Adlib ups the ante for The Specials’ Encore
Tuesday, 2 July 2019
adlib-the-specials-15305-2Back on the road again (photo: Steve Sroka)
UK - Adlib provided design services, lighting, audio, custom drapes and staging elements for the most recent UK leg of The Specials’ Encore album tour, as the record topped the UK album charts, providing the band’s first ever number one album.
Adlib’s Simon Pettitt was back as lighting designer, having lit the band since 2014. Simon was also instrumental in developing the stage design, and he was joined by their regular audio engineers, Marcos Ferrari at FOH and Marina Martinez Sebastian on monitors. Adlib’s lighting account handler was Dave Eldridge, while Phil Stoker looked after all things audio.
Adlib offered the use of its full tour prepping facilities - a designated pre-production space in the company’s massive new Knowsley warehouse – to ensure that the production left the warehouse ready to roll.
Simon received an outline brief from the band. This was mostly on the dynamics of the set and that the overall look should be “theatrical”, and he further evolved the production design from there into the full show. The band were having a selection of eye-catching protest signs made as the main scenic element, so Simon helped organise a design of complementary drapes and flooring that would help them stand out.
The scenic elements were one basic starting point for the lighting, and another was having eight musicians onstage. For overhead lighting positions, three standard trusses were utilised.
Martin MAC Viper Performances were the main profile moving lights - distributed on front, mid and back trusses, with eight MAC Aura XB LED washes on the back & four Viper washes on the mid and another four on the front truss.
Twelve GLP X4 Bar 20s were distributed between the back and the mid trusses with eight Prolights Studiocob WW LED PARs on the front truss.
The floor package comprised 12 x Aura XBs, four Viper Washes, six Chauvet STRIKE4 LED blinders and another nine STUDIOCOB WWs.
Operating lighting on the road was Adlib’s Tom Webber, utilizing an MA3 light console (running MA2 software).
Co-ordinating the audio side on the road was Adlib’s systems engineer Kenny Perrin and monitor tech Sam Gallagher, looking after Specials’ engineers Marcos Ferrari (FOH) and Marina Martinez Sebastian on monitors. Kenny and Marcos specified the L-Acoustics K2 system together, chosen for its flexibility and light weight.
With a wide selection of venues on the itinerary, flying wasn’t always an option, and when it was, there were often tight weight-loading limits, so a lightweight system that functioned equally well flown or ground-stacked was the key to picking the PA.
The largest configuration used was 10 K2  and three Kara down elements flown each side, or six K2 per side ground-stacked utilising the K2 tilt adjustment screw jacks.
These ran in conjunction with 12 L-Acoustics KS28 subs. LA12X amplifiers powered the main system. System processing was delivered via an L-Acoustics’ LA Network Manager 2 with one of Adlib’s standard Lake control racks.
Marcos’ FOH desk of choice is a Midas PRO X. He used this combined with classic outboard delays and reverbs, including a Yamaha SPX2000 digital effects processor, Lexicon PCM91 and 480L reverbs and a Roland Space Echo which is prominent in creating the vibrant and complex ska sound.
The FOH effects were fed into the console via a Midas DL451 rack and the onstage mic preamps were sent via two Midas DL431s.
In monitor world, a feast of wedges included 10 Adlib MP4s driven by Lab Gruppen PLM10K amps. A rack of six Sennheiser G3 IEMs dealt with the brass and keyboard players with an Adlib MP4 sub for the drummer.
Adlib’s director Phil Stoker comments: “It was great to be back working with one of the most legendary bands of their time who are still going strong. We enjoy a great relationship with the Specials’ long-serving TM Mike Darling who trusts us to deliver on all levels for every act that he looks after, which has led to our involvement with some truly stunning live shows.”
(Jim Evans)

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