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ADLIBing with John Barrowman

ADLIBing with John Barrowman


Liverpool UK based ADLIB is supplying a complete sound, lighting and AV package for the current John Barrowman UK Tour, with Steve Rayment tour managing the operation and Paul Crockford as tour director.

It's ADLIB's third tour with Barrowman and a full ADLIB crew, delivering a good looking, highly effective, technical package with high production values and the debut of Adlib's brand new Coda Audio sound system.

Barrowman himself was impressed enough to declare at soundcheck, “This system sounds absolutely awesome”!


FOH is being mixed by Walter Jaquiss who is getting an amazingly full sound out of the Coda, with the vocals right out on top of Barrowman's 9 piece house band throughout the busy show, which embraces a myriad of musical genres.

The main left and right hangs are 24 Coda Airline LA12s, with 24 LA8s for side hangs (10 a side) and infills. There are 8 SC8 subs ground stacked in 4 columns of 2 across the front of the stage … and all of it is powered by Coda C10 amps.

They are using the Coda DNC 260 processors across the system which are very high resolution, and systems tech Kenny Perrin is using the standard ADLIB Dolby Lake processing set up for EQ and time alignment.

The FOH console is a 96 channel Soundcraft Vi6, on which Jaquiss is taking advantage of all the onboard processing , plus additionals in the form of some Waves plug-ins for extra EQ & dynamics, and a Lexicon PCM91 reverb.... used on Barrowman's vocal.

Using an RME MADI capture card plugged into a laptop, he can do virtual soundchecks - in addition to the real ones.

Monitors are mixed by LJ. It's a completely clean stage, with everyone on Sennheiser G3 IEMs, with 4 mixes running for Barrowman and 6 hard-wired mixes for the rest of the band. There are however 3 token ADLIB MP3 wedges along the front of the stage for the dancers, who are an integral part of the show's visuals and humour.

LJ is also mixing on a Vi6 … it's a 64 input band, so he needed a desk with 96 channels to automate all the effects.

It's been a bit of a challenge and a good learning curve using a new system in the various different venues elucidates Perrin, saying that he is starting to compile a little 'book of tricks' on how to maximise the system and get the rigging and de-rigging times honed down to a tight schedule that sees them go from load in to finishing the line check in just 3 hours!

“The top end (of the Coda) is amazing,” he says, referring to the clarity and separation between the vocals and all the instruments. He adds that the service and support from Coda Audio has also been excellent. Jaquiss also thinks the mid highs are smooth and clear, pointing out that ADLIB did a lot of research and evaluation before committing to the purchase.

Jaquiss states that ADLIB is his first choice of rental company, “The kit is always good, very well maintained and prepped, and it's really obvious that they put a lot of effort into it”.


ADLIB's Andy Rowe made a fantastic job of lighting and visuals on an expedient budget, designing a rig that had enough flexibility and scope to cover the variety in Barrowman's set.

Having system tech'd on the last 2 tours, this time around he stepped up to take on the LD role, which he is really enjoying, working alongside Charlie Rushton and Chris Neary.

The rig has front and back trusses and 2 gently raked side trusses. On the back were 8 Martin Professional MAC 700 Profiles and 7 x MAC 700 Washes. On the sides are 3 MAC 700 profiles and 4 x MAC 301 LED Washes, which he thinks are very cool, as well as being lightweight and slim in profile.

The upstage lights are used rock ‘n' roll style for beam work and dramatic back lighting looks, whilst light from the side fixtures cuts across stage evoking a more theatrical look with the dancers on the forestage. Effectively this splits the stage area into two separate halves for lighting.

On the front truss are 6 x MAC 700 Washes, 9 Source Four 19 degree profiles and 6 x 2-lites for the audience – the show features plenty of interaction!

On the floor are another 6 MAC 301s at the back, together with 6 PixelPAR 90s, and another 2 x MAC 700 Washes each side.

Rowe runs the show on a Road Hog Full Boar with a Wing, which also triggers the Catalyst media server running the visuals.

A 30 ft wide white upstage cyc is the projection surface, and the Sanyo XF47 projector is mounted on the front truss, fed by content from a Catalyst v4 Pro media server.

The visuals are a mix of colourful ambient moving wallpaper effects, together with some VT play-ins and sequences of stills of Barrowman's family and personal collections which are used to illustrate his stories.

The video cues are triggered by a combination of timecode and manual.

The end result is an exceptionally classy, good, solid sounding production with style, flair, diversity and all the technical and aesthetic ingredients essential for an evening of entertainment with John Barrowman.

This is an area at which ADLIB excels, and being able to provide sound, lighting and AV all from one company plus experienced and knowledgeable crew across all disciplines brings a real coherence to the picture.

For more press info. on ADLIB, please contact Louise Stickland on +44 (0)1865 202679 or +44 (0)7831 329888, or Email ‘[email protected]', Contact ADLIB direct on +44 (0)151 486 2214 or check

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