The beginning of June saw Robbie Williams kick off his Heavy Entertainment Show tour at Manchester’s Etihad Stadium. The tour has since continued throughout the summer, in stadia, fields and arenas across the UK and Europe, with audio requirements met by Robbie’s long-term supplier, Britannia Row Productions.

Robbie Williams' Heavy Entertainment Show Both FOH and monitors have been using DiGiCo’s flagship SD7 console: ‘The show is complicated, so both SD7s are running to time code,’ explains Brit Row’s Josh Lloyd. ‘There are 18 people on stage, as well as the techs all being provided with monitors. The time code enables multiple Snapshot sequences to be fired for mix changes within a song, or to allow musical segues to happen seamlessly, so that Jonathan can focus on mixing the show for Robbie.

‘At FOH, much the same time code removes the need to hit various critical cues between musical transitions and allows Simon to focus on the creative side of mixing and making sure Robbie’s vocal is always heard. This is something not many other desks can do so easily.’

Simon Hodge, Robbie’s FOH engineer, has been using an SD7 for the past six years and continues to rely on it to handle this complex show. Jonathan Digby takes care of monitors, keeping the seat warm for long-standing monitor engineer, Pete Mc Glynn, who is recovering from an accident he had shortly before the tour took off. Digby is also deploying a SD7 which, he says, is used to its capacity.

Both SD7s use Gain Tracking and are on an optical loop, with two SD-Racks handling all the inputs from stage, an SD-Mini Rack handles all the Sennheiser Digital 6000 wireless microphones, which are fed in via AES/EBU, and a second SD-Mini Rack handles inserts and PA outputs at FOH. The optical loop is used not only to gain share, but to distribute comms and the comprehensive talkback system between FOH and the stage.

‘Around 96 inputs come from the stage, plus a large amount of inputs for band talkback and comms, which allow the band to communicate with the techs and Jonathan at monitors,’ Lloyd says. ‘On top of this, we have triggers on the drums just to key the Gates on the console. Before you know it, the racks are all full.’

For outputs, there are 24 channels of Sennheiser 2050 wireless in-ear monitors, an Aviom personal mixing system for the drummer, a couple of hardwired mixes, various tech mixes and routing, which mean the monitor desk is also fully loaded.

Erasure, who are supporting Robbie throughout the tour, are also using a DiGiCo SD11, which handles both their FOH and monitor requirements. The tour continues in Europe until mid-September, with a final date in Australia in March 2018.

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