Story: Kate Lyon
Photo Credits: John Marshall - JM Enternational
Not since Adele performed ‘Someone like you’ at the Brit Awards in 2011 has the O2 audience sat in such reverential hush. Chris Martin’s tribute ‘duet’ with George Michael at Brits 2017 was as spine tingling as it gets, and more authentic than you might imagine, as Michael’s long time sound engineer, Garry Bradshaw explains.
“Chris Martin was singing live while obviously George’s vocal was a recording of ‘A Different Corner’ but not a studio recording; this was a live take from one of his concerts on the Symphonica tour. For me, hearing his voice again like that really raised the hairs on the back of my neck.” Not surprisingly a lot of attention went into this performance, “We rehearsed on site the previous day,” explains Bradshaw.
“Myself and Dan Green for Chris Martin had half the desk each, I had the left side, three faders, one of the music which was recorded specially for this performance, one of George from the tour and a fader for those little bits of dialogue that were cut into the tribute.” The desk, a Digico SD7, was provided by Britannia Row Productions as was the entire live audio infrastructure. “Josh Lloyd from Britrow looked after front of house, he is very, very good; I have hundred percent trust in him, he knows that SD7 better than anyone I know.”
Colin Pink was Britrow’s team leader for the event and found other artists mix engineers were equally at home with the console set-up. “Chris Rabbold, who mixes for Bruno Mars said to me ‘Britrow is the only company we trust enough not to feel the need to bring in our own desks’ which was nice to hear. We used the latest Digico SD12 for the presenter boards this year, Digico lent them to us and they were great. Both front of house and monitors used SD7, two in each position although Coldplay did bring in their own monitor console. And Sennheiser supported us once more. Everyone used the Sennheiser 2000 series IEMs except the 1975 who brought in their own Shure system. The PA was a distributed design based on L-Acoustic K1, with other elements from their range used for fills.”
“The system sounded great,” said Bradshaw. “When it’s rigged so high up – as it so often is for these television spectaculars - then coverage of the floor area is a concern. But we had lots of time to walk around and check. We were there two days, one for the George Michael performance and one for Little Mix which I also looked after, and it sounded really good everywhere.”
Event Production Managers for the event, Kate Wright and Lisa Shenton were similarly pleased, “Britrow are extremely good at providing the support for all the elements of this show - the performing artists’ individual needs, the live event (i.e. live audience experience) and the TV show.”
Bradshaw saw it in more direct terms. “Between Colin Pink, Josh Lloyd and the rest of the Britrow crew we had a really comfortable time. Those guys are on the ball, it was a really, really comfortable two days.”
Brit Row's Josh Lloyd looking after Front of House