In line with the undeniable popularity of his first two albums, the English singer/songwriter croons his way through sold out UK arenas, serenading audiences with his trademark bass baritone singing voice. TPi’s Jacob Waite gets the full story...
With two number one albums under his belt and an established name in the UK music charts, you’d be forgiven for forgetting George Ezra’s latest live offering was his inaugural headline arena tour, performed entirely from the comfort of his on-stage living room.
However, in the four years since the release of his debut album, Wanted on Voyage, the 25-year-old has encountered a tremendous rise in popularity. The Hertford boy has successfully transitioned from academy venues to headlining festivals, selling out arenas across the continent and scooping the highly coveted title of Best Male Solo Artist at the 2019 BRIT Awards. His second studio album, Staying at Tamara’s, was Britain’s bestselling album of 2018. You’ll already know its third track, Shotgun, was the biggest hit of the summer, spending four non-consecutive weeks at number one in the UK Singles Chart.
“Shotgun is one of the reasons we’re sitting here today,” declared Production Manager, Jake Vernum as he greeted TPi at the Manchester Arena, several dates deep into the UK tour. Vernum was initially brought in by Tour Manager, Trevor Plunkett to tech a lighting system for the artist’s academy tour in early 2018, shortly after that
he made the astronomic leap to the role of a Production Manager assigned with the task of guiding an ever-expanding Ezra entourage. “The campaign started in academy venues and each night he was increasingly sought after,” he mused. “In the blink of an eye, he was selling out arena shows and headlining festivals all over the world.”
Absent of regular interjections from frantic crewmembers, the uncharacteristically static door of the Manchester Arena production office reflected the relaxed nature of the George Ezra camp. “I like to keep a positive attitude across the tour and ensure that we have a happy crew, I like to think of this as a well-oiled machine when everyone is happy and I believe that the machine runs best when your crew are at their happiest,” Vernum reasoned. “If people are unhappy it isn’t going to move as well or as efficiently as it could. People management can be challenging, but it’s a huge part of the role and you have to get on with it and do your best.”
When it came to suppliers, Vernum doffed his hardhat to reputable suppliers such as Lite Alternative that provided the lighting and rigging elements. PRG that supplied video, while All Access Staging & Productions UK and Popcorn Catering joined the fray. KB Event and Phoenix Bussing handled logistics and transport. Whereas
performer risers, as well as a crew of onsite professionals. Matthew Bull, All Access Staging & Productions UK Sales Manager commented: “It has been fantastic working with a new client and the relationship has grown as we progressed through the project. All the reviews have been amazing. It has been a great pleasure working on the tour. The hard work put in from everyone has paid off.”
On site crew communication was achieved by Motorola GP340 twoway radios from Radiotek, while a Clear-Com HelixNet Digital Network Partyline System with multiple HMS-4X base stations was used for show communication. Audio coverage was split between Adlib for PA and Stylus Productions who provided a control package and audio infrastructure.
PRETTY SHINING SHOW DESIGN
Opening the show, IMAG screens made up of Absen 5mm LED panels showcased a digital clock reading 06:59 left and right of the stage. As it turned 7:00, a recording of Radio 1 Breakfast Show host Greg James – a fellow Hertfordshire native – introduced George Ezra, who took to the stage illuminated by considered lighting and his own childlike glee.
“Everything is pitch perfect in a musical and visual sense on this show. The audience get an amazing show for a great ticket price. There are magical moments packed with good music and beautiful content throughout the show,” Vernum elucidated.
Nevertheless, it takes a lot of hard work for this effortless display, the PM confirmed, highlighting timing as a challenge. Show Designers Mike Smith and Cate Carter of Bryte Design were brought in “quite late in the day” to formulate the aesthetics of the show. Vernum explained: “By the time we got the drawings back, it was mid-January, so we only had a month to put the show together. However, having Bryte on board was one less thing to worry about. Bryte Design come with heaps of touring experience and boasts a great technical department as well as being fantastic designers.
This was helpful throughout the process as we have a great design team that are also considering how we were going to build the show along every step of the way,” he added. “We also had a week of rehearsals at Production Park which helped iron out any creases.”
As show designers, Bryte Design were tasked with translating George Ezra’s vision for the tour into a functioning production design, including staging, lighting, set design, visual content, props and special effects. Carter elaborated: “We studied all of the songs from his first two albums. We treated them like a libretto, analysing what they were conveying and trying to brainstorm what could support them visually, be it video, lighting or set.”
To prepare, Smith and Carter, along with the latest addition to the Bryte Design team – Set Designer, Flora Harvey - watched and read countless interviews about George Ezra and his music to connect and relate with him as a musician. “We immersed ourselves in his music and engaged fully with the brief, so that we could produce an honest design of the story he wanted to tell,” Harvey informed TPi.
When it came to show design, George Ezra was hands-on as Carter outlined: “He knew he wanted to create a living room onstage and make it feel like every audience member in the arena was onstage with the band and to create a really intimate atmosphere. He also knew he wanted the show to start at sunrise and track the course of a day. A combination of this creative direction and narrative made it a really interesting and exciting brief for us.”
A nod to the comfortable, living room aesthetic, the stage was adorned with several decorative lampshades – large and small, house plants and Persian rugs. During the set, a Kabuki drape formed a wallpaper behind a back wall of three windows with floodlights and impressive video content aplenty, which reflected the morning portion of the show. It was a day in the life of George Ezra and all 20,000 plus screaming fans are invited.
The Kabuki drape dropped to reveal a back wall of lighting and a whole new dimension of the show.
The synchronicity between the show design, lighting and video departments was a result of Bryte Design’s ethos of approaching projects as a collective to ensure a visually coherent show, a convention that was very much employed in the George Ezra camp.
Thus, lighting the way on the road was Dom Adams who has worked with Bryte Design on a number of projects. “The nice thing about the way the company operate is that Mike and Cate have done a treatment and mood board per song and it’s left for Joe Lott [Media Server Programmer] and I to program something to go alongside it. Typically, a lot of operators are told to click buttons whereas we’re given creative freedom within guidelines to make something brilliant or tweak it accordingly.”
The show was pre-visualised in WYSIWYG lighting software beforehand, which gave Adams “a lot of free reign” in developing his initial programming. “Having worked with Cate before, I’ve got an eye for what she does and doesn’t like so it’s been easy to collaborate and modify things.”
Total Fabrications provided custom built aluminium window frames, complete with one way mirrored Perspex riveted onto each frame to form the base of the set with each window positioned equidistant from Ezra on stage. Flown slightly upstage of the windows were ROE Visual MC7 LED screen panels.
Vernum told TPi the creative concept was a living room, he added: “When you look at the windows, you don’t see the black video screen, you see a reflection. You can shine lights at them and the designers have managed to create some amazing effects.”
Rigging for the windows and the video was another part of the show that needed a collaborative outlook. This time for rigging purposes between set and video. The three windows and screens were hung across 18 points in total that needed to be both motor upwards and in specific places. Instead of hanging 18 points of rigging and motors for the set at each venue, Vernum outlined the approach. “The solution was to use Lite
Alternatives LAD pre-rig truss as a mother grid and sub hang the motors inside it. This meant that we had a super quick and a solution that was tidy and efficient.”
Carter walked TPi through the discussion process behind the set design. “George had specifically asked to have Victorian sash windows within the set to give it a homely feel. We were really excited about the challenge of using these objects within a show and for it to feel cosy but for it to still read as a pop concert, so we played around with scale and the various ways in which they could be used; we wanted them to be versatile and to be a focal point of the show.”
The three windows were utilised to mirror light. In one striking scene, a spotlight from the window highlights the George Ezra. “The three windows generate some nice effects for Barcelona. The content is almost like a ray of light coming through, which we simulated by bouncing light off the window and making use of the IMAG screens to reflect George,” Adams said, dubbing the effect “lovely”.
Carter added: “We designed the windows to feature a two-way reflective mirror surface and with LED screen behind them. When the LED was off the windows reflected the audience, George was really keen to make this an immersive show so with the audience being able to see themselves reflected on stage they would feel part of the performance. Then when the screens played any video content of live content from the show the mirror became invisible and the stage was instantly animated.”
Specialz created three giant custom lampshades featuring Par CP95 and custom LED fittings to illustrate the soft, homely and intimate feel of the set design. Three half-tonne Liftkets running on Kinesys vector motion control system for automation were used to fly the lampshades. An innovative, never seen before concept, Vernum explained the inner workings of the props: “Each lampshade is complete with both downlights to light the stage and LED RGBW tape to colour the lampshade itself”.
In addition to the lampshades, 4D Chinese lanterns manufactured by Fisheye created a series of “never seen before effects” in a live gig
All 48 lanterns were coated in fireproof parachute fabric and handmade by an old-school sewing machine. With only 10 days to develop the unique lanterns, Fisheye CEO Kris Goubert reflected: “This kind of rock ‘n’ roll job is exactly what Pieter, our technician, loves.”
Vernum outlined the concept: “Each lantern has an LED ring around it with a Multi Cell RGBW LED fixture, in order to accurately replicate the flickering light output of authentic Chinese lanterns.”
Carter talked about the thought process behind the lantern gags. “We wanted to create a moment that reflected the songs we’d been studying. By analysing the content of the songs, we interpreted that a lot of them addressed and explored anxiety and the issues of the world we live in yet were played with positive, resolving overtones. We wanted to mirror this interpreted content visually.”
All 48 lanterns were deployed from trusses both over the audience and overstage using Wahlberg DMX winches. “It’s a special moment in the show. The fixtures were travelled in pre-rig truss and are designed with a built-in magnet to close them up into a travel position. Each lantern featured a custom drape hide so that the audience couldn’t see them until they were deployed,” Vernum furthered.
Harvey elucidated: “We felt that the lanterns complimented the resolving part of this process, acting as the light in the dark. Hold My Girl is the first song in which the lanterns are used, from which we inferred the message, ‘it’s okay not to be okay, and being there for a loved one’. The lanterns reach out into the audience, creating an immersive, beautiful and connective moment between viewers and the performance itself. As the brief specified no B stage or cat walk but wanted something immersive, we thought the lanterns would suit this perfectly.”
Aerially, the lighting rig was built on three rows of truss. A total of 40 Harman MAC Viper Profiles made up the back wall and floor. Overhead boasted 26 Claypaky Scenius Unicos and 34 TMB Solaris Flares were situated on both trusses and on the floor, utilised for both its strobe effect and wash fixture capabilities. “We sidelight the band with 10 MAC Aura XBs
at shin kicker height and a further 22 on the audience trusses to enhance the stage,” commented Adams.
Moreover, the Lighting Director praised the tour’s lighting and rigging supplier. “The MAC Viper Profiles on the back wall played a big role in the eye candy, while the Flares are great for the hits and accents. Unfortunately, when Vipers aren’t looked after you can tell. However, as soon as we got to Production Park and turned on the Vipers Lite Alternative provided, we saw they were crisp, bright and well maintained. It was so refreshing. All of their kit is wonderful, and they’ve been good at troubleshooting.”
A total of 12 Claypaky Sharpys along the second truss were over rigged to “provide further aerial effects” which Adams said, “makes the set feel and look bigger by bringing the lights up to the audience”. A further 12 MAC Viper Performances for the band and “a bit of front fill” handled the front truss key light for George Ezra.
Carter interjected: “The Claypaky Scenius are a brilliant profile fixture, packing plenty of punch and beautiful optics for those tight beam looks and big gobo breakups.”
Also, on the rig were 2 Robe BMFL Robospot remote follow spot systems should the singer move around stage, a likelihood Adams measured as “fairly minimal.”
A litany of GLP fixtures also provided big looks, including 36 GLP impression X4 Bar 10s and 36 x GLP impression X4 Bar 20s. Meanwhile, 50 Molefay 2 lights and 19 Molefay 4 lights provided additional illumination. “The GLP X4 20 Bars allowed us to both illuminate the living room wallpaper based on George’s artwork and create light curtain effects,” Carter stated.
At FOH, Adams operated 2 MA Lighting grandMA2 full sizes for lighting control along with a grandMA2 Lite at dimmers which he purposed for “tech’ing while loading in or as a backup should anything happen to the multi at FOH”. Thankfully, he smiles, it’s never happened. It’s probably the reason MA Lighting has been his go-to console for the last three years.
During the show Adams made use of timecode to transition through various scenic elements of the show. “Timecode really helps because, even though the setlist doesn’t vary, the lighting levels from venue to venue do.
FOH Engineer, Mike Timm; Monitor Engineer, Oliver Weeks; Systems Engineer, James Coghlan; Video Director, Phil Woodhead; Lighting Director, Dom Adams; Media Server Programmer, Joe Lott.
It makes the show a lot easier to run.” On whether timecode hinders the human aspect, Adams “would argue not”, because he is “still hands-on and controlling things mid show, such as balancing key light and using audience Molefay” to improve the picture where necessary. Timecode is key to achieving continuity and every crowd should get to experience the same level of show. Obviously, there are elements throughout, such as drum stabs and snare hits, which are timecoded to make sure they’re perfectly timed and link in with certain video accents.”
But it’s part and parcel of a great audience experience, Adams reflected: “The show attracts a wide array of people who can all sing along to the music. It’s been a wonderful production to be a part of. Every night is a sell-out and the crowd love it. George interacts with the crowd a lot through stories of the songs are taken on a journey through the setlist.”
SPECTACULAR RIVAL In the FOH hot seat was Video Director, Phil Woodhead of TouringMiniCams, who told TPi the creative team designed the IMAG style early in the design process by “choosing a long form style of show rather than effects as it suits the music and the vibe”. Indeed, he added, Ezra’s tours are “very relaxed”, an atmosphere everyone enjoys which is filtered down “from above”. But that’s not to say the crew isn’t working hard to make a great show for audiences.
Woodhead noted: “I’ve never seen venues this packed in my twenty-odd years. Even behind FOH it has was packed. Glasgow was unbelievable – I’d never seen that many people. It’s such a diverse demographic too, ranging from 8-year-olds to people in their 80s.”
The VD outlined the role of video on the “colourful and varied” tour saying it “either contrasts or compliments the lighting”. Subscribing to the notion that two – or five – heads are better than one, Woodhead continued:
“It’s nice to be in a team where everyone’s creative ideas are in the pot together.”
Shooting content for the IMAG screens as well as live feeds showcased in all three windows, Woodhead walked TPi through the aesthetic requirements. Firstly, there’s what he calls “the money shot” in which “George is strutting his stuff with beautiful light behind.” But they also need to include the band, he continued. “We’re looking for really nice, clear, considered shots. They don’t have to create urgency as the music does that for us. You have to work out how to make it tidy but exciting. The brass section come and dance, as does the keyboard player, so it’s easy to film. You just need to be aware of George’s needs, as we try to make sure every shot reflects the positive vibe.”
The visual elements of the show combined a mixture of custom animated content with the integration of multiple live camera feeds. The design of the content was led by Carter and Pablo Beckett of Bryte Design, who worked closely with content production houses: Observatory, Atticus Finch, Northouse Films and Fabrique Fantastique to deliver the visuals – which under the creative direction of Bryte Design’s in-house team – resulted in an interesting and diverse range of content, while simultaneously sticking to a coherent theme. Simon Harris of Bryte Design coordinated the delivery of the content alongside Media Server Programmer Joe Lott. “With constant revisions and updates coming during production rehearsals from the five different creators there was a lot of data to manage,” Lott explained.
Everything was programmed to timecode on MA Lighting grandMA2 consoles for video control, which during the show allowed Lott to “focus on balancing the visuals”, he continued: “I’m constantly making adjustments to the brightness, contrast and colour of the camera feeds to balance them within the entire stage picture.”
Production Manager, Jake Vernum & Stage Manager, Toby Dennis; Popcorn Catering’s Carla Morris & Steffy Head.
Lott manned the show via 2 Green Hippo Boreal+ media servers. Lott explained: “The Green Hippo Boreal+ servers have been great on this project. The hardware allows us to take in four SDI camera feeds while introducing minimal delay to the signal flow. Hippotizer also gives us lots of flexibility in how we can manipulate and control the assets we bring into the server. With only a selection of songs having fully custom content I worked with Cate and Phil to bring together custom assets and the multiple
camera feeds to create the visual backdrop for various songs in the set. “I found myself really utilising the colour blocks feature on Hippo. This allowed me to break up the sections of the window frames into individual blocks which I could control from the MA2 as if they were an RGB lighting fixture, giving me the ability to build effects to mask and reveal the content within the sections of the window frames. Something that we use multiple times throughout the show.”
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The camera setup comprised 86x long lenses at FOH with 2 Sony cameras in the pit on a track and dolly using 24x lenses. On stage there was a single handheld camera with wide-angle lens and 3 Marshall HD lipstick cams on the drums and keyboards, supplied by TMC and an Agile PTZ camera.
Lott explained the huge camera selection gave way to “a mix of close up shots” including “George in the centre flagged by reaction shots of the audience”, as well as musicians in the band and support vocalists.
For control, Woodhead turned to a Ross Carbonite switcher and thanked PRG for supplying the kit and crew. He concluded: “It’s a beautifully crafted show. Speaking from a creative standpoint, it’s a considered light show with a couple of little gags that look really nice. Expect to see him rocking out as well. It has a great rhythm. You can see the audience bouncing and it can be infectious. It’s inoffensive, easy to listen to, and I love it. I’m always tapping my foot.”
Lott echoed Woodhead’s sentiments: “It’s a big scale pop show but it feels like you’re sitting in George’s living room listening to him play from morning to night, surrounded by standing lamps and a gramophone.”
LISTEN TO THE MAN Making sure the sonic pace and quality reflected the buzz surrounding George Ezra was Mike Timm, a veteran sound engineer who has worked with the likes of Pulp and James and Richard Hawley, to name but a few. Timm picked up the story: “This is probably the most pop thing I’ve ever done, in that I’ve never worked with a band which plays the same setlist every night,” he reminisced. “It’s also the first time I’ve done something where it all runs to timecode because there’s a lot of automation and programming involved.”
A Directout Technologies Split.converter connected to both MADI ports on the SD12. Port A fed a Ferrofish A16 Ultra Mk2, while port B fed a DiGiGrid
MGO. The Ferrofish A/D – D/A converter also fed 2 UAD Apollo Quads via ADAT running plugins for inserts on drums, guitars and brass inputs/groups. Timm said: “I’m mainly using the UAD Distressors, Sonnox Dynamic Eq, Neve & API channels and Studer A800 tape emulation.”
The Ferrofish A/D – D/A converter was connected via its analogue i/o to an IGS S-type compressor for the drum subgroup, an Elysia Xpressor > Elysia Xfilter for the band subgroup and a DBX160X for the bass. All the 500 series units were housed in a Radial Engineering workhorse rack. The analogue outs of the Ferrofish also fed an SPX990 for snare reverbs and an old MOTU MTP AV to convert SMPTE to MIDI timecode. “The MGO is used with Waves Multirack and a redundant pair of servers for backing vocal, brass and key groups and a couple of H-Reverbs for Toms and BVs and H-Delay for George’s vocal,” Timm explained.
George Ezra’s vocal chain was achieved via an analogue line from stage through XTA DS800 – which boosted level and reduced noise in the 150m multicore – to a Focusrite ISA220, a Lindell Audio 7X500 VIN compressor and finally, a BSS DPR901 MK1. An additional Lexicon PCM-91 connected via the console’s AES ports was dedicated to Ezra’s vocal reverb.
Timm delineated: “Each song runs to timecode to which I sync a PC running Cubase to send MIDI program changes to the SPX990, PCM-91 and Waves Multirack which runs on the same PC. It also sends Timecode to the SD12 and MIDI program changes to the SD12 to fire some macros. The console had at least one snapshot per song, each of which fires at preset timecode events, mainly for mutes and the odd VCA ride.”
The FOH Engineer utilised a DiGiCo SD12, sharing an SD-Rack and an SD-Nano Rack with monitors via Optocore at 48k. “The SD12 has a Waves DMI card which I use to record around 60 channels to a Macbook Pro for virtual soundcheck and to give the MD a board mix with added ambient mics to review,” he stated, gesturing to the mixing console.
As per Timm’s request, Adlib supplied L-Acoustics ‘racks-and-stacks’ to
sound out the talented chart-topping young artist. Having really pushed for his “favourite sounding” system, Timm spoke fondly of its capabilities: “As soon as I throw pink noise through L-Acoustics I know I’m going to be able to get my snare drum to really smack.”
System Engineer James Coghlan interjected: “On the last run we were touring an L-Acoustics K2 system of which Mike is a big fan. The obvious choice is to jump up to K1 on the main hangs and K2 on the side hangs, which has worked brilliantly,” he remarked. “Mike has also never been a fan of a massive sub array on the floor in the pit because you end up with the front row being overpowered with sub, so you then have to bring up your lip fill sends to match, and when you get to the back of the room, all of the sub energy has tailed off.
“Thus, it was quite an important decision Mike and I made while looking ahead at this tour, was to fly subs, to avoid killing the front row, and also giving the audience in the seats the same sounding show as those stood on the arena floor, this is something that Vernum quickly jumped on board with as he was keen to work with us to ensure we provided that best audio experience possible.”
The main speaker arrays comprised 14 K1 with 4 Kara down with 8 K1- SB flown behind, which Coghlan said “carries that impact to the gods which really helps in spaces like Manchester Arena”. The PA rig also boasted 12 K2 on the side hangs, supplemented with an addition 4 K2 per side for the O2 Arena dates in London.
To cover the upstage, a 270° hang boasted of 12 Karas per side. Additionally, 12 KS28s were placed on the floor in a broadside array, with 4 ARCS II per side as infills and 5 X8s in the pit as lip fills. An additional 8 K1 boxes were deployed per side as delays in The O2 Arena.
Vernum reflected on the move: “Adding the additional 270º hangs was an absolute no brainer for this tour. The demand for tickets was extremely high and this gave us the opportunity to sell every seat possible across the tour while offering every member of the audience an enhanced audio experience.”
A total of 55 LA12X amplifiers drove the PA rig. For hands on system EQ tweaks, Timm fed a Lake LM44 processor from the DiGiCo SD12 matrix with outputs for L, R, sub and fills which was then sent as AES to Coghlan’s system processors with an analogue backup.
“I’ve got an Outline Newton as the console matrix at FOH, which takes AES and analogue from both the main and support consoles at FOH, and also some ancillary inputs from my tuning rig for tuning and safety announcements,” Coghlan said, signalling to the kit. “This Newton then spits out Dante and an analogue backup down to 4 LM26’s on stage via a Tac4 Fibre multi, which we use to convert from Dante to AES and analogue which goes to my amps. I use the LM26’s on stage for PA EQ.”
Coghlan ran Outline Dashboard on an Apple Mac Mini at FOH to control
the Outline Newton, and another Apple Mac Mini running L-Acoustics Network Manager, both housed in a Sonnet Rackmac. He used both Smaart 8 and Live Capture Pro to tune the system, choosing a Roland Octacapture and a Line 6 XD-75 with an iSemcon iSEMic 725TR as his wireless measurement mic, along with a set of 4 Rational Acoustics RTA420 mics. Using L-Acoustics Soundvision, Coghlan was “able to get a massive head start” on his tuning process with the FIR mapping and array morphing in the software. “It really speeds up my workflow when I come to tune the system, which is great on this tour because it’s a pretty full day,” he enthused.
Adlib worked alongside Stylus Productions who supplied the audio control package consisting of a DiGiCo SD12 at FOH and an SD10 for monitor world, two SD Racks and two SD-Nano Racks fed from a Radial Engineering transformer isolated split system, a networked Shure Axient system for the wireless brass and Shure PSM1000 IEMs, plus a variety of mics. Timm rhapsodised about the collaboration with Stylus Productions Managing Director, Oliver Weeks. “It’s convenient to have the supplier on the road. If there’s something we can tweak to improve the show while we’re on the road, he’ll go ahead and introduce it.”
Weeks first jumped on board as Monitor Engineer in January 2018 during the academy venue run. Weeks mixed with a DiGiCo SD10 at his fingertips. “I chose the SD10 because I enjoy the workflow and we needed some extra channels at monitors which wasn’t available on the SD12 at the time. The custom macro buttons on the 10 are great. We have multiple talk mics onstage, so I have macros programmed to route these in various combinations to suit the scenario. We have different macros for soundcheck, rehearsal and show for example. The multiple groups function for snapshots is also very powerful – an example would be if George needs one of his guitars louder that day, I can make that change across all the relevant songs in a couple of button presses,” he said.
Weeks waxed lyrical about his approach to mixing the show. “I approach George’s ears mix like a broadcast mix with plenty of vocal and ambience. He really likes to hear the crowd and feel the room. The biggest challenge is giving him as much of that as possible without compromising the mix and adjusting for the different rooms. This involves lots of fader rides, as there’s plenty of audience participation. The success of this also relies on a consistent FOH sound, which of course we get from Coghlan and Timm out front. I use a pair of Sennheiser MKH416 shotguns for the ambience mics.”
Weeks, Ezra, and Musical Director, James Wyatt all utilised Jerry Harvey Audio Laylas IEMs, while the rest of the musical cohort used Cosmic Ears CE6Ps, a Stockport-based company that received great praise for its creative flair. “They do some fun artwork and the band, who have all gone on to Cosmics IEMs are loving it. A couple of them had limited experienced with in-ears but they’ve taken to the CE6Ps really well.”
Phoenix, I am his point of contact. It’s been great to play a part in George Ezra’s first headline arena tour. We are also supplying the same for the European leg in May and then for the festival leg we are supplying an artist bus along with two additional 16 berths.”
For mics, Weeks and Timm deployed a mixture of Shure, Sennheiser, Audio Technica, DPA, Beyerdynamic and Neumann KM184s for drum overheads. “We’re also using Neumann U87s alongside the dynamic mics for both the guitars which is an unusual thing to do these days but it’s something new we’ve brought in because it sounds much better and really smooth.
Ezra’s drummer has recently expanded his kit setup to include some percussion, so the engineers added extra mics for congas and percussion toys to accommodate this. “We’ve now added a third overhead for a cymbal that has a tap chain attached, It’s a quiet source so it requires its own spot mic,” Weeks explained.
“We also have 8 channels of Shure Axient Wireless for the brass as they run around the stage a lot and dance, occupying various position during the show. We’re using the ADX1m micro-packs with DPA 4099 mics. We chose the micro packs for maximum discretion, they’re very lightweight so they don’t interfere with how the musician holds their instrument.”
He concluded: “It’s a lot of fun working on this tour, there is a special interaction between George and the audience.” Weeks credited the atmosphere to the concept of the living room but mulled over how production made it work in a 20,000-capacity arena, before answering: “Well, the stage set and George’s chats with the audience draws them in and you certainly feel like you’re in his living room - which is a huge part of it.”
RIDING SHOTGUN KB Event supplied a total of 10 KB Event mega tractors and trailers. Lead driver, Steve Crawley, who has a wealth of experience on music tours, ensured the smooth operation of the beginning of the tour in the UK, before it moves on to a more challenging schedule in Europe.
Loading on 1 May 2019, the scheduling of European leg, which requires double drives and driver swaps, was overseen by KB Event MD, Stuart McPherson. “It was important that we found the best, and most costeffective solution to the European schedules, without compromising on the quality of our service. I worked closely with both Steve, my Operations Team and PM, Jake Vernum, to ensure that what I was proposing was both achievable by my team and acceptable to Production.”
McPherson continued: “It became immediately apparent to me that Jake’s trust in our ability to deliver what we promised him - both in terms of our service and his budget – gave us the scope to be able to utterly fulfil our role, involving him when we felt clarification on our proposed solutions might be needed. Jake and his team have been great to work for and we look forward to our relationship developing and growing as time passes.” Phoenix Bussing were also brought onboard to ensure the journey was smooth, supplying a Kassbohrer Setra 431DT model artist bus with 8 bunks and an artist suite and 3 x 16 berth double decker busses. Phoenix Bussing’s Sean Gerrard, who worked in close collaboration with Tour Manager, Trevor Plunkett and Vernum, commented: “They are both a pleasure to work with and nothing is an issue, I have worked with Trevor for quite a while now, firstly on the road as a driver and now, from the office at
PARADISE In the midst of George Ezra’s toe tapping live offering, an army of attendees spanning generations hinted at the universal pull of George Ezra’s music. Fundamentally, the artist is uninhibited with the quasi rock ‘n’ roll ideologies of conventional arena billed guitarists, instead adopting an understated and widely appreciated boy next door charm backed up with expert storytelling and musicianship. Vernum summed up: “The demand is super high. The SSE Hydro show was the highest-selling indoor show in Scottish history. Overall, it’s been a fun couple of weeks and I appreciate how hard everyone has worked. Touring three days on and one off is a tough schedule but the entire crew have pulled out all the stops to make it happen.” TPi Photos: Andrew Benge & TPi www.georgeezra.com www.productionpark.co.uk www.prg.com/uk/en www.kbevent.com www.phoenix-bussing.co.uk www.adlib.co.uk www.stylus-productions.com www.allaccessuk.com www.specialz.co.uk www.totalfabs.com www.brytedesign.co.uk www.lite-alternative.com www.fisheye.eu www.touringminicams.com www.popcorncatering.com
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