The Killers Get Six of the Best
It's not unknown for the word 'gruelling' to be used with regard to tours, but one of the most ambitious feats yet must be The Killers concluding a year of live dates by playing shows on three separate continents in just five days. In order to achieve it, no less than six DiGiCo consoles were required.
After playing many dates across Europe, Australia, the USA and South America throughout 2009, The Killers finished the tour by playing shows in South Africa on December 6th, the United Arab Emirates on the 8th and the USA on the 11th. This was a huge logistical exercise and meant no less than three separate audio rigs were required for the shows.
Capital Sound Hire provides the band's sound equipment in the UK, Europe and Africa, while Delicate provides systems for them in the Americas and Australia. With the main ('A') touring system, provided by Capital, being used for shows in Johannesburg on 3rd / 4th December and then the final Cape Town gig, logistics meant that the company had to provide an identical 'B' system for the UAE show in Abu Dhabi.
Freighting either system to the far side of the planet and having it ready for action in a couple of days was an impossibility, the rig that Delicate had provided for The Killers' South American tour was used as a third, 'C', rig for the US show in San Francisco.
With Front of House engineer James Gebhard using a DiGiCo SD7 console and monitor man Harm Schopman a D5, this meant that six DiGiCo mixing desks were involved.
"There's a lot going on with The Killers. People think of them as a straightforward rock band, but there are something like 90 inputs," says Capital Sound project manager Paul Timmins. "There are two or three different guitar amps for each of the guys, so James takes separate inputs for pretty well everything."
Both the SD7 and D5 at each show ran with two fully loaded stage racks. Capital ran two of the company's 48 way splitters, which effectively covered the required channel count. In the early stages, James was carrying some outboard equipment, but for the latter part of the tour both he and Harm were using the consoles onboard processing almost exclusively.
Using three different systems for the three shows could have been very difficult for the bands technical crew. But having formed a very close working relationship with Capital Sound, it all went very smoothly.
"The band and crew have always been precise in the way that they want everything packaged, to enable them to carry everything for festival shows - the majority of which they've been headlining for the last two years," says Paul. "Their schedule has always been gruesome, to the point that they don't get to some venues until early evening - so the packaging has been crucial in allowing them to fit their gear in whilst other acts have been going on. And with no sound check...
"We've been working with them long enough that we're at a point that we can create what they need without any of their guys coming in. They send us a file of information and that's good enough to build it right the way through. We shared that information with Delicate and, without any equipment moving from one company to the other, they duplicated the package."
"The A and B systems were air freighted out to South Africa and Abu Dhabi respectively, without any prep from the touring Killers crew, and both systems worked perfectly," says Harm. "And Delicate's C system had been prepped by me and BJ before start of the US tour in October."
As well as the DiGiCo consoles, the touring packages featured d&b M2 monitor wedges, Sennheiser in-ear systems, wireless tablets for PA tuning and ASL communications packs, whilst the main PA was supplied locally. With Capital system tech BJ Hemmingsen and Delicate tech Fumi Okazaki on the case, the transition between systems at the Cape Town, Abu Dhabi and San Francisco shows was completely seamless.
"The Abu Dhabi show began within two or three hours of the band turning up. We were obviously a bit nervous, so to get the mails coming back saying 'It all went fantastically well, thank you' was very good," says Paul. "Delicate also did a fantastic job and everyone was happy. We have a very good all-round relationship with them."