DiGiCo is in total control of Cirque du Soleil's MJ World Tour
After spending more than a year touring North America, Cirque du Soleil's Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour has finally touched down in Europe. After a run of nine shows at London's O2 Arena, this production, which fuses the King of Pop's greatest hits and Cirque's trademark acrobatic prowess, will then head into Europe for an extensive six-month stint, returning to the UK again in March 2013 for several shows in Manchester and Birmingham. For the whole tour, two DiGiCo SD7s are in control of everything audio at both FOH and monitor positions respectively.
“This isn't a typical monitoring position, but it's great, as I am in the perfect place to see the stage and the people,” smiles monitor engineer, Renato Petruzziello, whose SD7 is positioned on the upper tier of London's O2, looking down on the stage, and boasting a panoramic view of the arena. “I use the SD7's video screen to keep an even closer eye on the band, too. I split it into four sections, with a focus on the key musicians; I can always tell if there's something not quite right going on by the faces they pull – it's a really neat function!”
Petruzziello is running 140 channels from the console: 80 for the live band, 48 for sequencing tracks, and the rest are utilised for various comms channels. All 11 in-ear mixes are sent to the band members in stereo, and he also creates separate stereo mixes for the Digital Performer operator, four backliners and pyro operator, mime act and two tap dancers in the show, as well as the side-fills.
“Another feature I really like using on the SD7 is the recall and duration time on snapshots, whereby I have the console on a timer; all I need to do is hit the first snapshot and then it rolls through all of the snapshots in the list with this function enabled,” he says. “It's great for me because it means I don't need to be hands-on; I can be doing other things like listening to the mixes and making sure the band are getting what they need, without having to worry about changing the snapshots. It makes life easier for all parties.”
FOH engineer, Martin Paré, utilises 166 inputs on his SD7 and has an SD Rack at FOH position to accommodate his favourite bits of analogue outboard. Channel count and the ability to run everything in 96k resolution are two major advantages in using DiGiCo, he says.
“When we were doing the concept of the show, we ended up with 448 I/O and didn’t have enough room on the console we were originally thinking of using. Here, I have two racks, Ray has two, and there are a further three that we share; I don't think there's another manufacturer out there that can accommodate those kind of numbers,” Pare insists. “And in terms of quality of sound, what's coming out of those pre-amps is pretty amazing. You don't have to do too much to make it sound great – just plug it in, and away you go. For this show, it's all about the I/O and the amount of cards you can have in every rack, and the SD7 does the job absolutely perfectly.”