West London, UK based Entec Sound & Light supplied sound and lighting equipment and crew for guitar legend Steve Miller’s recent massively successful UK and European tour, showcasing his latest “Bingo” album.
Entec won the contract after being highly recomended to production manager Brett Enzensperger by Milwaukee based Clearwing Productions Inc, the company that supplies technical production for all Steve Miller’s US based live work, and with whom Entec also has a close association.
They wanted an operation that could deliver a competitive all-in production package for sound and lighting. Says Enzensperger, “I asked Clearwing’s Gregg Brunclik who I should use for production in Europe, and Entec was the clear choice. Gregg knows the standards I expect from a rental company, so I knew that Entec would fit the bill … and also that account manager Noreen O’Riordan would put up with me!!”
“The service has been superb,” he states, explaining that O’Riordan not only co-ordinated the sound and lighting kit, but also sourced busses and catering, which saved him lots of time and a large phone bill!
Steve Miller’s show was designed by Norm Schwab of design consortium Lightswitch and is being operated by Randy Garber. The focus was on creating a dramatic and interesting stage ambience that was not distracting. It ensured that the music stayed the main focus, whilst highlighting the highly visual guitar-orientated stage set designed by Rob Roth. Miller’s audience are serious guitar connoisseurs, so lighting ideally needs to be a fine balance of theatre and practicality.
The main set drape at the back featured a constellation of guitars, some of them edged in small LEDs plus two other set drapes that curved up from stage right and left to meet the rear drape. These were also inlaid with guitar cut outs/pictures, again laced with twinkling LEDs for which Entec supplied a 10 Volt power supply. The central scenic element was a 4 ft high guitar head stock, with Neoflex LED strings running down a transparent fret board constructed from silver pipes. This had 6 of its own onboard LED Pars.
Entec – Steve Miller bandThe band were positioned in front of this. Three overhead trusses were behind them, with a front truss downstage, that also included a kabuki reveal at the top of the show, when a large black Space Cowboy cloth dropped away.
The set trusses were made up from 2 spans of Slick minibeam that also facilitated lighting positions, and so were rigged with Vari*Lite 2500 Spots and Martin Professional MAC 700s on drop arms. The upstage lighting truss was 40ft of double hung pre-rigged truss with 10 bars of PARs in total plus 6 x MAC 700 Washes and one V*L2500 Spot in a straight line.
The front truss was built from A-type, with 4 x V*L2500 Spots on drop arms, another 10 bars of 6 in double rows, 4 x ETC Source Four profiles for specials and key lighting, and 4 x 4-lite moles for audience illumination.
On the floor were 4 bars of 6 PARs on vertical stands, together with 4 MAC 700 Washes and 3 V*L 2500 Spots, some of which were positioned on varying height plinths to bring additional depth to the equation.
Entec supplied 10 PixelLine 1044 LED battens for shooting rich colour washes up the back drape, and 2 Gem 247 hazers for atmospherics. A standard Entec distro system was part of the package, together with Avolites dimmers, and two brand new Lycian M2 follow spots, which were purchased specially for the tour.
It was a compact, but highly versatile and flexible rig capable of creating a dynamic range of looks throughout the set, operated by Garber using a grandMA full size Series 1.
Entec’s crew were Pete “Pepper” Schofield, Simon Honnor and Simon “Boff” Howarth, all of whom enjoyed the great vibes, friendly and laid back essence of the tour.
Entec’s audio team was headed up by systems tech Liam Halpin. It was a collaborative effort with Entec supplying the racks and stacks and Clearwing all the control, which was freighted over together with the set. Halpin worked closely with Clearwing’s head of sound, Thomas Martinez, to ensure that FOH engineer Scott Boorey (also Steve Miller’s manager) had everything he needed.
Halpin designed and configured the rig each day, which was then fine tuned and time aligned by Martinez.
Entec – Steve Miller bandThe main hangs were d&b J-Series, 10 cabinets a side, a combination of J8s and J12s, along with side hangs of 6 Q-Series a side … all of which sounded awesome, giving the right mix of clarity and power needed for Miller’s precise and distinctive sound. d&b Q7s were utilised for front fill and there were 10 J-SUBS ground stacked for plenty of low end ‘ooomph’. All of this was powered by D12 amps.
Booney used a Midas Heritage H3000 console for his mix, while monitor engineer Steve McCale preferred a DigiDesign D Show Profile. Their set up included a full ProTools HD recording facility.
The monitors were all in-ears – primarily Sennheiser 2000s – which they own. The only wedge that Entec was asked to provide was an M2 to give out some low end atmospherics for the keyboard player.
“It was all quite straightforward & ran incredibly smoothly,” says Halpin adding that the first gig at London’s Royal Albert Hall brought its own unique set of challenges as always. His number 2 was James Kerridge, and they echoed the lighting department’s comments that it was a fun and enjoyable tour to be part of, working with a great bunch of people.
Story & Photography by Louise Stickland