PRODUCTION HIRE DRAW W8L LONGBOW FOR PETER ANDRÉ
With a full television crew recording his every move, and 'meet and greet' packages (which also took into account a private soundcheck viewing) on offer at every show, Peter André's big arena tour this December would not make life easy for the production company.
But for Mark 'Knocker' Neil's sound and lighting company Production Hire, the budget thrown at the stage and set design for this extravagant show could hardly have been more generous, as he rigged three different Martin Audio line array systems scalable to the different venue capacities.
At the UK's largest arena, O2 in London, his main weapon was the W8L Longbow - 13 elements a side, plus two W8LD downfill boxes at the base. Borrowing a couple of enclosures a side from Capital Sound Hire for this gig, Production Hire nonetheless serviced all remaining UK arenas from their own inventory - including hangs of W8LC Compacts for sidefill or main PA duties, eight LE700 stage wedges and some Wavefront W3 infills.
The side hang at the O2 comprised nine W8LC (plus two W8LCD Downfills) - and in the midst of all the razzmatazz, Knocker Neil even supplied a couple of W8/W8S stacks for the glitzy VIP after-party.
After 15 years in the sound and lighting business (commencing with raves), Neil has latterly become better known for his work at major festivals. This is the biggest tour he has serviced by far.
It was at one of these festivals in 2009 that he met André's tour manager Johnny Proctor, and got on so well that he was offered a seven-week theatre tour back in February. Peter André's team liked not only the service provided by Production Hire but the sound of the Martin Audio W8LC in particular.
The new tour was to promote the album Accelerate, and with its journey into a more urban groove the sound man knew that Longbow would be perfect. 'The Martin Audio enclosures are horn-loaded and we really like the sound; Longbow is particularly powerful and versatile, and handles dance music fantastically well. It's easy to rig and covered the O2 - 90ft up to the top seats - without any problem at all. It's the first time I have worked here but it's quite a forgiving room, and fairly 'dead' acoustically.'
But with CAN Associates handling TV production - and sightlines needing to be preserved with high PA trims (particularly in the wrap-around venues) - the tour had been challenging.
The PA was rigged in one of three configurations. 'On the smallest gigs we used the side hang W8LC arrays as main FOH. The next size up we used the Longbow with no side hangs - and at places like MEN and O2 we have used both.'
Optimising the system were four XTA DP448 processors, with XTA comps, gates and graphics also in the rack.
Dave Lamb was sending mixes from a Midas Heritage 3000, with 48 inputs at front of house, while John Shaw in monitor world, was aboard a PM5D. System tech was Paul Trice.
With top LD Vince Foster designing and operating a massive visual display (with moving stage elements), and with the fast set changes and large onstage cast (including full band, BV's and dancers) small wonder that it needed five artics to truck the gear.
Summing up, Knocker Neil said, 'This comes at the end of a very good year. It's a proper grown-up show and it has done really well for us.'
Further information from:
Maureen Hayes, Martin Audio
Tel: +44 (0)1494 535312
Fax: +44 (0)1494 438669
Jerry Gilbert, JGP Public Relations
Tel: +44 (0)1707 258525
Fax: +44 (0)1707 267140