We Know Where You Live! - Live
Sunday, 22 July 2001
The 40th anniversary of Amnesty International was celebrated in style at Wembley Arena in a comic cavalcade starring Eddie Izzard, and featuring Paul Whitehouse, Harry Enfield, Phill Jupitus, Jeremy Hardy and many more. Alan Rickman also appeared on the bill, as did Badly Drawn Boy, the Stereophonics and Tom Jones - with a satellite-linked slot from U2 in Toronto.

Called We Know Where You Live: Live! the show was hosted by Eddie Izzard in the spirit of the classic Secret Policeman’s Balls of the seventies, eighties and nineties. The role of production manager fell to John Farquar-Smith ably assisted by crew chief Nick Jones.Izzard is known for his love of performing in an intimate club atmosphere, rather than on television, so a compromise had to be reached to ensure that the light levels were high enough for TV company Initial’s cameras, but not too bright for Eddie’s performance. "After chatting with Eddie we came to a reasonable compromise," comments Dave Smith, one of the two lighting designers called in for the event. That compromise involved two separate rigs - one for the stage designed by Mark Henderson and programmed by Tellson James, and a second for the auditorium, designed by Smith and programmed by Mark (Hippo) Cuniffe. 100 VL5s provided the mainstay of the rig, supported by 24 VL5ARCs, 22 VL6Bs and 40 VL6Cs, with control provided by two Artisan consoles. VL5 wash luminaires were used for TV reinforcement, along with the VL6C spot luminaires.

"We tried to keep the rig as simple as possible," added Smith, "and to emulate the low canopy of a comedy club, whilst still giving the cameras enough to work with. With the audience rig, we used less equipment than we would normally, and followed the lines of the basic rigging points at Wembley. We also didn’t use much colour on the key lighting, except on the groups." To give the 11,000-capacity audience a clear sight of the action, Screenco supplied a 10 x 9 15mm LED screen, measuring 9.6m x 6.48m in 14:9 aspect ratio.

Heading the audio production team was sound designer George Glossop from Dimension Audio, who supplied Trantec S5000 radio systems and in-ear monitors, as well as d&b E3 nearfield monitors, while Capital Sound Hire provided all other sound reinforcement. Glossop had asked Capital Sound Hire to repeat the Martin Audio Wavefront 8 Compact rig they had supplied for the comedian at a Princes Trust Wembley show in 1999. "It was the comfort factor," he reasons. "Why come up with a new formula?"

Capital Sound’s Paul Timmins took over the project from colleague, Martin Connolly. The design was based around a main left and right stack, each with 18 Martin Audio Wavefront W8Cs (flown six wide, three deep using a MAN flying system on three points). Reproducing the sub frequencies were six WSX enclosures each side. Large by Wembley’s rock and roll standards, there was solid reasoning and experience behind the speaker design. In particular, a good deal of thought had been given to the delay points running back through the auditorium and set in three blocks of three.

The same applied to the way in which the show was miked up, as George Glossop explained: "Having designed systems for Eddie over the past few years based on B&K lavaliers and Trantec S5000s, I know how much of the subtle throwaway adlibs can be lost unless the information can be delivered above the laughter. It is essential to create an accurate, high power system with generous headroom.

"However, again because of the particular circumstances of the hall and the sources, the energy delivered into the hall needed to be kept to a minimum in quiet sections to minimise reflections. Hence the dynamic range and distribution of the system had to be comprehensive."

"Between the cry of ‘how much money?’ from the promoter and ‘you don’t need all this equipment’ (from sound engineering friends of the promoter) George was under huge pressure to deliver a flawless show," observed Colin Dun


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