Queen tour rocks arenas – old style


7 August 2014

August 2014 Issue
Production Profile – by Kevin M. Mitchell

Queen + Adam Lambert tour gets Clair Global support. Photo by Steve Jennings
Queen + Adam Lambert tour gets Clair Global support. Photo by Steve Jennings

“Queen is an old school rock band, so you can’t snapshot with a digital console and count on that working every night,” says monitor engineer Gary Stokes. “They don’t play the same every night, so you have to ride those levels.”

On the current Queen + Adam Lambert outing, there is indeed a lot of fader riding, but no one is complaining. There’s been ample work for sound company Clair Global and the entire tech crew. The North American leg of the sellout tour kicked off June 19 at Chicago’s United Center and wrapped up Toronto’s Air Canada Centre on July 27, with several additional shows added along the way to keep up with the cheering fans and rave reviews.

Fronting the band in the tough-to-fill shoes for the late, great Freddie Mercury is 2009 American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert, joined by Queen alumni guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor, supported bassist Neil Fairclough, keyboardist Spike Edney and Taylor’s son, Rufus Tiger Taylor, on percussion.

On the tech side, making sure everything sounds as good as it looks, are Robert Collins at FOH, Kerry Lewis (band monitors), Gary Stokes (monitors for Adam Lambert) and system engineer David Coyle.

It’s big, it’s loud, it’s brassy and it’s a lot of work. Coyle says the biggest amount of work in setting up the show is on the stage. “We’re carrying 36 wedges and three side fills — it’s vast. I have half a truck of gear just for the stage.” Sound checks tend to be long, often still going on past when the doors open. But that’s okay with the crew, because they know that with this band, precision is important.

“This is a straightforward rock ‘n’ roll show,” declares Coyle. And the goal is to have it sound “like the record.”  READ ON – HERE