10:30pm - mix position and mere minutes till show time and I am surrounded 18,000 Spaniards that are ready to rock. The pre show thrill is contagious. So many people so excited! But wow, this is one big echo chamber of a room and what I refer to as "not an optimum acoustic environment."
Here is a pic of FOH just after doors opened:
Last night I started zeroing in on a setup that works best. I ran vocals, kick and snare to the inside clusters, bass, guitar, toms and cymbals to the outside clusters. The idea is that the bass and guitar donâ€™t really step on each other frequency wise. The vocals pretty much have their own PA system except the short bursts of kick and snare, which are of short enough duration to where you do not hear any conflict there. It was quite interesting to clearly here the drop in clarity when I moved the vocals into the outer cluster with bass and guitar. The plan is working! Uh, the band is walking. Time to rock.
4am â€“ Bus bunk. Overnight drive to Madrid. The show ran a bit smoother for me as I had a better handle on the mixing strategy and also I mixed at a bit lower level. It is hard not to get too excited and turn it up when I have that much power at my fingertips, not sure exactly how many watts but figure somewhere between 200,000 and 300,000 watts.
**** Issue of the Day â€“ Pro Tools Crashes ****
The vibration from the subwoofers is crashing the Pro Tools system. Went down 3 times last night and once the previous night. We are going to record to a different hard drive at the next show. We currently use an external 500 gig. Maybe a lower density drive will be more stable and we have a pile of 120 gig drives. Plus there is an extra internal 400 gig drive as well.
This tour we upgraded the touring recording rig from the old DA88 system to a 32 channel G5 based Pro Tools system.
The quick run down is:
32 Channels of analog in, AES/EBU out Focusrite mic preâ€™s into
32 channel AES/EBU input Lightviper 500 ft fiber optical snake into
Digidesign 192â€™s plus a
Sync I/O for locking to video, screen, powered monitors, Command 8 and APC.
The recording rig allows the mic preâ€™s to be on stage or at FOH and the recorder to be up to 500 feet away. We carry everything necessary to record and mix down a live show. The entire rig including the 500 ft snake, 10 spare drives and all the cables fits in 2 15 space racks and three Pelican cases and it takes about 15 minutes to setup. Now we just need to stop those damn hard drive errors.
**** Highlight of the Day - The Automatic Espresso Machine on the Bus ****
We have a one button espresso machine on our bus. That is huge! Not only that, our tour bus quite nice, especially for a Euro bus and the driver, Jans, is super cool! Tight european roads and narrow streets limit the width and wheel bases of European buses making them smaller and bouncier than the North American counterparts. This bus is pretty well modeled after the ones from home rather than the cramped dark musty double decker's I have ended up in on so many tours.
Probably not the best time for coffee now though, as my vision is blurring. Sleep time.
I remove the light focusing blow-up man-doll from my bunk as there is not enough room for both of us. Maybe some other night if I get lonely, but tonight the man-doll gets to sleep in the back lounge with no pillow. And I climb into my cubicle, alone.