Ian’s Audio Sale!
It includes an mbox 2 and an Apple iPhone 3GS, and there all priced to go, so you best get in quick!
To buy or for any questions Contact Me.
EDIT – 24/01/2012
All sold! Thanks very much to all who bought!
2011 Round Up
It started with one the best get in’s ever I imagine there will ever be, putting Ghost in Manchester. Installing over 225 speakers, our epic bowling nights, and alot of drinks. As well as then being part of the team to move that to its home in the west end. A big thanks to Tony and Simon for getting me involved, and Dan, Stu, Hedges and Mike for guiding me through it!
I have done a more CSE’s than ever this year in 7 tours. When ever people say what are you favourite jobs, I say these without hesitation and we’ve had some great shows this year A big thanks go to Charlie and Leila at Capital, as well as everyone at CSE and all the people I’ve toured with this year or that we’ve performed to! Hopefully there will be more to come next year.
I have had some great gigs with my very good friend Chris Bogg @ dBS Solutions. We’ve done sound for the England vs Wales rugby international, another year of Liverpool Lantern Festival and Warrington Music Festival both with continued success. We’ve done full production on the 911 reunion concert (one of the best gigs I mixed all year!) and many others. Here’s to another great year at dBS.
I was able to be a part of a new look Assembly fringe setup, which all went much smoother than I could have imagined. Thanks go to the team: Mark Sawyer, Mike and Davey and for what seems to have been another successful year.
I have completed corporate work, not mentioned on my blog in detail for Delta, Sterling Event Group and Stagetex for end clients such as Santander, Adidas and Toyota. Thanks particularly go to Lee Dennison and Mark Sawyer @ Delta, Ben Marshall and Richard Bowyer @ Sterling Event Group and Pete Van Nest @ Stagetex.
And finally but by no means least a big thanks has to go to both Brew and Tim Speight, for pushing alot of work my way this and indeed next year. There was installing Yes Prime Minister both on tour and west end and doing the UK Schools Games for RG Jones. There guidance, and company (preferably with a curry!) is always very welcome, and because of them both I am now going to be part of the team moving Dirty Dancing round the country next year as well as spending a large part of my summer in a place start with the postcode SW19. A big thank you to your both.
Anyway before this turns into an Oscar speech and I start thanking my mum, i’ll go. Next year is already shaping up to be even bigger and better this this, especially as I will be finally completing my move to London.
Thanks again to everyone for a great 2011, here’s to a great 2012
A Christmas Party in Dubai
Magic was Production Managing this tour and doing monitors, so I got to do FOH again which was a nice treat! Especially as the band were Lucas, who I do love mixing. Maria was with us on the LX and Video side (or should that be Video and LX?) with Angie and Sakina our lovely Tour Managers! The flight was fairly uneventful especially because Ethiad seem to offer even less leg room that Ryanair! Still we landed (in Abu Dhabi) and drove to the hotel, ate, slept and after a lovely breakfast I was ready for gig day.
Delta Dubai were the supplier as usual for these gigs so there wasn’t really anything to worry about! I had an SD8 outfront, and the usual two ground stacks of DV’s with SB218’s. There was a couple more DV’s working as infill for the dance floor. All was good! PA sounded nice although I will say not as nice as it did last time running on a rack of Crowns with XTA’s over the LA8’s. This is more of an observation however as i’m sure my talent rather than choice of amplifier will be coming into play sonically first! Sound check went well, bar the fact that bits of plaster from the roof were starting to come down. Now CSE and Magic has been here before, when on another middle east gig a very large part of the roof came in and the show had to be moved at the last minute, so it was taken quite seriously! And while I had it loud, it wasn’t enough to take the roof off loud! Anyway me and Magic had a look at it and it appeared to just be where some plasterboard met a metal divider, so we broke out the gafer tape and some old fashioned british problem solving! Sorted!
I do always like seeing a Digico desk on a job, although I have my bugbears with them. I picked up the SD8 again pretty fast and quickly got it setup without much assistance. It’s a truely great sounding desk and I am never disappointed to see one. It has so many great features, alternative input for one and its so flexible. However in a one day gig scenario I find it annoying. Why is it that to have a macro button light up when it does something and not when it isn’t (Aux on faders for example) I have to understand degree level computer programming?? And why is there still interface design flaws that make doing things like turning inserts on and off difficult and not easy?? And while i’m at it why do the faders on an SD8 feel like there off a childrens toy? And finally when the desk power gets cut off why does it load up in desk state which isn’t what I left it!!?? This happened to me (due to it turned out the UPS IEC being dodgy and someone managing to stand and pull out the hot power IEC at the same time). And not only was it not the most recent desk state, patches the desk says were made, weren’t and as such it appeared to be corrupted. Remaking the patches fixed the issue, but when an LS9 can restore within 10 seconds to exactly how I left it why can’t the Digico?!!
That said it’s not all negative did sound awesome and I do really like using them, and when used to there full potential there’s nothing to match them! I think because its so close to being brilliant, I am more annoyed about its quibbles which ruin the desk for me! Whenever something goes wrong on a Yamaha desk I ask “What have I done wrong?” on a Digico I still ask “What has the desk done wrong?”. Not what you want.
OK i’m done now, back to the gig!
This was the first gig I had done with the new CSE addition of a DJ. While more work for us, I can see it was going to go down a hit with the crowd, as that extra hour of music can make all the difference at the end, after a big performance from the band. The gig itself went fine, great sets from both our comics Nick and Sean, Lucas were on top form (including my favourite part the 90’s rave medley) and of course the dancers were all very lovely! Bar loosing video power during the final DJ set and then my desk as already explained above it was a technically clean and great show! That and the roof didn’t come in! Always a winner in my book.
Then we started our own Christmas party, firstly at the gig, then at the hotel bar and finally at the hotel club (anywhere that sells alcohol in Dubai must be attached to a hotel). Several hours, many Heineken and Jagerbombs and several thousand pounds later we finished our party, thankfully for my wallet I avoided my usual mistake of clearing my mini bar out and headed for bed. A brilliant night!
The next day, hungover but happy we headed for home, I stupidly left my tool bag in my hand luggage which required a special selection of negotiation skills to convince Dubai security do put the bag in hold and not the bin! But that panic over it was another long, knee crushing flight home!
It was a great way to end a great year of work! Thanks to everyone for a great tour, particularly Angie and Sakina, Magic and Maria, all the Delta Dubai and Eclipse boys for being great as always and finally to Tesco for giving me a credit card to buy beer with!
Merry Christmas Everyone!
Mama Mia Aarhus
After a couple of prep days at Autograph in which I essentially just looked round the brilliant work Hedges had accomplished done, learnt the gig and ate copious amounts of Cake, I headed to Aarhus (the second biggest city in Denmark). Due to me needing to go from Manchester I ended up going went via a complicated transfer route of flights, but eventually arrived in Aarhus, and after a taxi (where I thought the meter in the taxi was a timer!) I arrived at the hotel which was directly opposite the theatre (can’t complain with that!). After a bit of dinner (in which I ate enough bacon to stun an elephant), we headed in at 8pm to start work. The aim was to try and get as much stuff in as possible as to give us a good run the next day… Needless to stay our team, Hedges, Wibo, Ruben, Potty, myself and Stein, threw the gear in that night! And by the end of the call we had most of the looms in (including the multi), daddy rack in and powered, FOH more or less together and even had the centre cluster flying! Great work. Quick beer and bed.
As a brief overview of the system we were using, it was a Digico SD8 out front, matrixed and controlled by 4 XTA 448’s. The main system was 2 MICA arrays (12 deep) left and right with a M’elody centre cluster, with some hp600 subs and some E3’s for Front Fills and Delays and some UPJ’s groundstacked for the front rows. On stage foldback was handeled UPJ’s and Juniors with MM4’s for down stage foldback. We had Sennhieser 1046’s for the radio’s, and Avioms in the pit.
Day 2 went just as well and along with in house head of sound Gary and his team, we quickly got all the arrays rigged, cable in and even some of the pit cable, we really were flying. We came in early on day 3 due to at XTA issue in which it appeared to be not outputting any audio. We swapped the unit out with a spare and then continued with the bitty tasks of RF aerials, on stage speakers and comms. We were joined later in the day by Mama Mia MIDI expert Jimmy Drew, who I hadn’t seen since Ghost, and by the end of day 3 the pit was nearly complete and system tuning was going well and we left the LX department to focus in good spirits and hit the town of Aarhus!
The night started with a cracking game of bowling, UK vs Europe in which (despite my shocking inconsistency) we won! We then hit a far bars, then after those who were left including me, Ruben, Potty and Hedges ended up in a busy bar in the centre of the town. I was loving chatting to some “Aarhusians” and it was a cracking night. In fact I was shown an interesting video of me trying to buff my trainers on the hotel show buffer later that morning, and that always symbolises a good night!
The next day (day 4) however wasn’t as good. I for some reason didn’t feel so great (I can’t imagine why) and as the operating crew and cast arrived there was suddenly lots to do, very quickly. Still we battled through it and got the Qlite’s installed, extra comms added and even a last minute request for stalls delays was also sorted. A day of fire fighting later, and feeling pretty pleased we then got hit again by the return of XTA issues.
We had since tested the previous suspect XTA, and couldn’t find an issue. What we worked out was happening was the XTA was recalling random snapshots on the device, in the case of this files from a previous Mama Mia show (Spain I think) that were being used as a base for this show. It was clear that something from the incoming data the devices were recalling snapshots, thus causing the errors such as no audio (due to changed routing), but what errors in the data or even device firmware we weren’t sure. The answer was to delete all other snapshots, factory reset and re flash the devices. There has since been no reported issues, although that could be down to the reduced data activity now the show is up and running! If anyone has had any similar issues answers on a postcard please!
Anyway all of this is irrelevant because the most interesting thing about this trip was the building itself! The Musikhuest Aarhus is an amazing place to work, and it can’t really be compared to any one venue in the UK. It’s a massive arts complex, with about 10 venues (including our theatre, 2 rock and roll venues, corporate spaces and a classical concert room!), offices for various companies, an endless corridor of rehearsal rooms (with adjustable acoustic conditions!!), recording studio, a complete metal and wood work room, a massive technical stock and the flexibility to path seemingly anything to anywhere! It was fascinating! Basically if I was ever going to give up this freelancing lark and go and work in a venue… this would be the place.
Anyway my time with Mama Mia was up, I headed home during which BA managed to break my Peli case! (I don’t know how they did it either). I had a brilliant time in Aarhus, and I hope to return soon to there or Denmark in general in one way or another. Thanks go to Andy for getting me on board and good luck to Potty, Stein and Gary for the run, hopefully I’ll see you all very soon.
UK School’s Games
Tim Speight got me involved in this job, which is my first job for RG Jones, and what a lovely one it was! Me and about 15 other engineers headed for Sheffield to provide commentary and music systems for the UK Schools Games, a kind of young persons mini Olympics. It featured competitions such as athletics, swimming, cycling, judo and fencing as well as other sports such as the highly dangerous wheelchair basketball and Rugby Sevens. It even had its own opening and closing ceremony!
I was in doing the Volleyball which was great fun. I was with 2 commentators who were active in UK Volleyball who took the time to teach me the rules and ins and outs of the game and was interesting to learn something new. My chosen team, North West Boys unfortunately lost, but at least everyone beat Wales!
My role was spent mainly playing stings for points as well as pre match build up music, and announcements all of which was nicely straightforward.
But the best part was that I was up there with a great team of people and of an evening we all had a great laugh. Highlights included Owen’s cocktail flight case, the 3 of us riding in the back of the truck in-between venues “Vietnam Style” and swapping hotel food allowance for beer!
It was a pleasure… Until next time chaps.
Yes Prime Minister… Again
So ignore my previous post it turns out that it wasn’t the last time I would move Yes Prime Minister, as it ended up moving across the road rather fittingly into the Gielgud where I started with the whole thing!
Day one was a pre rig, installing surround and delay speakers into the Gielgud (oh how I didn’t miss there in house wiring!). Day two consisted myself Jack O’Brien and operator Matt Russell getting all the gear out of the Apollo and into the Gielgud. Most of the empties were sent back to Stage Sound Services after we moved into the Apollo, so things were packed as best they could for the “long” journey across the road! We moved pretty fast, and by 2pm we have everything out and into the Gielgud. (My first YPM get out!), spending the rest of the day getting boxes in place.
After that I was joined by YPM guru Tim Speight for two days to get it installed and enjoy the “fun” of installing plasma screens on boom arms one last time together! It all went in fairly well and bar a comms issue (which turned out to be a dodgy multi line), opening night went fine, and so has the rest of the run.
Now really is the last time to go and see it this year! Then again I said that last time!
I have been away 3 times with CSE over the last few months, all shows for the Royal Navy. Firstly was Bahrain where we did a show in the American Naval base with my festival stage friend Ian Wood. I remember the bar order being Heinken and Expressos! A late night and good times were had!
Then I headed to Sicily where we did a show in a deserted hotel where everyone spoke Italian, with a supplier we’ve never used before, in a cinema massively oversized! Incredibly it worked really well and we put on a great show, I even learned some Italian and found out that I could get a Panini at midnight. Downside was Panpipe music at meals…
And finally an amazing trip to Jordan where we did a show in a beach side hotel that was after an 8 hour stop over on the way out, which involved us camping out in a 24 hour bar. It was one of these gigs that balances out the overnight load outs and rain soaked festivals! Brilliant and an excellent supplier, nice to see some Martin Audio kit elsewhere in the world! Sounded brilliant.
England vs Wales RFL
This was a job for dBS Solutions, providing the PA for the England vs Wales rugby league match at Leigh Sports Village. The system from us was made up of 16 wedges around the edge of the pitch, and utilising there in house PA to provide some coverage for the very top of the stands. The performance would take place both pre match and at half time and would take the form of a solo singer, a brass band and a choir. I went with a combination of Rode NT5 mics and Rode Shotgun mics to get the coverage of the brass band and the choir with the solo singer being on a wired SM58 (with a spare just by her feet).
We didn’t have very long to install the system although simple had some very long cable runs, especially between the amp rack positions. And to complicate things as well as the pitch inputs I had to take multiple feeds from both in house and broadcasters SIS Live as well as providing feeds to them from me for TV, as part of our performance was the National Anthems! (No pressure for me then!).
Our major issue was that as soon as the performance was finished we needed to have the pitch clear, likewise at half time we needed to be ready to go ASAP. Thankfully with some careful prep and planning were able to come up with a controlled way of getting the gear on and off which meant it was done quickly and that no one fell over on TV!!
Qlab provided playback for the cheerleader dancer performances, which once again worked flawlessly! Alongside me was the clubs DJ and MC who did a great job doing all the announcements and in game stings.
Everything went without a hitch and the day was a great success, especially because England won!
Liverpool Lantern Festival
Myself and dBS Solutions were back on hand to provide the PA for the Liverpool Lantern Festival in Sefton Park. This year was the first outing for our brand new Trables PA towers, which allowed us to fly the TRS up to 4.5m high, using only subs as ballast (in certain wind conditions). The 4 towers allowed us to get a move even coverage than last year and more importantly to the director keep the PA out of the sightlines of the audience. This was combined with ground stacked wedges underneath each tower to cover the first few rows of people.
There was also 4 separate mini stages within the main body of the audience, each with different action going on that formed the finale to the parade. We had speakers in each zone with the matrix of the LS9 allowing us to send different signals to each area, on instruction of the musical director. On top of this was a 6 piece band for me to control, who were radio miced up with DPA 4061’s and played on a central stage in the middle of the audience and in front of the PA!
It was a brilliant show and when all the fireworks went off at the end it looked magical! The PA and indeed the new Trables towers worked a treat and I was able to translate the MD’s soundscape as required. Bar the mud it was another job well done. Hopefully see you all again next year.
Anyway sorry for the massive long post again! Below is some of the pictures from all of the above. Enjoy!
Festival Season 2011
Warrington Music Festival
After a very successful festival last year, Warrington Music Festival was back again with dBS Solutions again in charge of production. There was now a DJ night on the Saturday with a full day of bands on the Saturday, which gave us a bit more time on setup. System it was the same as last year, with only a few minor improvements including an M7CL at FOH and an better shout system. The team has also changed, I was handling stage and patch still, but now with Chris Bogg on FOH (Mr Attewell was sadly missed!), Richard Pomeroy on monitors and Ollie Suckling heading up LX. After another late night load in (minus sleeping in an Early Learning Centre this year!) and a couple of power issues I am happy to say the event was another brilliant success with us managing to turn around 20 bands in 10 hours with 10 minute turnovers on the Saturday! Towards the end there was a great atmosphere with confetti and video projections accompanying the some great bands. There is now talk about doing similar events at other times the year, so well done to all involved and i’ll see you on a stage soon!
Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Another regular appearance in my calendar in August is the Fringe Festival. This (my 5th) year I returned again in the role of a production engineer, but major change was happening. Due to Edinburgh council closing the Assembly Rooms , Assembly Festivals hub and home. So we now had a whole new set of venues to rig, all based down in the fringe heart of George Square. It included 3 venues in lecture theatres, 3 tents and one in car park… classic fringe. I was there for just over a week working with new head of sound Mark Saywer, newly appointed deputy and my usual partner in crime Mike Sumner and Davey Williamson from Delta. While it was weird not rigging the Music Hall and associated venues as usual, it was great to actually do something without hearing “thats not how we did it last year?!”. It was a great week, in which if I wasn’t working, I was drinking, chatting and catching up with loads of people some I hadn’t seen in years, some people i’d just met and plenty inbetween! As well as during the day putting some systems into some of the strangest places. Working highlights include the surprisingly OK K-Sub’s (used purely as they fit inbetween seats), my wall mounting of multi boxes (to avoid floods), lighting grids there were a little too flexible and at one point getting called out to fix what ended up being some amps on mute! I even got involving in mixing a couple of bands during the jazz festival which was all good fun. (I was reminded of Jimmy Drew’s advice that mixing jazz is like a chef making a omelette… easy to cock up by doing too much!). A tough but brilliant week! Hopefully see you there next year.
Underage / Field Day Festival
From Scotland to London’s Victoria park where I was doing a back to back festival for Capital Sound in Victoria Park. Day one was Underage festival (Sort of says what it is on the tin) and day two was Field Day Festival where we were doing the DJ stage. After a frantic prep day (With 3 festival stages going out on the same day) at Capital, and a slow rig day the actual day of the festival was a blast! I was looking after stage with Ian Wood with Magic and Pete Hughes on Mons and FOH and Kev Smith manning the patch (and keeping us “stage Ian’s” in check!). Artists included Rizzle Kicks, Devlin (Great to see my old Uni neighbour Olivia Leisk with them!), Miles Kane and headliners Bombai Bicycle Club who were brilliant. System compromised 2 hangs of 12 Martin Audio W8LC with 6 subs a side, along with LM’s for fills. Desk wise it was Profiles either end (along with an extra PM5D at FOH for one of the acts). We started around 40 minutes behind due to the first artist turning up late, but finished bang on schedule. Awesome stuff! Day 2 was a little more mundane as it was just DJ’s but after still a cracking weekend with a great team.
Matthew Street Festival
Back with Capital again, but this time a massive gang of us was in Liverpool for the Matthew Street Festival. For those of you that don’t know the festival, the whole centre of Liverpool is transformed into a large festival site for Bank holiday weekend. Capital were looking after the 5 big outdoor stages. My stage (The Superlambanana stage), was headed up by myself and Ste Morley on stage and Steve Bunting on the desk. All of these stages (bar the main stage) are done via mixing both FOH and Monitors from side of stage. This cuts down on both crew and difficult multicore runs, and works surprisingly well with a set of UPA’s as near fields! The festival itself is a collection of tribute acts, everyone from Lady Gaga to the obvious swarm of Beatles acts was covered! My personal favourite was actually on our stage “Crowded Scouse!” … a classic! System wise we were using MICA for the main hangs with 600hp subs and M’elody for the fills. The system worked really well, and the Meyer even handled the rain OK! The festival was a massive success and we couldn’t believe the size of the audiences that turned up! We literally couldn’t see the end of our street (see in the pictures). Highlights include the AC/DC covers band, a guitar amp plague and the quality Paul Weller Tribute band. Hat’s off to Charlie, Leila and Dave from Capital for organising it all, it was a great success.
Yes Prime Minister
Just as a recap system’s wise we carry a full pros rig, fills, delays and subs. Although we will tie into house systems where possible. All of the speakers are EM Acoustics speakers. On stage there is 2 Control 1’s for spot FX, and the system was controlled via a DME 24 with a Yamaha DM1000 taking on the mix duties. The majority of the show is playback from a Cue One Qlab system, although there are some float mics and for the larger venues 8 ways of Shure RF. All of which is supplied by Stage Sound Services.
In addition to this as I discussed previously there is a video element to the show also run off Qlab which we rig; this includes a projector, 6 plasma screens and 2 live cameras. We probably spend more of our time sourcing positions and trying to get the quirky plasma screen brackets to hang straight! But although these are used a few times during the show they generally get the biggest laughs and are very cleverly used. So its worth all the sweat and swearing.
Everything is still generally all packed nicely and quickly flies out of the boxes and into action. In Northampton, Richmond and Cardiff we were able to use elements of the in house systems, in Cardiff in fact we used the house system completely! However in Glasgow we ended up rigging the whole system as there in house boxes weren’t really up to the job, thankfully getting positions wasn’t too difficult. It’s amazing the different sizes of venue this show goes to really, from the small Richmond theatre to the frankly incredible Cardiff Millennium Theatre! Everything went according to plan and it was nice to get some proper hands on experience with the DME, which for this gig works really well in allowing us to switch between completely our own system, completely a house system and every combination in-between and giving us full EQ, delay and matrixing control . There were no drama’s really on the final few moves and bar a few comms tweakings there was no reported issues during the runs. So a job well done!
After Cardiff me and Brew reunited to bring Yes Prime Minister home to London after 6 months on the road. Time has gone by very fast and it only seem’s yesterday we were both putting it into the Guilgud. The only added extra’s from the tour package were some surrounds which were kindly left in by Stage Sound Services from there last show. As the show design (both in Qlab and DME) was derived from the original west end design, adding these back in was no drama. It was our full system (no delays), and we spent alot of time trying to get the Plasma screens right (working out seat allocations etc), but we got it looking (and of course sounding!) very sweet.
Opening night ran smoothly and I must say that I was quite touched at getting bought a bottle of Port by the show crew to say thanks for my hard work! Although felt bad that Tim Speight who had done most of the moves didn’t get one! I owe you a drink Tim!
It’s been a pleasure to work with the company of Yes Prime Minister and had some great laughs, especially in Glasgow (where I had a trip to Edinburgh and on the second night friendly chippy Lez taught me about Whiskey) and Cardiff. All that is left is to say good luck to the cast and crew in there final run, and if you haven’t seen the show you should get down and see if before it closes.
I recently had my laptop stolen from a venue I was working at. I won’t go into too much details about it as its still in discussions but I felt I should help everyone by giving them some advice on steps to take now to make reduce the chances of this happening to you and make the impact less if it does.
1. BACKUP YOUR COMPUTER REGULARLY – I cannot state how important this is. Fortunately for me I was backed up. But if I wasn’t lost accounts, projects, photo’s its not even worth thinking about!! I suggest at least getting a dedicated back up hard drive (make sure you leave it at home and not with your laptop or it could get stolen too!) I have a Macbook and Apple’s Time Machine software is exceptional for making backing up easy, I am sure there is similar backup software available for Windows and Linux machines. However I would still suggest very important files are still also backed up manually. Backup on a weekly basis, not when you feel like it!
2. GET SOME INSURANCE – Several companies now offer this service and its definitely worth the money! I recommend Protect your Bubble.
3. BUY A KENSINGTON LOCK – Mine wasn’t out when it was taken so my lock wasn’t on. But more often than not they are taken when there out, particularly at FOH. I recommend getting a lock for when this is! More so I have now even taken the step of locking my laptop up in my bag and left.
4. INSTALL SURVIELENCE SOFTWARE– This is a piece of software which will report on who is using your laptop and allow you to shut it down remotely. It could give you and the police clues as to who has taken it (and maybe even get it back). I am now using some software called Prey, but a media story recently about this showed another piece of software called Hidden.
5. BACKUP YOUR COMPUTER REGULARLY – If you have reached the bottom of this list and haven’t started to backup already you should be!!
Hopefully this will help you save your laptop and reduce the impact if it does.
Finally. Thieves are all bastards.
The L’Acoustic 108 surrounds have been dropped in favour of smaller E3’s and E0’s, and a second row of delays in the stalls has also been dropped. Most of the delays and surrounds were already rigged when we arrived which was good news, although I was given the task of putting in some of the cable, which involved some void work (small gaps between tiers of the theatre). While I am not claustrophobic, I don’t quite have ‘the frame’ for void work, but none the less I soldier on! I spend quite a bit of week 1 in voids. I even squeezed through some holes that 13 year old me would be proud of!
The pit is nicely split with 2 extra rooms for drums and strings which should make isolation really nice. FOH was given a new kitchen worktop. All in all it looks very pretty and amp world is much neater than Manchester. I was listening to the MADI recordings of the show and I must say it sounded fantastic.
Previews start from June 24th, get your tickets now.
However I wasn’t prepared for what I got to see when I got there. With being on Ghost right up until we left I hadn’t really had a chance to see where we were going in Cyprus and wrongly presumed we would just be doing an airbase show like we did in Dubai and Oman. We were in fact doing a show for British troops working for the UN in the countries highly tensioned UN Buffer Zone, setup to separate Greek and Turkish forces and form the basis for a ceasefire. I was not alive during the conflict in Cyprus but was aware of it happening, but I honestly due to lack of media coverage had presumed it long solved. This isn’t the case, and there is still a lot of work being done by the UN there.
The show was actually in the buffer zone in the old 5 star hotel where the troops are based, Ledra Palace. I say 5 start hotel, its long since lost a few of those stars! But the history of the area and the buffer zone is fantastic. I unfortunately due to having to setup for the show could not do the full ‘Green Line’ tour, but due to conditions of the buffer zone being setup, nothing here can be changed or altered and as such the area is like a modern day Pompeii, which everything preserved as it was. Car’s are still left in showrooms, tables are still set, it’s incredible! The hotel itself has clear marks of how fierce the fighting was with vast bullet holes and even shell holes. It was amazing to be able to see this type of thing, and made me realise how heated the original conflict was.
Today though the area is still in tension, although you can now pass through the buffer zone freely (as we did for some lovely Turkish food!). The acts of aggression are now somewhat more petty, with the Turk’s drawing a massive flag on the mountain side overlooking the south, while the Greeks choose to have there ambassador close to the buffer zone so they can legally have a Greek flag. Work is being done to bring the two sides closer together, and hopefully eventually the UN presence won’t be required.
On the final day they took us to the now abandoned Nicosia Airport, where again due to the fact nothing can be altered or fixed so the terminal buildings, hangers and even one left plane are slowly falling into disrepair. Although I am sure given the chance Ryanair would land here (although say its Paris). The plane (a Cyprus Air jet), was incredible to just see it sat there, have a look at the pictures below.
The troops we were entertaining were actually a TA regiment. I found it fascinating talking to them about there backgrounds and what they do out here. It’s pretty special that these men and women can work normal jobs back home, training when they can and then be called up service not just here but in Afghanistan as well for 6 months.
All of this and I haven’t said anything technical about the show. The show went completely fine. Only interesting thing to mention was that I had a brand new (straight from the airport) Midas Venice F24 to play with at FOH. It sounded amazing and I loved the ability to multi track firewire audio both out and in. Thanks to Marios and his crew for getting the gig setup and working, and likewise to Maria for the lovely lighting!
What I thought would be a ‘standard CSE’ was far from it. Now however I best get my production engineer head on and remember how to fix speakers to walls.