Hosted by Lemar and fellow Magic Radio presenter Angie Greaves, Magic Soul Live had all the ingredients of an unforgettable party: a soul music jamboree graced with some of history’s best-loved songs, performed by such stellar artists as Motown diva Martha Reeves, Rose Royce’s Gwen Dickey, Gabrielle, Kenny Thomas, Jaki Graham, Acid Jazz pioneers the Brand New Heavies, ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ vocalist Tommy Blaize, ‘The Voice’ finalist Michelle John, and Andrew Strong, star of ‘The Commitments’.
Staged at the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith on February 23rd with lighting designed by Dan Street of Street Light and supplied by Entec, Magic Soul Live 2019 was the second annual show produced by event production agency TBI Media.
For the last few years, Craig Greaves has been helming TBI’s technical production for broadcast shows and other live events, hiring the best services and ensuring delivery on budget. Craig, who runs Maidenhead-based CSG Events, said: “Last February’s show at the London Palladium [with Alexander O’Neal, Heather Small, Mica Paris and Andrew Roachford] sold out so easily that we knew a larger venue would be needed this time. With its 3,500+ capacity, the Apollo is an ideal platform for a stepped-up production in 2019.
“TBI’s appointment of Dan Street as LD was a great choice. After Dan prepared his design in WYSIWYG, I looked it over from a practical standpoint, then liaised with Adam Stevenson at Entec to get the best possible package.”
Craig explained that Entec won the contract following a recommendation by the Apollo’s management. He said: “Moving into a new venue can sometimes be daunting but Entec have made it very simple and painless. Their long experience of the Apollo means they have a reliable understanding of the best and most time-efficient load-in methods. When you only have four hours to load in, that counts for an awful lot. There’s no window for delays – you have to know that the kit is prepped correctly and ready to go. Fortunately, Entec’s crew on this, Lee Stennett and Andy Emmerson, give the impression they are working at home, and the company’s suggestion of hiring local crew from Stage Miracles has been a real benefit.”
Lee reported that an intense period followed the 8am ‘get-in’, with R. Jameson Transport tipping a single 45’ truck. “Almost everything was in the air by 10.30; it’s just been a case of finessing since then,” he commented in the middle of the afternoon. “Dan’s had his nose to the grindstone. He really knows his craft and is a very amiable guy.”
BOLD & COLOURFUL
After a busy rehearsal schedule ended just before doors, Dan discussed his work on this year’s event. In heavy demand as a designer and programmer across television, events and theatre, with regular clients including the Royal Albert Hall and the BBC, he first worked with TBI Media on a live orchestral performance marking the release of Disney’s new version of ‘Beauty & The Beast’ at the Leicester Square Odeon.
Having been invited to light Magic Soul Live last year, Dan was delighted to return for its follow-up. He said: “We used the extensive house rig at the Palladium, but staging the event at the Apollo meant designing something to ensure a wide pool of options for over 25 numbers across the evening. It was a pleasure to work directly with the team at Entec. Having access to their varied stock of rental equipment, coupled with their extensive knowledge of the Apollo, made the process from design to delivery extremely smooth and worry free.”