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Unique gigs

Matt Tuck played and sang as he skydived out of a helicopter above Norway for a recent Jägermeister Ice Cold Gig

EXTREEEEEEEME! The ‘extreme’ gig has become a technically achievable phenomenon over the past ten years. Musicians have played deeper, higher and colder than even before but, as Kevin Hilton reports, there are more records to be broken and more boundaries to be breached


taging live concerts can be difficult enough, what with the logistics of getting artists, crew and equipment from one venue to another, loading all the gear in and then contemplating the get-out even before the first note is played. Despite these routine, everyday challenges, some performers, managers and promoters have pushed the boundaries further to stage ever more elaborate shows on a grander scale, marshalling all the technology and technical know-how available to them. This has led to a succession of gigs that now nestle in the pages of the Guinness Book of Records as the deepest, highest altitude or coldest musical performances. But the bible of extreme achievement no longer includes an entry for loudest band or performance, presumably because it does not want to be seen encouraging anything that could cause hearing loss and lead to lawsuits.

The stage for The Who’s infamous show at Charlton Athletic FC’s The Valley stadium, at the time one of the largest in Britain with a capacity of 75,000

Bigger... During the 1970s Pink Floyd began to set a new standard for production, with lasers, projected images, lights and what was for the time a sophisticated surround sound system based on quad. This was used to recreate the soundscapes of albums, such as Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here. After Roger Water’s acrimonious departure, each ‘faction’ carried on exploiting this technology. Pink Floyd’s last major tour, for The Division Bell album in 1994, involved quad

The beast grows ever bigger: the immense world of the current U2 iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE tour

Louder... For many years the Guinness Book of Records recognised The Who as the loudest band on the planet. This was set on 31 May, 1976 during the Who Put the Boot In mini tour, which played three football grounds in England, Wales and Scotland. The performance at Charlton Athletic’s The Valley stadium hit a peak of 126dB, measured at 32m from the loudspeaker stacks. Like Pink Floyd and other bands at the time, the group had set up its own equipment company, ML Executives, to support its technical needs. But with the size of the venues being played ML realised it did not have enough gear and so brought in additional cabinets from Tasco. Gary Marks is now managing director of ML Executives, but in 1976 was starting out in the live sound

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Tickets for the infamous gig, where levels reached a record breaking 126dB

business with Tasco. “The two companies both used Martin Audio systems and they put their stocks together for the three shows,” he recalls. “This made a four-way rig including Philishaves and 4882s. Because the band and the crew had a lot of equipment, they turned it up. The Who were fairly loud in those days but the aim wasn’t to break any records.”

21/07/2016 22:49

PSN Live 2016 Digital  
PSN Live 2016 Digital