Sir Cliff Richard celebrated his 70th birthday in October with a week of concerts at the Royal Albert Hall, complete with a swing band and Midas PRO6s for front of house and monitors.
As the shows were more complex than Sir Cliff’s usual live appearances, both PRO6s were full to capacity. Engineers Mike ‘Bunny’ Warren (FOH) and John ‘JJ’ James (monitors), who’ve worked with Richard for 12 and 30 years respectively, were new to the PRO6, and both were unanimous in their praise for the system.
Bunny felt the PRO6 had been a boon for the notoriously difficult acoustics of the Albert Hall. “It’s definitely helped in this environment,” he says. “The EQ just does what you want it to do, and I’ve been able to add definition between different instruments, which has been especially useful as 24 of my 56 inputs are brass. To get a difference between each of the saxes, and the trumpets, for example, I’m able to lift each one little bit, and you can really hear each one lift.
“The sound is legendary Midas, what more can I say. I’ve even had someone from the audience come up and tell me how good the echo is! The delay, reverb, gates and compressors all work really well and sound great. I don’t need any outboard, just a CD player, and I’m happy. I’ve been waiting for Midas to bring out a console that does what the PRO6 does; it’s great to be back on a Midas. After two days training I couldn’t wait to get out there and start using it.”
Over on monitors, JJ was not only dealing with personal monitoring systems, in-ears and wedges, he was also calling the whole show to Sir Cliff on his in-ear system.
“I really have to get the desk running on autopilot, with a separate cue for every song, and the whole show running on automation, “ he says. “With 13 brass, percussion, drums, two bass guitar, two keyboards, three backing vocalists and Cliff, I’m using all 56 inputs and 32 outputs of the PRO6. As the desk is so full, I’m using the POP groups constantly.”
JJ also relied on the Midas offline editor to set up part of the show before rehearsals started; another useful tool which helped with the show’s complex nature.
As well as some of his classic hits, the Albert Hall concerts also featured songs from Sir Cliff’s forthcoming album, Bold As Brass.