Coachella is massive and magical. For sure by now if you follow world of musical news, you have heard at least two things about Coachella 2009. "Paul McCartney played a legendary two and half hour show and the sound was shut off after the Cure went ten minutes over curfew. And surely too, each of these two event descriptions were peppered with some form of journalistic opinions. The heart wrenching moment of Paul's song dedication to his wife on the anniversary of her passing and of The Cure continuing to rock some of their biggest hits to tens of thousands while drenched in a time stopping sonic silence. So being that the there is so much to tell of this weekend's desert adventure, it seems so most logically right to describe it in the wrong direction and start from the end.
Arms in the air eyebrows raised in bewilder, I look at MC, the sound engineer from The Cure and one of the best audio engineers I know. And while his band continues to play, in my normal speaking voice raised above non existent sound I apologize. There was no other option. With the polo field equivalent of house lights on, the band continues to play song and another and another in the surreal time stoppingly endless state we are trapped. "What happened?" Yet the answer we already know, it is the "why" that is still unfolding. Police on the radio's demanding a stop to sound from the massive stage, a promoter trapped in the middle between threats of cancelled future festivals and a crowd of multi thousands and a band playing harder than ever oblivious to the un deniable absence of 350,000 watt PA system pumping their tunes into hungry ears.
"Oh tragic" says the articles, debacle and mishap tossed around as if some huge error was made.
What really did happen? Did the promoter ruthlessly shut of the sound? Was there some behind the scenes conspiracy? Did the band accidentally play past some deadline unaware? Did someone forget to inform someone else or was a mind changed mid stream? Or perhaps, just perhaps, The Cure in their punk rock playfulness, decided to test the limits with a smile just because they can. Just to un bore the masses from their own lives by giving those that wish to say, like me, something to talk about. Mystique, stories and press exploding from the event lifting the notoriety to new levels beyond the quite impressive performance itself.
But as far the putz who threw the bottle at the sound board, come on, don't be so shallow as to miss the enjoyable complexities of the bigger picture, you missed the gear but it was close and hey, you could have hurt someone!
**** Sound Nerd Speak ****
Though in the music world, the incredible performances by too many bands to name will keep blogs and articles buzzing, there was something even more significant that occurred at this Coachella, at least from a sound nerdery perspective. I know what you are thinking and yes, it is true. The Coachella Main Stage saw the the unveiling of the largest L-Acoustics K1 system ever assembled. In my honest and true opinion, I now feel it is confirmed thatÂ this PA isÂ trulyÂ the newest, latest, greatest and best sounding large scale sound system in existence. Never before have I heard such an overwhelmingly positive response. Not only from the world class engineers we had the honor to work with but from the promoter and humans in general. I am tempted to try and describe it further but it feels too awkward and since hearing is believing I will stop and leave the opinions to others to create.
I know I have been sluggish at blogging and I will try to get back to the enjoyable patterns I miss and left behind. You see, behind the silence and bloggery smiles, I have been immersed in taking on the most challenging financial project of my life. You know when you watch Texas hold'em poker and they get to the end of the game and there is that "all-in" bet? Well, for Rat Sound to get this K1 system, it was kind of an all-in plus all the futures of all-in's for a while to come like an all-in of allÂ all-in's. And hey, I do my fair share of stupid stuff and the best I can tell IÂ can be so good enough at messing things up that I have it covered for a few other people as well, but then there are things that are clear and there is no doubt in my mind and I know must be done right. Purchasing the K1 system was one of those things. When Jon Rat came to me and told me about it coming out, I was skeptical, when Jon arranged a trip to France to hear it, I was skeptical, when I heard it and what it can do I knew there was no alternative. This is the best and we must have it. The fact that the planet earth was in the largest economic down turn since the great depression was just an annoyance. A really big scary and challenging annoyance. And in a nut shell, that is where my mind has been, in a nut shell.
Anyway, you are looking 8 K1 subs,Â 15 K1's and 3 dV-Dosc per side in the main hangs and 8 K1's plus 3 dV-Dosc per side in the side hangs. On the ground are 32 SB 28's set up as cardioid subs with some Sub Cannon timing (you can't see the 4 subs in the middle). I hope to get into more detail at some point as the setup is super cool with new and refined concepts. The only issue we ran into was that the K1 has such a clean and wide coverage, the side hangs were too wide. I am confident the KUDO would have been a better choice but we used them all in the Mojave tent. Anyway, I hope to dive into all that in the coming weeks.
Oooooh, look at the size of that thing! The whole 'banana' term that is used to refer to line arrays is going to need to be re though. That is one big hang at nearly 40 feet in length
**** End Sound Nerd Speak ****
Okey Dokey. Sleep and stuff and mental preparation for Stage Coach festival next weekend! Ha, I am so happy to be doing gigs. And speaking of gigs, I took a short little tour in the UK and Europe in May.
while i appreciate the insider view of what happened, you still did not address the issue of why The Cure was shut off, and Paul McCartney wasn't. all the quotes i have seen from the Indio Police said that the promotors are in charge of shutting it down, not the police force (who merely calls and reminds the promotors about the approaching curfew). if this is a lie, then i am sorry as i know it has nothing to do with you either way!
regardless, i feel what went down was tacky, and that McCartney basically got a pat on the head because he was a Beatle. give me a break.
Dave were you noticing cancellations in the seam with the side hangs? Awesome effort to get the best for the people man, badass! As one that has been shut down and also had to shut others down i know the dilema. But hey no one said it was going to be an all night event! Hmmm that does sound good though.
Yes more nerdery on the event would be great. Ala FOH and console stuff. Hey did you guys do any external clocking? I You Tubed some of the show and thought Blackbird was touching as well. Also the shutdown, did'nt seem that bad really. Always some fuck with a bottle though. Hope to see you at Stagecoach. Gotta hear this rig.
Though I am not privy to the inside world of what exactly happened, I was close enough to notice some interesting things. Like, why did the Cure not look upset? No show of being annoyed or pleas to the crowd to turn the leverage the PA being turned on.
Also, other than some bewilderment, no one was upset, mad or pointing blame fingers. Now I am not saying it was planned or maybe that was the intended outcome. I don't know but it does make for a more interesting story and I did overhear "That is it, the Cure will never be back here again" followed by "or maybe they will!"