Robbie Williams, regarded as the “World’s favourite entertainer and most dynamic showman ever seen” has returned to Australia to perform his Robbie Williams: Close Encounters world tour. And as with previous tours, he was accompanied by Dave Bracey his long-standing front of house engineer who hails from Australia. For the first time Johnston Audio Services provided the gear, although some was shipped in especially for the tour. Top of Dave’s equipment list was his favourite console; the DiGiCo D5, which he has been using ever since it hit the market. In fact he insists that there is nothing better for mixing a live concert tour.
Dave Bracey gearing up for Robbie Williams on the DiGiCo D5
Dave does not like the way that most digital consoles have their snap shots set up. “With the D5, the snapshots work in such a way that you can mix the concert as a whole,” he said. “Digital consoles for live mixing have tended to follow the same format that has been used for recording studios where you’re working on just one song at a time and not moving from one location to another. There was never any way to apply all the powers that a digital console has to the way we once mixed live on an analogue console. On the analogue consoles all we did was go from venue to venue, changing things to compensate for the conditions of each venue”.
Robbie Williams live in Australia, all mixed on DiGiCo D5
“Now with digital consoles and presets stored for different songs, you need a way of writing forward to the rest of the show all of the improvements you have been making to the mix before you need to call up the next song. You don’t want to undo the improvements you have just made and neither should you have to ‘safe’ the console to stop this from happening. With the press of one button on the DiGiCo D5 you write forward all of the tweaks that you’ve made to the overall sound of the concert to all of the song snap shots. On the D5 these tweaks will not be written only as absolute values to all the snap shots but will take into account any differences you may have already programmed and keep these in a relative way. “Basically it has bought a lot more power back in to the desk as you can let it do a lot more work for you without having any fear of it undoing the good work that you’re doing through the show,” states Dave.
The Dynamic Showman that is Robbie Williams, performing live in Oz
A huge production for Robbie Williams
Dave finds that he doesn’t need much outboard gear anymore because everything he needs is contained within the D5. However he does use a Manley Voxbox compressor on Rob’s vocal. ”Rob is all over the place whilst performing and it’s nice to have something a bit special there to keep adjusting to keep track,” added Dave. “He occupies half my brain and one of my hands the whole time he’s on stage!” “In fact he spends about half of the show 25m in front of the PA and that has its challenges.”
Dave Bracey, FOH for Robbie Williams happy to be using DiGiCo D5
Johnston Audio Services with whom Dave is exceptionally happy supplied the PA system, all powered by Camco. “Their gear is amazing and all looks newly packaged,” he reported. “We integrated the Johnston system with ours and everything worked perfectly the first day. Fantastic, can’t ask for anything more than that, apart from a great local sound crew, and that is exactly what they are.”
Robbie Williams Live in Australia