a.k.a.

Keep your ball with you and use it regularly. Here are

the ‘ouch’ point.

some other ideas for ways to use your ball.

4. Lean into the spot slowly. You don’t ever want to create more than a 7/10 level of discomfort, so if it feels more painful than this, simply ease off. 5. Get comfortable, rest, relax and try to allow your body to soften around the ball, all the time noticing if the discomfort level is easing, which it should.

03.2017 | facebook | twitter



Released on September 22nd 1978 on Chrysalis Records. Recorded on tour in Europe; May-June 1978. Produced by Ian Anderson and mixed at Maison Rouge Studios, London.

by Mark Cunningham



rom their inception at the beginning of 1968,

20 albums, but in spite of the worldwide acclaim they

Jethro Tull were hailed as one of the world’s

enjoyed on the touring circuit, a fully live document was

greatest live attractions. Originally a jazz-infused

curiously absent from Tull’s discography for many years.

blues outfit, by the time they began work on Thick As A

It would not be until 1978 that, following a European

Brick – intended to be “the mother of all concept albums”

tour to promote their 11th studio album, Heavy Horses,

– in late 1971, Tull had blossomed into a progressive rock

this void was filled with Bursting Out – a double set that

act with folk overtones. Fronted by charismatic singer-

remains a towering monument in the band’s catalogue.

songwriter, flautist and acoustic guitarist Ian Anderson,

For those unimpressed with the trashy musicianship

the band continued through the ’70s with a string of top

synonymous with the now-mainstream punk phenomenon,

03.2017 | facebook | twitter


Tull ‘78, L-R: John Glascock, Barriemore Barlow, Ian Anderson, David Palmer, John Evan and Martin Barre.

it mattered not that these ‘dinosaurs’ were out of sync

In mid-January, Anderson, who turns 70 this August,

with the times. In the middle of their ‘country squire’

was preparing for an appearance at the Giants Of Rock

phase, Tull were arguably at the height of their musical

festival and further dates in Eastern Europe. He did,

powers with a line-up – Anderson, Martin Barre (guitar),

however, agree to revisit Bursting Out with me over the

John Glascock (bass), David Palmer and John Evan

course of an hour-long interview, during which he also

(keyboards), and drummer Barrie ‘Barriemore’ Barlow –

discussed the commercial downturn of the live album

that many consider to be their finest.

format in today’s market.

Given that live albums were all the rage in the

light. I was generally unhappy with some other examples of

‘70s, why did it take until 1978 for you to release

live recordings from TV shows so any thoughts of putting out


an album went by the wayside. Years later, our manager

Actually, we did record a concert at Carnegie Hall in New

Terry Ellis suggested doing a real live album. It was

York, back in 1970, part of which formed one side of the

something I didn’t feel that great about but I agreed to give

Living In The Past compilation. In many ways it was very

it a go and record a number of shows here and there to

rough and ready, and didn’t represent the band in its best

see if we could choose some performances that were OK.

03.2017 | facebook | twitter


You couldn’t do an awful lot to the drums in terms of re-balancing – apart from EQ, you were pretty much stuck with a stereo mix – and you certainly couldn’t fix any mistakes because, although Jethro Tull had never been a particularly loud band on stage, there was enough mic leakage between channels to ensure that this was always going to be an ‘honest’ album.

Having drums leak down the

vocal mic wasn’t something we could In the mid-’70s, you opened your own studio in

remedy. Today, I work with the drums set up at stage left

London, Maison Rouge, although it was initially

specifically to minimise the amount of unwanted spill into

a mobile facility – was that how you recorded the

my microphone. I also have a Shure miniature cardioid mic


on my flute which points toward stage right for the same

Not in this case, no. After Terry hit us with his idea, I bought

reason, and these considerations help our front of house

myself a TEAC eight-track 1/2” tape recorder that could

engineer achieve a less ‘polluted’ mix for the audience.

travel in a flight case, get routed from the front of house

For some bands, none of this matters too much but I prefer

mixer [via engineer Chris Amson – see side feature] and be

something that sounds a little tidier.

set up to record whichever shows we felt were appropriate.

The next time we decided to record a live album

I know a lot of Bursting Out came from a show at the

was in 1992 [A Little Light Music] and, in fact, we went

Festhalle in Berne but there were a couple of other gigs

through the same process except that we took a much more

recorded, including one in Germany.

compact digital eight-track recorder around Europe and the Middle East.

An eight-track recording in 1978… that’s a

At the end of that 1978 tour, I went into my rehearsal


studio at home to listen back to what seemed like an

Well, yes and no. Taking the mobile with us would

endless amount of reels of tape and gradually whittled

have been an expensive luxury but this was completely

everything down to what is now cast in stone, so that I

affordable and flexible. As long as the levels were about

could create the final mixes with [engineer] Robin Black at

right, little else mattered because you could sort it all out in

Maison Rouge.

the studio afterwards. Of course, we were limited to eight

I do believe there’s a chance that some of the album

tracks but it was completely achievable with some good

was mixed elsewhere because, ironically, the studio had

planning and microphone routing, just as it was only a

become so popular that we weren’t always able to record

few years beforehand when eight-track was state-of-the-art.

there when we wanted to.

03.2017 | facebook | twitter



two recent albums – Songs From The Wood and Heavy

Bursting Out was recorded in the middle of what

Horses – that had been very well received and successfully

many consider to be a golden period for Jethro

merged the progressive and folk-rock stylings that gave

Tull. You were one of the tightest bands in the

Jethro Tull its identity in the mid-’70s.

world at that point.

Musically, there were a few tensions and out of that

Firstly, I have to say that Bursting Out is quite far away from

some alliances were getting a little frazzled by a year or

the special place occupied by something like Frampton

so later. We’d had too many long tours; everybody was

Comes Alive, which was very much a unique moment in

getting rather exhausted and jaded by then. With a band

Peter’s career. Live albums, the way I see them, are only

of six individuals, as it was then, there were always going

truly great when the circumstances around their recording

to be some members who had unshakeable approaches to

are special, for instance, when the performance is markedly


different to how you would record it in a studio, or perhaps it’s about the venue, the time or some extraordinary music

For many years, I wrongly assumed that part of

content that elevates it to a status of importance, rather than

the Bursting Out album had been recorded at the

just a being a live memento of your latest songs.

Montreux Jazz Festival, because of the presence

The state of our performance was very good, I recall,

of ‘funky’ Claude Nobs (inset below) at the start.

and the album reflected that quite well but, at the time,

How did he come to introduce you?

Bursting Out felt like just another day at the office. Perhaps the boredom of going through all the tapes affected my judgement. I’m sure that if I found one or more songs from a single concert that sounded ‘OK’, I would gratefully take a razor blade from that section, lift it on to the master reel, and not look any further. This was all happening towards the end of a period where we had a certain grouping of people who contributed to a fairly happy atmosphere. We benefitted from having a broad range of material including

03.2017 | facebook | twitter



“In 1976, Ian Anderson asked me to research

some other options with a view to updating our equipment, so I flew over to the USA and visited Heil Sound, Clair Brothers and Showco to look at what they were doing. We ended up putting a system together that was quite similar to Clair Brothers’ system, based on JBL components.

“The mixing console being used at the time I

joined [by Amson’s FOH engineer predecessor Alan Mackenzie] had apparently been purchased from The Beach Boys. It was a 24-channel mixer At the age of 20, Chris Amson joined Jethro Tull’s

with rotary knobs for the main faders… and no

crew as a technician in March 1972 during the

sub groups. After I became the house engineer, I

week of the legendary Thick As A Brick album

designed the layout of a new mixing console that

release. Within two years, he was mixing the

was custom manufactured by Cadac in London.

band’s front of house sound and maintained this role until 1981, using downtime to tour with other acts including ELP, UFO, Ian Gillan and UK. He talked to Load-In about the development of Tull’s touring PA in the ’70s.

“When I started with Tull, our own sound

system featured up to six Tycobrahe direct radiating, three-way speaker cabinets per side of the stage and were powered by Crown DC 300 amps, with a crossover at the mixer,” said Amson (pictured above in 1976). “Each cabinet had a pair of JBL 12” bass speakers, two JBL 075 bullet tweeters and a mid range horn throat. >>>

03.2017 | facebook | twitter


Claude may just have been there at the

I gathered around a TV set with a

Berne Festhalle [on May 28th ‘78] as a

few cheeky bottles of cider to watch

guest and we asked him to announce the

an ‘Old Grey Whistle Test’ special:

band, but another possibility is that it was a

‘Jethro Tull at Madison Square

friendly acknowledgement of the donation

Garden’ – 50 minutes of glorious

we had made to Montreux from a previous

music beamed live to us and millions

concert’s proceeds. The town had been

of others through the modern

very good to us in the past and we helped

miracle of satellite broadcasting.

towards the funding of a new library. Either

Back in the day when news

way, the late, great Claude stepped up in his

travelled at a snail’s pace, I was

inimitable fashion and we liked the idea of

immediately shocked to note the

preserving his introduction on the album.

absence of bassist John Glascock whose place was filled by Tony


Williams, who had once auditioned

A couple of weeks after Bursting Out

for Tull before joining Stealers

hit the shops, a group of friends and



Ian liked Cadac mixers as he had become very

getting concerned about my hearing due to all

familiar with them through recording a few Tull

the loud arena concerts. I ended up returning in

albums at Morgan Studios.

“Our crew at the time of Bursting

Out included Dave Morris, our main tech who kept the

1987 to work with the band on two more tours, by which time they had retired their own JBL system and were using rental companies.”

electronics running, and Pavel Kubes who assisted me at front of house.

“Tull continued to use its own

sound system throughout the entire nine-year stretch when I was on the crew. I carried on until 1981 when I left because I was


• • • • •

In the years either side of his brief return to the Tull camp, Amson went on to work as a FOH engineer for King Crimson, Missing Persons, Frank Zappa, Herbie Hancock and Devo among others. | facebook | twitter


Right: John Glascock, who passed away in 1979, aged 28. Below: Glascock, Anderson and Barre on stage.

Unknown to us, a rapid deterioration in Glascock’s health left him unable to complete the American leg of the tour. John had been with us for two years and as a musician was in very good shape, as was the rest of the band. He was also a positive influence. John was quite the party animal and I don’t recall any of us having any real concerns about his health when we started the tour. While appearing to be very robust, John suffered an infection in a heart valve that ultimately led to his demise at a very young age [28] the following year. It was terribly sad. Although not helped by his lifestyle, it turned out that an unfortunate congenital heart defect got the better of him and, for Tull, it meant the end of a chapter in many ways. You released Bursting Out at a time when sales of live albums were at their peak. It’s rather depressing when one considers how unlikely it is to achieve that degree of success in the current market. Indeed, it’s a very different world to the one in which Led Zeppelin and Jethro Tull were among the only bands making money from touring as well as selling tons of records. We paid a lot of tax, too, of course! One of the last occasions I can remember when a live album sold in huge amounts – not forgetting associated DVD sales, of course – was when the Eagles had their grand reunion and put out Hell Freezes Over [in 1994, selling nine million copies in America alone]. That was a very big deal at the time but neither the Eagles nor anyone else would come anywhere near that degree of commercial success today, thanks to YouTube and digital piracy.




Right: Anderson on his Thick As A Brick 2 tour in 2012, with (L-R) John O’Hara, David Goodier and Florian Opahle. Sound by Clair.

If Donald Trump was assassinated and it was released on DVD, then it might be an event that could cap the Eagles. Anything less than that, forget it! Around 2002, we released a live DVD called

Living With The Past which I ultimately paid for and released through the only logical outlet,

There are, of course, some

Eagle Vision. That sold about 100,000 copies

advancements that have ended up

worldwide, half of them in America. Everyone

being a complete pain. Nine times

thought that was a pretty good result but I knew

out of 10, your concert will appear

that sales in general were beginning to drop

on YouTube, courtesy of a sea of

really fast, and releasing it a few years later

smartphones that are raised in the air

would have yielded very different figures.

like a Hitler salute to the idea of playing

Poor old Claude Nobs missed the boat with

their small part in the legacy of rock music.

his enormous archive of video material culled from

Much as you might dissuade people

more than 40 years of the Montreux Jazz Festival,

from doing that, they’ll do it anyway,

because by the time he signed a licensing deal

even when I’m playing in a cathedral,

with Eagle, live recordings in any form had

for fuck’s sake. But, you know, that’s

become a very poor form of currency.

today’s live album for you.

Obviously, the whole business of touring

Thanks to James Anderson.

has changed enormously since 1978

Photography by Brian Cooke, Ruan O’Lochlainn,

but for you, personally, how have the

Ian Dickson, Chris Amson, Mark Weiss, WME, Phil Bourne, Mark Cunningham &

numerous advancements affected you as a performer? I suppose in-ear monitoring was one of my most significant discoveries, probably around 15 or more years ago, when I began to use Shure’s products. That really made a difference to onstage comfort and clarity, and that’s been the case ever since.

03.2017 | facebook | twitter

advertising ˈadvətʌɪzɪŋ/ noun: advertising

the activity or profession of producing advertisements for commercial products or services.

advertise ˈadvətʌɪz/ verb

gerund or present participle: advertising • describe or draw attention to (a product, service or event) in a public medium in order to promote sales or attendance. • publicise information about (a vacancy). • make (a quality or fact) known. • synonyms: publicise, make public, make known, give publicity to, bill, post, announce, broadcast, proclaim, trumpet, shout from the rooftops, give notice of, call attention to, promulgate, promote, market, merchandise, peddle, display, tout, build up, beat/bang the drum for, trail, trailer; informal: push, plug, hype, hype up, give a plug to, puff, boost, flog.

Whether you’re banging your drum or promulgating profoundly, be sure to discuss all your advertising plans with the Load-In team. We look forward to hearing from you.



GAGA’S SUPER BOWL STUNNER It’s no surprise that Lady Gaga’s catalogue sales multiplied

spots, GLP GT-1 hybrids and Impression X4s, Clay Paky

by 1000% after her extraordinary performance at the Super

Sharpy and Mythos models, along with items from Ayrton,

Bowl 51 Pepsi Halftime Show. Whilst previous editions have

TMB, Chauvet, American DJ, Arc Light EFX and Acclaim

witnessed spectacles from the likes of Prince, The Who,

Lighting. Control was split between PRG V676 and MA

Madonna, U2 and the Stones over the last 20 years, Gaga

Lighting grandMA2 consoles.

set her own dazzling standards at Houston’s NRG Stadium

on February 5th.

ATK Audiotek and PWS (audio), All Access Staging &

Productions (set and staging), Strictly FX (pyro and effects)

The production was co-designed by Bruce Rodgers

Among the other vendors were VER (LED systems),

of Tribe Inc. and LeRoy Bennett, with a lighting design

and Glow Motion Technologies (on-field LED batons).

by 22 Degrees’ Bob Barnhart who, working closely with

supplier PRG, specified a wide range of fixtures including

Gaga’s set crammed clips from her modern classics

Philips Vari-Lite VL4000s and VL6000s, PRG Best Boy HP

‘Paparazzi’, ‘Poker Face’, ‘Born This Way’, ‘Bad Romance’


At times resembling a discarded take from ‘Mad Max’, || facebook facebook || twitter twitter


Photography © Christopher Polk, Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic & Patrick Smith/Getty

...Random news & views

and others into a breathtaking 12-minute microshow,

including the American flag, before Gaga descended (live)

punctuated by aerial scenes, explosive pyro and heavy

to an on-stage metal structure on a harness and cables.

dance troupe choreography.

claims that this was the first time that its UAVs (unmanned

The Hamish Hamilton-directed broadcast went out live

Although previously used by Cirque du Soleil, Intel

to an estimated worldwide television audience of more

aerial vehicles) – purpose-built autonomous quadcopter

than 110 million viewers, and one of the most talked-about

drones – have featured in a televised event.

portions of Gaga’s show was the introduction which had to

be filmed in advance in order to avoid falling foul of FAA

producer Ricky Kirshner] wanted to pull off something that

airspace restrictions.

had never been done before,” said Josh Walden, senior VP

and general manager of Intel’s New Technology Group.

During her patriotic delivery of ‘God Bless America’ and

“Lady Gaga and the Super Bowl creative team [led by

Woody Guthrie’s ‘This Land Is Your Land’ from the stadium

“We hope this experience inspires other creatives to really

roof, a swarm of 300 Intel Shooting Star illuminated

think about how they can incorporate drone technology.”

drones hovered and swayed above the singer to create a

mesmerising, multi-coloured LED light show and images

on top, beating Atlanta Falcons 34-28.


As for the game itself, New England Patriots came out | facebook | twitter




ROAD TALES ‘PINK FLOYD: PERFORMANCE & TECHNOLOGY’ by Mark Cunningham is a forthcoming study of the evolution of the band’s show design from their early psychedelic days through to their groundbreaking live presentation of The

INSTINCTS’, a free sample section – available at www.

Wall and later tours including The Division Bell. – covering the 1977 European and

American tours that followed the release of Animals.

Featuring exclusive interviews with crew and

observations from the band themselves, this fully

illustrated book is currently under construction, however,

Publishing in due course. Sign up to the mailing list at

readers are able to preview the work with ‘ANIMAL


Further updates will be announced by Bear & Bones | facebook | twitter


...and finally...

Photography by Mark Cunningham, Mark Scott &

SXSW: KEEPING AUSTIN WEIRD March 10th sees the opening of the

itinerary of live music throughout the

others in the U.S.] – sharing stages

2017 edition of South by Southwest

entire city, day and night, not only in

with surprise established acts such as

(SXSW), one of the world’s most

venues of all shapes and sizes – from

Iggy Pop, Metallica, The Flaming Lips,

important annual events for people

bars and clubs to churches, outdoor

Justin Timberlake, Green Day and

and businesses involved in music, film

festival stages and the convention

Nick Cave.

and interactive media. And if you’ve

centre – but also on the streets, where

never attended SXSW before, Load-In

top class musicians deliver ad-hoc

a chance to catch up with friends

recommends that you add it to your

performances for fun and tips.

while some rental companies often

‘must do’ list.

rely on SXSW to open up dialogue

find well over 2,000 exciting, new

with promising artists and develop

of Austin, the ‘live music capital of

artists – including those on the cusp

business relationships.

the world’, SXSW offers a diverse

of stardom [SXSW helped to break

range of conferences, seminars and

The 1975, Laura Mvula, Charli XCX,

to March 19th. Visit for

exhibitions, alongside a stunning

Lianne LaHavas, Syd Arthur and

more details.

Located in the vibrant Texan city


It is here that one can expect to

For visiting road crew, it provides

SXSW 2017 runs from March 10th | facebook | twitter




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Load-In Issue 7  

Load-In goes singing in the rain with the crew on the Justin Bieber "Purpose" tour.

Load-In Issue 7  

Load-In goes singing in the rain with the crew on the Justin Bieber "Purpose" tour.