The grand opening of Fleetwood’s in the heart of downtown Lahaina, Maui, was not your ordinary restaurant/club affair. Four nights of music reflected the fact that the Fleetwod behind Fleetwood’s is Mick Fleetwood…

Kevin J Olson and Mick FleetwoodUnsurprisingly, the Mick Fleetwood Blues Band opened the venue, with guitarist/singer Rick Vito, bassist Lenny Castellanos and keyboardist/harmonica player Mark Johnstone welcoming a guest appearance from blues star Jonny Lang. The second night featured the Island Rumors Band (IRB) with Fleetwood, Vito, Castellanos, Johnstone, singer/guitarist Eric Gilliom and vocalist Gretchen Rhodes, with special guests Steven Tyler, Jonny Lang, Joe Caro and Maui’s own Willie K. Night three saw the return of the IRB, with Hawaiian singer-songwriter-guitarists, Henry Kapono and Willie K, and singer Amy Hanaiali’i Gilliom.

On the final night, the party moved upstairs for the restaurant’s first rooftop show, with King Paris and his Hip-notic Guitar, featuring Rick Vito and his band, the Hypnotics.

All four shows saw Maui Recording owner Lynn Peterson at FOH with the club’s new DiGiCo SD9 Rack Pack console. Peterson had an additional SD10 brought in by Pat Ku (Rhema Services) for the second and third nights, to handle on stage monitoring. The club’s PA was comprised L-Acoustics ARCS and SB28 subs, with EAW monitors and Crown amps.

‘The concerts went off without a hitch, and the walls are still shakin’,’ say Peterson, who has a longstanding working relationship with Fleetwood. ‘It’s always a blast to mix any version of the Fleetwood bands. It was my debut outing on a DiGiCo of any sort, and it all worked great.

‘As we are in a restaurant and extremely tight on space, the SD9 served as both our FOH and monitor console.

‘On the first night I used three matrixes, eight monitor mixes, four effects and 56 channels of multitrack recording all simultaneously from one SD9, and it all worked great.

‘I had very little time to drive the console around in preparation for the show, I plugged it in the day it arrived, hooked up a mic and some headphones, listened to my voice a little bit, and immediately thought the EQs and compressors sounded very nice. I have years of experience both live and in the studio with all kinds of gear – even mixers with pots instead of faders – so I know when a manufacturer nails it. I found everything to be extremely user-friendly with the touch screen, and I really liked the split groups of fader selections with the flexibility to have all my vocal and solo instrument channel strips always available. So I turned it off and put it away until the day of the show.

‘I also sent a matrix feed to the video, so I could beef up the guitar levels for them. I started out with a second matrix for the speakers on the rooftop, where we had several video screens, more SB28 subs and some JBL VRXs. I decided to change and use an aux send instead, starting out with all the levels at unity, in post-fader. That way, I could raise the aux send levels of guitars, and things that were really loud off the stage on the main floor – and not balanced in the mix going upstairs – while still having everything follow my fader moves. With a little compression on the whole mix to the roof, it worked pretty well. There were a couple hundred more people up there, and I heard there were about 2,000 down in the street. So we wanted to make it nice for all of them as well.’

For the second and third shows, Peterson brought in the SD10 and a splitter for monitors: ‘We had decided during soundcheck for the first show, that our needs for the line-up on the next two nights, were going to be a little too demanding to use just the remote laptop. However, by the end of the Blues Band’s show that night, we had gotten by amazingly well. The console was flown in from Oahu the next morning and was set up in a VIP booth, and Pat Ku did a wonderful job of getting it in sync with the SD9, and ready to rock just in time for soundcheck.

‘On the night of the Blues Band, Pat Ku from Rhema did monitors onstage using the laptop remote. It was a challenge to say the least as our monitor mixes changed a lot throughout the night. Handling monitors without a dedicated monitor console is certainly not for the faint of heart when you are working with this scale of artist, on what is technically a one-off.’

The shows were recorded to multitrack using Nuendo running on a MacBook Pro with an RME MADIface. ‘We were able to copy the Madi feeds from the racks to the RME MADIface,’ Peterson says. ‘I’m putting them into Pro Tools over at my studio, where I will mix the stuff and sync it to the four-camera HD shoot we did. As for what they’ll be used for, ya just never know. Stay tuned…

‘On the first night, the console was the least of my concerns, as I’m certain you’ll understand the pressures of a new venue having its opening night, so I just trusted that I’d figure it out. Pat showed me the routing, the session set-up, channel assignment, etc, and I found it to be very intuitive. I’ve used a few different digital consoles on live shows, and thought I usually prefer a big analogue desk and racks of gear, but I think these DiGiCo consoles are the most user-friendly digital mixers I’ve ever used. Without a side-by-side comparison, I’d have to say the SD9 is perhaps the best-sounding digital board in this price range, and maybe beyond. With a couple of online videos, and just a few minutes with a guy who’s used it, you’re going to be up and running pretty fast, and you’ll be right at home with these consoles. I’m very glad we bought this one, and I look forward to using it again soon. In fact, we’re doing a show at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center in just few days, and I will definitely be taking this to use. A special thanks to my longtime friend Matt Larson from DiGiCo/Group One for turning me on to this.’

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