Sir Paul McCartney
May 2012 Issue 153
Adamson’s Project Energia continues apace with a PA supplied by C.Vilar amplification for Sir Paul McCartney’s debut Colombian concert at the El Campin Stadium in Bogotá. Simon Duff journeyed to South America and witnessed a concert raising the bar for latin america productions.
In February Sir Paul McCartney released his first ever album of standards, Kisses On The Bottom, taken from songs written in the 1920s and 1930s. The album title is lifted from its first song, the 1935 Fats Waller number I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter. The record features piano contributions from Diana Krall and guest appearances by Eric Clapton and Stevie Wonder. As follow up to the album, in April he set off on the On The Run Latin American stadium tour taking in Uruguay, Paraguay, Colombia, Brazil and Mexico. McCartney was accompanied by his longstanding band and Front of House Engineer, Paul ‘Pab’ Boothroyd, who has been working with Paul McCartney since 1989 and who also mixes AC/DC and Paul Simon.
Pab started his career, working for Concert Sound, in the ‘80s, mixing Monitors and FOH for a diverse range of artists including Pat Metheny, The Clash, Tom Jones, Marc Almond, Chris de Burgh and The Psychedelic Furs. Talking prior to the sound check at the El Campin Stadium, Pab explained the challenges for a major artist touring in Latin America: “The conditions are extreme as far as audiences, policing, and especially climate are concerned. Logistically, we decided that because it was so expensive to ship a PA over here, I would use local production companies and source each PA locally. The fact that we are doing three massive Stadium shows in six days this week has made it a necessity. Our control and backline fly between each country, but it would have been far too expensive to include the PA and not possible to drive the distances between countries. For Bogotá I knew that C. Vilar had a lot of Adamson speakers. Jesse Adamson is an old friend and he recommended them to me and let me know that they had recently purchased a lot of E15 speakers. I wanted to deal with one company who had a lot of gear. Jesse kindly offered technical support and flew over Adamson’s Application Engineer, Ewan McDonald, who designed the PA for me and has been here overseeing the install with C.Vilar’s eight-man crew. We only arrived late last night and we turned up this morning with all the control gear and backline and did a line check and are ready to go. C.Vilar and Ewan have been brilliant.”
For the PA at El Campin Pab talked to McDonald explaining what he wanted and how he likes to work. Pab said: “I like to have a lot of headroom in front of me and in many ways I want that main left right hang to almost seem like it can do the whole stadium, and then just augment the sound beyond the mid throw. So I asked for substantial front and side hangs. The subs have to be decent but I don’t want them to be pounding away on the floor. I try and get everything out of the main hang and then bring in the subs to anchor the low end.”
McDonald started working in sound in 1999 as a system engineer and monitor engineer for Norwest Productions in Australia, touring with the likes of Iron Maiden and Linkin Park, and working on a host of Olympic Ceremony events. The affable Aussie is now based in Toronto at the Adamson HQ as an application engineer, handling training and tour support.
The key components of Energia include a series of new loudspeaker systems with AVB networked DSP and Class D modules controlled by a network management system including 3D simulation and diagnostics, with advanced cable and power distribution. To ensure the reliability and a smooth integration of the technology, there are three phases involved in the release of the first loudspeaker system in Project Energia. Phase one begun in July 2011 when Adamson unveiled the E15 Line Source system with a series of strategic beta partners. Beta I will be confirming the sonic performance and packaging [this includes transport and rigging] of the loudspeakers. Beta II incorporates the Class D amplifier, cabling and ground control unit. Beta III will introduce the AVB network and DSP.
As expected, all speakers in Project Energia make use of Adamson’s Kevlar drivers featuring their Advanced Cone Architecture and Co-Linear Drive Module technology. “A key part of the design in all Adamson loudspeakers is the use of Kevlar drivers, an advantage in that it has an incredibly high stiffness to weight ratio,” said McDonald. “Paper and composite cones start to break up much earlier when you really push them. This is one of the key reasons our speakers hold up so well at higher volumes.”
He continued: “The E15 rigging is very simple and safe to use. The angles are indicated with a combination of colour coding and numbers, and all angles are set on the ground. The bumper and extender bar are lightweight and they travel on the stack. Everything is preset on the ground in stacks of four before your points are ready. All you do is then raise the cabinets, four at a time, wheel the next stack underneath, lower the top cabinets down and they connect automatically. All angles then open into place as the array is raised. Lowering the array is just as easy. Another huge selling point is the time to hang. Once it’s set on the ground and my rigging points are ready, by say, 11:30, I can have the rig in the air by 11:35!”
EL CAMPIN PA
The main left and right line array hang for the El Campin Adamson PA each consisted of 15 E15’s, with two SpekTrix and two SpekTrix Ws hung underneath. The subs stacked underneath the main hangs consisted of eight T21’s per side. The outer subs for the side seating consisted of nine SB1000’s per side stacked in a three deep end-fire array. This kept the outer subs covering the side seating without too much interaction on the floor. The side hangs consisted of twelve Y18’s over four Y10’s. For front fill, four Y10’s per side and four SpekTrix across the front edge of stage were used. The first delay line, situated behind FOH, consisted of three SpekTrix cabinets per side. For the stands, three delay lines per side were used. The first delay line consisted of four E15’s either side, repeated for the second delay line and then the last delay line consisted of two stacks of eight Y10’s. The delay time for the first delay line was 195ms, 280ms for the second and 360ms for the third.
The way the system was run started with a left right output, front fill and sub feed from Pab’s Avid Venue console into two XTA 448s, which acted as Matrix Mixers taking those signals and splitting them out into each speaker position. So every single speaker position had an individual feed from FOH. That got distributed to all the amps and processors. All the processing was taken care of by an assortment of Lake LM26’s and DLPs. The amplifiers consisted of Lab.gruppen 10,000’s, 7000’s, 6400’s, 3400’s, PLM 10,000’s and 20,000’s.
Ewan’s design process for the concert started with a 3D model of the stadium supplied by C.Vilar. That set the plans for the initial design. Once he got the seating plot and stage position, using Shooter and Adamson’s new 3D prediction and control software, Blueprint, he designed all the angles in the PA and gave C.Vilar the relevant amplifier and processor information.
C.Vilar Amplification who own one of the largest Adamson inventories in South America and is a beta partner for Project Energies, supplied the entire PA at El Campin. Recent Colombian productions with C.Vilar at the helm include FIFA, Coldplay, US President Barack Obama’s recent visit, The Cartagena Classic Music Festival, Rock al Parque and The Bicentennial Celebrations of Colombia in Bogota. Sound Designer Leonardo Vilar, who worked alongside McDonald at El Campin, commented at the concert: “Energia’s global network is growing rapidly and it’s exciting to be a part of the vision from the beginning. Energia is without question the world’s leading concept as far as innovation and interactivity is concerned. Many of Adamson’s competitors have launched products with small incremental improvements in their driver technology, but no one has a package quite as revolutionary as the short and long term vision of Project Energia.” C.Vilar also stocks Adamson Y18, Y10, T21, SpekTrix, Metrix, SX18 and M series. “Huge credit goes out to Leo and his team for implementing a flawless system,” commented McDonald.
FRONT OF HOUSE MIX
On stage, the band line-up consisted of Paul McCartney on vocals, bass, electric and acoustic guitars, mandolin and pianos, Rusty Anderson on lead guitar, Brian Ray, guitar and bass, Paul ‘Wix’ Wickens on keyboards and drummer Abe Laboriel Jr. Pab mixed the show on the Avid VENUE, using 72 inputs. The desk travels with the tour and is part of a hire package from Clair Brothers. He explained how he uses the Venue. “I have programmed the desk up on a snap shot basis for each song. So when we say do Live And Let Die, I recall that snapshot and everything should fall into place fairly accurately. Then I mix from that position. FX and dynamics wise, I use what is on board with the Venue Pack. For example I use a Sony Oxford for the vocal EQ, as a plug in and I also use the Eventide Anthology Package for harmony delays.”
As Paul McCartney approaches his 70th birthday, his performance and band continue to breathe new life into classic timeless songs. At the soundcheck, a select audience was treated to a half hour set including Penny Lane, and Yesterday. A few hours later, an ecstatic 33,000 sold out crowd witnessed a non stop two and a half hour set covering McCartney’s career. Opening with a blistering version of Magical Mystery Tour, other highlights included majestic versions of Band on the Run, Jet, Hey Jude and My Valentine from the new album. Live And Let Die, used pyrotechnics in front of and behind the stage. Helter Skelter then Golden Slumbers brought the show to a close. After the gig at FOH control, smiles and handshakes all round. Pab concluded: “One of the great things about using the E15 was the amazing delivery of clarity, punch and throwing capability. I kept wanting to tame the sound that was right in your face. Normally you are trying to get a PA to do just that but we had no problems tonight. A very very efficient speaker indeed in all areas of vocal and band dynamics from a delicate song like Blackbird to the dB demanding Live And Let Die. The interesting thing was not during the show but afterwards when all the comments and remarks from individuals associated with the tour said the sound tonight was amazing everywhere.”
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