Between being busy as all get out and not feeling like there has been
any news worth sharing with you in quite a while, I’ve decided it’s
time to make news rather than report it. The tour has been announced,
we do our first “rehearsal show” tomorrow for the public partially as a
benefit and partially as a way to get feedback on the formation of the
show. Here we go!

For anyone who works in this line of work, they already know that
this is the hardest part of a tour, the most tiring, the most
challenging, the part where how you use your head will effect how the
rest of the tour might go for you. You create systems and solutions for
your guys and gals and then get to test how roadworthy they are.
Sometimes you can overengineer the simplest problem; others you get too
close to. This is when your experience and your interaction with the
rest of the crew is most important.

For instance, how do you make the simple acoustic gathering of a
folk or bluegrass band appear unplugged and free from technological
hanky panky in an arena setting? To be honest, I don’t know. Part of
the illusion of it is wireless mics, ear monitors and pickups which are
about the last thing I can see adding to the band on a porch in the
Smokey Mountains. To take a large group of musicians and singers and
grant them the ability to wander and gather in natural groupings and
still be heard well is pushing our team to the limits of our experience.

In the past, I’ve worked with bands of this size but only one
person had wireless. I’ve worked with bands half this size who got to
learn where every Digital TV transmission antenna was in the major
markets of the USA. What we’re talking about here is a pretty healthy
payload of RF. No one knows this better than regular PIBC reader Monty
C., who’s having to having to say yes when we need to say no. There are
more wireless recievers on our side of the stage than I’ve ever seen on
one tour.

We always want to be “Can Do” for our clients; eventually the
spectrum is filled. Whether it’s 600 to 900 mHz RF sound and band gear,
the tour’s wireless internet connection, 55,000 cell phones in a two
square mile radius, broadcast TV and radio, digital broadband, airport,
police and Secret Service communications, Army mircrowave transmissions
or a taxi stand, the world of audio wireless can be stressful. This
last sentence might be bad grammar and seem a little overly dramatic,
but they all have been parts of problems, solutions and fights about
the airwaves on tour. I remember talking to one of the most senior
experts in music(audio) wireless once and his professional response to
me was “It’s all Voodoo; You’ll never know why it works flawlessly or
hopelessly, it just will or it won’t.” I certainly didn’t want to hear
that in the depths of my wireless ignorance.

Not to give away much of anything, but with around five dozen channels of wireless onstage, I’d look to Pollstar for any tour extentions and then buy stock in Duracell batteries.
If you happen to see any of these shows and see the band wandering
around the stage and you can still hear the instruments they are
playing, know that it’s nearly a miracle that you are.

Wireless Glockenspiel?

You bet.
Frequency Chart

US Frequency chart… wanna see how it’s split up? click on the pic to download the hi-res PDF file. Thanks to MK for the original pointer to this geeky chart…

So, for the next week or so, we’ll be sleeping very little,
scrambling to fit stuff into cases made for something else, labeling,
soldering, ordering, reordering, forgetting, remembering, forgetting
again and then we’ll close the door on the trucks, take note of what we
forgot and return to the hotel to pack black clothes to exactly 49.5
pounds in our suitcase.

Touring season is here kids; we’ll see you out there.