Coldplay

On 22 November 2019, Coldplay performed ‘Sunrise’ and ‘Sunset’ sets at Amman’s Citadel, Jordan, both streamed live on YouTube to mark the release of the band’s new album, Everyday Life. A few days before the Amman performances, Coldplay’s management announced the addition of a one-off live show on 25 November at London’s Natural History Museum. Selected songs of this performance will be available on radio and social media, with proceeds donated to an environmental charity.

Following Coldplay’s decision not to tour the release for environmental reasons, the band devised this alternative: ‘We wanted to pick somewhere in the middle of the world where we normally don’t get to play’, singer Chris Martin told the BBC.

ColdplayUnsurprisingly, what looked easy at show time was the result of intense preparations involving the best people in the industry. Tony Smith (audio designer, FOH tech and crew chief) liaised with Toby Alington, broadcast sound engineer extraordinaire, to find a solution for the Amman broadcast mix. Toby in turn approached Dirk Sykora to discuss a Lawo console solution for Jordan through SR Films. Alington mixed the two sets live in Amman with the help of Coldplay producer and sound engineer Rik Simpson, and FOH engineer Dan Green.

Both the band and the technical crew had arrived in Amman one week prior to the Sunrise and Sunset performances. According to Dirk Sykora, who configured and programmed the Lawo mc²56 mixing console used for the streaming events, a total of 192 inputs were recorded on three separate DAW machines and mixed live on the console for stereo broadcast.

The band rehearsed the new material at a theatre in downtown Amman to allow the technical crew to connect all the technical dots, program the console and tweak countless parameters to perfectionAfter the rehearsals and live recordings at the theatre, the gear was carried uphill and set up in tents close to the location where the band performed its Sunrise and Sunset concerts.

ColdplayThe two performances were ‘proper’ live gigs that were also filmed and streamed: ‘It certainly wasn’t an event filmed to playback,’ Alington assures. ‘We really needed those 192 audio channels, and additionally rigged an array of ambience mics around the Citadel to capture Amman’s live ‘atmos’ at dawn and dusk The whole project was magic – everything fell snugly into place.’

Dirk Sykora of Lawo concurs: ‘Coldplay’s Sunrise and Sunset gigs at Amman’s Citadel are among the absolute highlights of my professional career.’

After two shows whose impact was felt on a global scale, band and crew flew to London for the live gig at the Natural History Museum. With FOH mixed by Dan Green, the performance was also recorded and mixed by Toby Alington and Rik Simpson using the Floating Earth OB truck – again with a Lawo mc²56 console based on the settings Sykora had prepared and saved in Amman and later transferred to the console in the OB truck.

Simpson and Alington were involved in both Amman and London events, and were satisfied with the equipment supplied by the Dutch company SR Films and the sound quality of Lawo’s mc²56 console: ‘This console works the way my brains works,’ Alington says. ‘And it sounds superb.’

The WWF welcomed Coldplay’s initiative to postpone touring until a more environment-conscious strategy has been found. With the advances of IP-based remote production, streaming and cutting-edge workflows, Lawo is more than willing to help the band shrink its carbon footprint while retaining the limelight.

More: www.lawo.com

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