Cubby Colby’s console of choice has been DiGiCo since the desk’s inception
Europe - Shania Twain’s Queen of Me tour played 78 shows across North America and Europe, with audio solutions from long-term rental partner, Eighth Day Sound.
FOH engineer Rob ‘Cubby’ Colby says his great experience mixing this tour has been down to the hard-working production crew: “Production manager, Denny Rich, production assistant, Libby Dostart, tour coordinator & tour manager, Joel Eriksson, stage manager Brandon Bogaert and music conductor, Marco Gamboa helped to make it a joy to be a part of.”
His time with Eighth Day Sound has also been smooth sailing: “It has been an absolute pleasure to work with Tom Arko and his team at Eighth Day Sound. I’ve enjoyed getting to know their different crews, project managers & office staff. Most recently on Shania’s tour, I requested a small footprint at FOH, and everything was addressed perfectly both at their US and UK shops,” he adds.
“To be trusted is always an opportunity to focus on why I've been chosen to mix FOH on tour, and I'll do my very best to mix the music as the artist intended it to be heard,” he states.
“The reactions from the audience, the artist, and management & promoter feedback are important; I want to know I’ve delivered a great experience.”
He continues: “I familiarise myself with recorded versions of the songs, not just the biggest hits, and concerning Shania’s huge catalogue, there are many stories from her extensive career that offer a better perspective on what the song might be about. I take what I learn into her live production and create a sensitivity to the music mix.”
Cubby’s console of choice has been DiGiCo since the desk’s inception. “Currently, I’m on an SD7 Quantum with two 32-Bit SD Racks. I use pretty much everything on the desk itself as my approach has always been of pure path, and this console offers everything I need. The only plug-ins I use are the Waves PSE & F6.
“I multitrack via 2 x MGB to BlackMagic Drives & use Logic Pro as the DAW. I have a Tascam SS-CDR200 for quick reference mixes and there are also 2 x Smart C2's in my rack, just in case,” he adds.
With his equipment as requested, Cubby comments that the Feel Like a Woman hitmaker wanted a pop/rock approach: “Her voice is so strong and her band are great musicians, I enjoy the emphasis on the segue into different parts of the show. Shania has a very good knowledge of audio and musical sounds in general, and her vocal ability to harmonise and select the parts best suited for each singer in her band is interesting. She explains her vision for the live shows, and I translate that; she’s always the producer.”
Each tour date unveils a leopard print stage, a glimmering motorcycle and crystal-clear audio. In the UK, the latter is courtesy of 148 cabinets powered by over 70 D80 amplifiers. The team opted for a d&b audiotechnik rig comprising main and side hangs of KSL (8s and 12s) and flown & ground stacked SL Subs with Y10s on the inner placements and AL60s on the outer.
Cubby says of the PA set-up: “In today's world of system choices, I couldn’t do a show without a good systems engineer. Nils Knecht has been such a pleasure to work with, he truly knows his stuff and is a positive force to have around.”
“In the larger arenas where seats are sold all the way around, we have a 270-degree hang made up of V12s and V8s. We use ArrayProcessing on all the hangs, which helps to make everything sound even throughout the venues, and the Y10s and AL60s make a little curved cluster to get the near fill we require.
Fellow expert engineer Connie Fernstrom has been mixing Shania’s monitors for around 11 years and echoes the desire for consistency. “Shania wants things to be consistent, night after night, venue to venue. That's what we strive to deliver,” he notes.
Fernstrom is generating eight mixes plus the crew shout-out lines. Very happy with his Shure rider, he adds: “Everyone uses Shure PSM1000’s with Shure Axient and ULXD for RF, it’s a wonderful sounding system.”
He continues: “Our DiGiCo drive racks and all my RF inputs/outputs are in one big rack, which is very convenient. Eighth Day has been great with my packaging. Like Cubby, I asked them for a small footprint, which is why the SD5 is perfect, and it’s working great.”
Fernstrom works closely with right-hand man and monitor tech, Nathan Fenchak, who adds: “The goal we have is to achieve the right mix without adding complexity to the monitor system. We have a couple of analogue splitters because Cubby and Connie don't share a cage but the whole show pretty much fits in one rack.”
Fenchak’s RF file is built into a Shure Wireless Workbench, which he says gives peace of mind: “I love the way Shure integrates into Workbench, I can monitor and manage the whole system so easily.”
Nick ‘Niko’ Labas handles comms using Riedel’s Bolero wireless intercom system, chosen for its robust nature and ability to handle up to 100 antennas at a time. Labas says it has made his role on tour second nature. He praises: “Using the Bolero system has been great, they’ve made a very easy-to-use comms program, which is intuitive even if you’ve never done comms before. It’s a powerful intercom that I think anyone can get comfortable using. I’ve had some nice feedback on my work on this tour, and I’ve loved working on it.”
Eighth Day Sound’s touring crew is completed by PA Techs Sam Hydorn and Jamie Tremelin.

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