Live Design Blog Archive

Gearhouse SA supplies R Kelly shows

Gearhouse South Africa supplied lighting, sound and video production plus crew for triple Grammy Award winning US RnB/urban singer/songwriter R Kelly's first visit to South Africa.

The 5 days of production rehearsals at Sun City Superbowl was followed by one show there and another at Cape Town's Grand West Casino.

The project was managed for Gearhouse by Michael Lewis, and their teams worked very closely with R Kelly's lighting designer Nook Schoenfeld and FOH sound engineer Rob "Cubby" Colby.


Llewellyn Reinecke, Gearhouse Audio's systems engineer also looked after FOH. Cubby specified a V-DOSC system, which was flown in Sun City as 12 elements a side for the main left and right hangs, complete with three dv-DOSCs underneath for front downfills. He also specified a 1:1 ratio for subs and V-DOSC, so the 24 subs were ground stacked 3 high and 4 wide on the floor of the Superbowl. Additional hangs of 6 V-DOSCs a side formed outfills for the 9,500 capacity arena.

These were all driven from a combination of LA8 and LA48 amps, and the system was processed with Lake Dolby run via a wireless remote tablet - a standard set up for Gearhouse.

Cubby's FOH console, a Digico D5, was supplied along with a second one for monitor engineer John “Elmo” Sheldon.

A major challenge for the Gearhouse Audio crew was flying the V-DOSC system so it was positioned precisely where Cubby had stipulated it should be in the room - a task made doubly galvanising when his plane was delayed, so it had to be done without him being there! Reinecke used L-Acoustics Sound Vision acoustic modelling software to draw the room and pinpoint the right positions, and worked closely with Gearhouse Rigging who engaged in some serious bridling work to get the exact PA flying positions.

Reinecke comments, "It was really interesting - and very demanding - working with Cubby - which was great. He's one of the most experienced engineers in the industry and everything had to be exactly right."

Onstage, Gearhouse Audio's Andy Furtner oversaw monitor world, which consisted of a row of L-Acoustics HiQ wedges powered by LA 24 amps running along the front line to provide some air movement, together with 4 Turbo 718s and 4 Floodlights for side fills.

The 8 piece band and R Kelly were all on IEMs - they used their own moulds, with Gearhouse supplying Sennheiser belt packs. The stage was really quite loud for them as they are used to an in-ear environment, but for the Gearhouse crew, it was almost eerily quiet onstage.


R Kelly's LD Nook Schoenfeld sent his plot to Gearhouse Lighting where it was co-ordinated by Nasim Bismilla and Pete Currier in the office and George Majola on site.

It consisted of 4 trusses, three flown over-stage in a triangulated arrow shape, with a straight truss at the front, and a white cyc at the back.

For moving lights, he used 30 Robe ColorWash 700E ATs, 16 Robe ColorSpot 700E ATs and 6 Martin Professional MAC 2K Profiles all rigged on the overstage trusses. These were used to provide all the standard basic show elements - washing the stage and band areas, as highlighting specials, for beam-work, etc.

The cyc was up-lit from the floor by 6 MAC 2K Washes which provided a great variety of colour and some texturing. The trusses were all toned with a total of 20 i-Pix satellite LED 'bricks'.

There were also 10 Atomic strobes on the over-stage trusses, together with 6 individual PARs for specials, plus four 19 degree ETC Source Fours positioned on the front truss for key lighting. In the centre of the front truss, a 1 metre diameter mirror ball was hung to provide some additional bling. Gearhouse also supplied 2 FOH follow spots and the Maxxys console on which Schoenfeld ran the show.


Gearhouse AV and Event Cam (also a GHSA company) supplied all the Sun City show's AV requirements, co-ordinated and engineered by Craig McGinn.

The IMAG PPU consisted of 3 Sony BVP 950 cameras - one at FOH with long lens, and the other 2 stage right in the pit and stage left on the balcony, along with 2 'pencil' cameras which were locked off on the drum and keyboard positions onstage.

The IMAG mix was directed by Event Cam's Lynton Allsopp, and beamed onto two 24 x 18ft side screens fed by 2 Christie 8K projectors.

The shows were produced/promoted in SA by Roddy Quinn and Real Concerts.

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