REPRODUCING THE MAGIC OF QUEEN ON STAGE
Canada's Briere Production Group Sets The Scene With Martin Audio
For U.S. Tour Of Australian 'Queen––It's A Kinda Magic' Production
To make it absolutely clear, 'Queen––It's A Kinda Magic' is not a Queen cover or tribute band. It's described by the Australian production company that's taken the show around the world as 'the theatrical creation of the very best of Queen live in concert, which has captured the imagination of Queen fans everywhere.'
Having appeared in Spain, France, Germany, Portugal, Turkey, Canada, Australia, the Middle East, New Zealand and China, this theatrical recreation of one of rock's most iconic bands recently launched a coast-to-coast U.S. tour to test the market response over here.
The Briere Production Group of Burnaby, British Columbia handled tour production for the show, which included a dozen dates in 2,000 to 3,000–seat theaters like the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles. The production features an extended set of 30 Queen anthems from the band's 1980s arena tour era and a cast of Australian musician/actors including Craig Pesco as the inimitable front man Freddie Mercury, Travis Hair as guitarist Brian May, Brett Millican as drummer Roger Taylor and Mitch Cairns as bassist John Deacon.
With a solid Australian and international fan base, the concept of 'Queen––It's A Kinda Magic' is obviously working at the grass roots level. According to Chris Briere, Operations Manager for BPG, the show 'sold strong, had sellouts in L.A. and Fresno and did well on the East Coast as well. They'll be coming back in 2008 for more dates.'
Asked about his company's primary audio responsibilities for the show, Briere explains that, 'tonality-wise, they were definitely trying to recreate the exact sounds of the band. The guitar player uses a Brian May guitar with the amp modeling based on the Vox AC30, so they wanted that same tonality. We had to come up with a great overall sound that was really clear and didn't color the sound too much. Their FOH engineer was particularly pleased with the midrange clarity of the Martin Audio W8LCs.'
According to Briere, another advantage of the W8LC's was their weight. 'We had to play different venues every day,' he recalls, 'and a lot of these soft seat theaters have limited rigging capacity in house to hang heavy boxes. The big benefit of the W8LC is that it only weighs 128 lbs a box, which you can fly off a single point and they always provide great coverage. We had 10 W8LC's a side with a dozen WSX subs ground stacked six a side.'
Continuing his description, Briere notes, 'The production company also liked the horn loaded WSX subs which were incredibly powerful in some of the theaters, even with just three or four a side. For a single 18', they're really quite amazing.'
The FOH system included Martin Audio MA2.8 and MA4.2 power amplifiers, a Yamaha PM5D-RH digital console, Lake Contours, a wireless tablet and dbx 162SL's. A Yamaha M7CL, Turbosound TFM330s, and QSC amplification was used for the Monitor System. Microphones included Shure, AKG, Radial and Audix.
Lighting, also designed to recapture the power of the original Queen experience, featured an automation system made up of Martin MAC700 Profiles, Martin MAC600 NT's and Martin Atomic Strobes; with ETC S4-Pars, ACL's and 20 Lite Blinders used as conventionals. ETC Sensor was used for dimming; a HOG IPC for control, with a truss and rigging system that included Christie Lites, CM Motors and Skjonberg. The BPG crew included Lloyd Hurt for lighting and Rico Domirti as the systems engineer.
While some may have qualms about the idea of seeing a theatrical representation of a landmark band such as Queen, Chris maintains, 'The crowd was really into it. In several theaters like the Kodak, they were up on their feet with the first song and stayed that way until the end of the show.'