Riverdance Rises from the Ashes
Friday, 5 October 2001
Riverdance Rises from the Ashes
Following a disastrous fire on 28 June which virtually wiped out an entire production of Riverdance, the company is now back on tour across Europe with a brand new audio system supplied almost exclusively by Telex EVI, in particular Shuttlesound and the Klark Teknik Group. Mick O'Gorman, sound designer for Riverdance, remembers the day: "The show was due to open at the Palacido De La Comunidad in Madrid . . . somehow a fire started in the roof of the theatre and before anyone could react the whole of the roof caved in. Luckily there were no casualties, but it destroyed all of the rigging, the set, the lights, the stage, the instruments and of course the entire sound system including the desks. The only things to survive were the office and the costumes. It was heartbreaking."

The production that had arrived in Madrid in 14 trucks limped back to London in just one and a half, and set about rebuilding for shows due to start at the end of August. Ken Binley, technical manager, decided that in order to rebuild the sound system efficiently, everything had to be under one roof, so the crew went into Wembley Arena to set about reconstituting 20 tons of sound equipment in just two weeks.

On the whole, the system has been replaced like for like, says O'Gorman. "We're still using an EV system based on X-Array and some Xi cabinets because it's a damned good system. The Left and Right hangs of 12 X-Array cabs per side plus a central cluster of a further eight XCNs plus a delay system of Xi 1152s haven't changed, but in the wake of the fire, Mikam North decided to make a few changes. For example, we've gone for XB subs this time rather than the Xi 119s so that in future we can fly the subs. We've also gone for the new Rx cabinets for stage monitoring, which simply weren't available when I first designed the system. In addition we've streamlined the processing and switched over completely to DN9848 from Klark Teknik rather than the mixture of KT and Merlin - which are now obsolete anyway - that we had originally. This means that we can now network all of the crossover, delay and system EQ functions via a PC within the environment of Stardraw, which is great. The amp racks have been rationalized as well now to become all EV (24 x P3000 and 6 x P2000) rather than a combination of models from various manufacturers that we had before. Finally we've substituted the Midas Heritage 3000 on FOH for our XL4 which is something I was always going to do anyway.

O'Gorman confirmed that the two-week build was a gruelling process for everyone, especially for sound supervisor Barry Mcleod and his assistant Amir Carmel who worked very hard to pull it all together, along with Nigel Meddemmen from Shuttlesound who made things happen from their side, but the results were definitely worth it. "I've never had a system where everything was bought on the same day!" he enthused.

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