Freelance Sound Engineer
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  • A Christmas Party in Dubai

    Posted on December 27th, 2011 No comments

    So I managed to squeeze in one last CSE adventure in the Dubai doing a show for another Royal Navy ship. As it was so close to Christmas the whole cast, crew and audience were very much in a party atmosphere!

    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!