Hard to believe it’s been over three decades since punk band Generation X hit the scene, co-founded and fronted by Billy Idol. In the years since, the blonde rocker has crafted a wildly successful solo career, studded with Number One hits, best-selling albums and music/video accolades. This summer, Idol takes to the road playing festivals throughout Europe (including the 44th annual Montreux Festival in Switzerland) and later smaller venues in the States through the fall. Joined by perennial sidekick, guitarist Steve Stevens, along with bassist Stephen McGrath and keyboardist Derek Sherinian, plus new additions Billy Morrison on rhythm guitar and Jeremy Colson on drums, Idol will be showcasing classic hits as well as new compositions.
With Sound Image as production partner, engineer Matt LaVoice is handling all of the tour’s monitor requirements with a DiGiCo D1. A diehard analog aficionado, LaVoice converted to digital with DiGiCo several years ago, and has used them exclusively on previous tours with Idol, Lenny Kravitz (SD7) in 2009, and countless others.
“I was a full-on analog guy,” LaVoice confessed. “Prying that 4km out of my hands was a tough one. But frankly, the D1 was the closest thing to an analog console I’d found. It does absolutely everything I need, and has exactly just the right amount of processing on it. The surface is very intuitive and is a joy to mix on. It’s a tiny desk, which is good for a lot of the places we play. And, it’s eliminated all of the outboard gear I used to need for mixing in-ears and wedges—which made my production manager happy… He’s glad that I don’t have a big old analog desk and racks to fit on stage anymore.”
With an input list consisting of 48—for drums, two guitars, bass, keys and Billy, who also plays acoustic and electric guitar—LaVoice is also managing 5 stereo in-ear outputs, as well as 6 mixes, drum shaker, and sidefills.
“Having all of the onboard processing has allowed my mixes to evolve on stage. I used to travel around with only two reverbs and that was it. Now I can actually to do a lot more… I use 6 channels of graphics and I can utilize the rest of my effects now and it has really fattened up the ear mixes quite a bit. Also, I used to take that 4km because I liked the onboard EQ for ears, and the D1’s processing channel now handles that. One of my guy’s wears one in-ear and listens to wedges. With the simple delay, I can delay the in-ear to his wedges, which cleans things up considerably.”
Above: Matt LaVoice with the DiGiCo D1 Console for Billy Idol’s Tour