Expertise and “pristine kit” from Entec were central to a compelling performance by Spanish icon Julio Iglesias.

Latin singer-songwriter legend Julio Iglesias returned London’s Royal Albert Hall for the first time in five years on October 28th to celebrate 50 years in entertainment as Entec proudly supplied sound and lighting production. Hailed an outstanding success, his show was an exclusive UK appearance as part of a Europe-wide tour that celebrated the artist’s 50th anniversary.

A veteran of the Latin live music world, the production brains behind Mr Iglesias’ touring career is Raymundo ‘Lefty’ Barajas, who has worked with the artist for nearly 10 years. How did he hook up with Entec for this one-off special? “I was in touch with Dave Hale from the promoter, Kilimanjaro Live, who was advancing this production for London,” said Raymundo. “It was understood that we would be using the venue’s d&b PA system and after I sent him our technical rider, Dave suggested that Entec would be an ideal partner for delivering the best package.”

The show design represented an ongoing evolution of a theme originally established around 10 years ago by the Iglesias production team. Raymundo explained: “It’s something with which Julio is very comfortable, so we only tend to modify it every other year to keep things fresh. The original lighting designer, Antonio Manuel Gómez from Spain, left our team a while ago but we remain loyal to his concept that, to a large degree, was informed by the artist himself.”

Mr Iglesias’ preference is for static, theatrical lighting as opposed to more adventurous modern stylings. The current LD, Andy ‘Fig’ Figueroa handled his side of the production with due respect. He commented: “The soft nature of what is a ballad-heavy set of love songs calls for a sober approach, so while I cue colour swoops there’s very little physical movement. I basically create up to six cues for a ballad although in one of the songs I only have two lighting looks. You just don’t need any more than that to decorate this performance and I also learned early on that he cannot bear the inclusion of smoke or lasers. You very quickly pick up on what is and what isn’t going to be appropriate.”

Meeting Andy’s control spec to the letter, Entec supplied a grandMA2 full-size console along with an MA2 light as a back-up. His fixtures included 18 Martin MAC Viper profiles, 18 Martin MAC Aura XB compact wash lights, 12 Philips Vari*Lite VL1100 TSD LED luminaires, six Claypaky Sharpys and eight Thomas 8-lite DWE Molefay units.

Although his predecessor’s design was fundamental to the general flavour of the show, Andy had plenty of freedom to inject his own creativity, thanks to the 76 year old performer referred to backstage as ‘Don Julio’ – the man who has sold more than 250 million records worldwide in 14 languages, and is arguably most famous in the UK for his 1981 chart-topper ‘Begin The Beguine’.

Said Andy: “Through one of his assistants, Don Julio told me that he trusted me to do whatever I felt was right. He is a living legend; to a lot of people, particularly in Spain, he is royalty in the same way that Pavarotti was to Italians. I worked for him in 1987 as a truss monkey when he was still basking in the afterglow of ‘Begin The Beguine’. It really is a massive honour to play this part in his shows. All of us on the crew are 100% dedicated to serving this great man.”+44 (0) 7713 099088; mark@liveculture.co.uk

Andy Fig was aided by Entec crew chief Simon Chandler-Honnor and Andrew Russell who managed the lion’s share of the install, and Lee Stennett who ran networking and control. “After hooking up with Entec on Incubus last year, I knew exactly what to expect,” commented the LD. “In the office, Noreen O’Riordan and Adam Stevenson have an incredible grasp of exactly what designers need to make this work. They are so co-operative and supportive, just like their crew at the gig.”

SOUND MATTERS

During the latter stages of planning, Kilimanjaro hired Fraser ‘Stumpy’ McAvoy to look after a number of technical production issues in consultation with Dave Hale. His presence was welcomed by many of the key personnel, not least Andy Fig who commented: “Stumpy was such a great team player to have onboard. When you have people like this behind you – and pristine equipment for the job in hand – you literally can’t ask for more.”

A client of Entec for tours by the likes of Editors and Skunk Anansie, Stumpy has become a regular face on a number of the company’s special projects. “Lighting was already specified when I came in,” he stated. “I then recognised that we needed to add sound to the overall package. The in-house PA was designed to cover every seat in the auditorium and you can’t argue with that but there were a lot of practical advantages to hiring control and monitors from Entec, as well as their crew, whom I trust implicitly.

“This gave the artist’s crew the opportunity to visit Entec’s warehouse a day before the show to prepare the consoles and the monitor system, and check that everything would be ready to roll out the next morning. Their helpful nature and the amount of pre-production made everything go so smoothly on show day that if left us a comfortable window of time during soundcheck to work closely with Mr Iglesias.”

Audio fidelity is paramount for Mr Iglesias, whose FOH mix was engineered by Chris Carlton on a DiGiCo SD10 console while Wish Wadi ran monitors from a 48-channel Avid Venue Profile. Both desks were supplied with Waves plug-in bundles as well as a modicum of outboard gear, such as the TC Electronics M6000 MkII multi-processor, Tube-Tech LCA 2B compressor and Avalon VT737SP valve compressor.

Entec added d&b J8 cabinets as side fills and the stage monitoring combined both in-ear systems and wedges. While the majority of the musicians were using Shure PSM1000 IEMs along with d&b M4 wedges and a Y-Sub as part of the drum fill, Don Julio travelled with his own Shure PSM700 IEM system and requested his personal choice of Meyer Sound MJF-212 wedges.

Stumpy explained: “Mr Iglesias has a preference for the MJF-212, which isn’t the most commonly available product in the UK, but Entec responded very courteously, going out of their way to source exactly what he wanted. I think he just likes the additional energy that the wedges give him.”

The artist also brought his personal AKG C535 microphone while Entec provided the remainder of the mic systems including a Shure Axient Digital wireless hub, Shure SM58, 57 and 81 models, and DPA 4099 Core clip-on instrument mics, plus Radial DI boxes.

Latin singer-songwriter legend Julio Iglesias returned London’s Royal Albert Hall for the first time in five years on October 28th to cele“Entec has been my preferred audio supplier for many years and we had the wonderful Matt Grounds covering FOH,” said Stumpy, referring to the crew supplied by the company. “The artist’s team were very keen on doing a site visit until I told them how knowledgable Matt is about the venue and its resident d&b system. If they had any questions, he would be the go-to guy, so that put them at ease.” Matt was joined by PA tech Tom Olorenshaw and monitor tech Adam Bonner.

VIDEO

Entec teamed up with its regular video partner Transition to add a package of LED, projection, cameras and a Blackmagic PPU to the production, with Stumpy advising on the final specification. The Aylesbury-based specialist provided six 1.2 x 3m upstage columns of ROE Visual CB5 screen, with a Catalyst media server that hosted a variety of atmospheric content produced and cued by Andy Fig from his MA2, via Art-Net. “I have to praise Simon Pugsley, who uploaded and managed all of my content on Catalyst, and was a brilliant right-hand man,” said Andy.

The package also included Panasonic DZ21k 20k ANSI video projectors which were used in conjunction with a pair of 20’ x 11’ fastfold IMAG screens. These received feeds from the company’s new Sony HXC FB80 camera system, combined with a Canon XJ95 long lens at FOH and a Canon HJ22 on stage.

Carl Stage managed the project for Transition and worked alongside camera director Richard Shipman, projectionist Tim Curwen, LED tech Toby Molloy, engineer Bjorn Parry and camera operators Anna Lucia Sadler and Alex Barratt. Other suppliers involved in the event included John Henry’s (backline), Fly By Nite (trucking), IrresistAble Force (local crew) and Bittersweet (catering).

Entec’s long and frequent association with major events at the Royal Albert Hall proved to be an asset during the production load-in and load-out, according to Raymundo. “It’s one of the most iconic venues in the world but not the easiest for setting up a show. Thanks to Entec’s experience, however, we were ahead of ourselves by the afternoon. They were dedicated to making this a stress-free exercise from start to finish, so it was great to rely on this level of support. Every one of them is a tremendously open-minded professional and we, along with Mr Iglesias himself, were very happy with how it turned out. I look forward to working with Entec again in the future.”

julioiglesias.com

kilimanjarolive.co.uk

Photography courtesy of Andy Figueroa