West London rental company Entec Sound & Light renewed its incredible 17 year acquaintance as a technical production supplier for the Bootleg Beatles on their latest UK tour …… supplying lighting and audio equipment plus crew.
Entec project manager Noreen O'Riordan comments, "Entec has been associated with the Bootleg Beatles since 1994. The band and crew take great pride in producing authentic sound and visuals based on the original Beatles shows of the 1960s, creating a stunning atmospheric evening that appeals to all generations”.
The band are known as the definitive Beatles tribute act as well as the longest running and most successful, having formed in 1980 and been performing worldwide regularly ever since!
The show includes a full span of Beatles favourite tracks, complete with costume changes to match the era. The UK tour plays a wide variety of venues from theatres and concert halls to a selection of arenas, to wildly enthusiastic audiences cutting across all demographics.
To deal practically and efficiently with the different venues, both lighting and sound designs needed to be adaptable, and this was a key starting point for LD Mark Jones and FOH engineer Marc Langley.
Looking after sound for Entec was systems tech Chunk Charters, who is in his fourth year of working for the Bootleg Beatles, and still loving it! "There's a brilliant family atmosphere on the tour – we work hard and have fun," he comments, a sentiment echoed by other crew.
The sound system is a d&b Q Series line array, which is flown or ground stacked in multiple configurations depending on the place and space - with a typical flown set up being eight Q1, four Q-sub, two B2-sub per side with E3, Q7 and Q10 for infills, outfills and front fills. It's rare that two days are ever the same! The show is mixed by Langley using a Yamaha PM5D-RH.
Monitor engineer Simon Lutkin is using a Yamaha M7 CL console, and in keeping with the period feel of the performance, they are all on wedges and wired mics, utilising eight d&b M2 wedges, plus eight E3s for the orchestra and brass fills. There is a full complement of mics, with a heavy emphasis on Shure SM57s and 58s. Many of the instruments and back line elements also date back to the real Beatles heydays of the 1960s.
The main challenges for the sound department are definitely in dealing with the mix of venues, explains Charters. In some cases, if the house flying system would have to have been removed to accommodate them, they will leave it in and patch their stacks into the touring desks and the stage/monitor/floor package, which also works well. "One of the beauties of d&b is that it's a very easy and flexible system when it comes to either adding or subtracting,” says Charters.
The other crucial consideration is sightlines, which have to be clear and clean in all directions, a process aided by the Entec crew's fund of experience and knowledge of the venues on the itinerary. Optimising the show to fit into different environments each day is also a big part of the buzz of â€˜making it happen' and everyone thinking on their feet to overcome the quirkiness of some of the rooms elucidated Charters.
For the larger arena shows - including the NIA Birmingham - extra gear in the form of additional Q1s, Q-subs and B2s was trucked up from Entec.
Pete “Pepper” Schofield co-ordinated all the lighting requirements on the road for Entec, working on his second Bootleg Beatles tour, and ensuring that all Mark Jones' requirements were met.
The lighting design partly mimics a vintage feel, so the moving lights are used subtly and the main objective is to light the band well and atmospherically without it being too busy or over-complicated.
The set up is a straightforward front and rear truss with a small amount of lighting on the floor.
The front truss features six Clay Paky HPE 300s and two Martin Professional MAC 250 Washes, plus an Optikinetics K4 projector – a quality antique piece of kit but not quite dating back as far as the Beatles! – which is fitted with a liquid oil wheel for some authentic liquid effects onto a projection screen hung off the back truss.
Also on the back truss are four Studio Due CS4 bars, four Sunstrips. five CP Alpha Beam 700s for big powerful beam effects, another six of the neatly sized Clay Paky HPE 300s and four MAC 250 Washes, which are also compact and bright.
On the floor are three CS4 bars, positioned along the back of the stage on stands.
Entec is also controlling the music stand lights for the eight piece orchestra from their dimmers.
Joining Schofield on the crew is Jonathan Cope, and Mark Jones also works with them every day, and runs the show from his Jands Vista S3 console.
Bootleg Beatles Manager Raj Patel, says, "The band have always shown loyalty to their suppliers and none more so than Entec Sound and Light. Entec provided sound and lighting systems for our first show at the Royal Albert Hall in 1994. Their co-operation and help in putting that first show together secured their services for the next 18 years! Noreen and Dick have always helped us as the show has grown and developed. This has not just been in supplying equipment …. their advice and friendship have enabled the band to successfully stage shows at some of the UK's biggest venues. The Bootlegs look forward to celebrating their 20th Anniversary of this relationship with Entec in 2014!"
For more press info on Entec, please call Louise Stickland on +44 (0)1865 202679/+44 (0)7831 329888 or Email [email protected]'. To contact Entec direct, call +44 (0)20 8842 4004 or check www.entec-soundandlight.com.