Gareth and production sound engineer Tom Lishman started prepping for the tour in May, which began in Newcastle in mid-August. The tour takes in 27 towns and cities, playing through to May 2022. Apart from a month in Leeds over Christmas, the show is in a new location every week, finishing on Sunday, then on Tuesday night in the next venue. “It’s a very tight schedule for setting up and soundchecking, with different acoustics, system elements in different positions and a lot of things that have to happen in a very short space of time,” he says.
The show features a 12 piece orchestra and 24 radio microphones across the cast. There are 64 channels of live music, with 16 further channels of playback, plus a number of reverb and other effects channels. The musicians all use personal monitors, with a lot of the mix outputs dedicated to them. Almost all the system’s 72 mixes are in use, plus 16 matrix outputs.
“Obviously reliability is critical - and Yamaha’s reliability is exceptional - but one of the advantages for us is that you can have two people working independently on the control surface,” says Gareth. “Indeed, there have been times when two are on the PM10 and a third on the StageMix iPad app, all doing different things at the same time. This means that Tom and myself can be making adjustments to the mics and the speaker system, whilst Charles Parry, our No.1 can mix the show without interruption.
“As a sound designer, the ability to wander round the auditorium, stage or orchestra pit with high quality control via StageMix also enables me to build a greater level of trust and confidence with the performers and musicians.
“We’re playing to full houses, it’s the first show I’ve done since the pandemic began that hasn’t had socially-distanced audiences. However, once the house opens, nobody at Front of House can go backstage, or vice versa. Another advantage of the StageMix app is that it allows some control of the desk from the stage. It gives us exactly the sort of flexibility we need.”