Leading UK live show and event production and design practice LarMac LIVE production managed and co-ordinated all technical elements for Donny & Marie’s recent UK arena tour, presenting their record-breaking, hugely successful show from The Flamingo in Las Vegas to delighted UK fans.
LarMac LIVE’s Ian Greenway took up the Production Management role on the road, assisted by Siobhan Shaw.
Ian Greenway comments, “This was a very interesting project for us. In essence our brief was to take an established theatrical production show, and repackage it to deal with the rigours of rock ‘n’ roll touring schedule while still retaining the sumptuous Vegas feel.
LarMac LIVE collaborated closely with Donny & Marie’s creative and technical teams and their US Production Co-ordinator Chris Acton to ensure that the detailed and precise brief was covered, and also with UK promoter, Kilimanjaro Live.
They designed a touring stage set incorporating key elements from the Vegas show in conjunction with the client and sourced sound, lighting and video, rigging, backline, trucking, buses and catering.
This ensured that the production process was streamlined, seamless and offered maximum continuity to LarMac’s US colleagues.
Mark Cameron was appointed as Stage Manager and James Heath as the Production Rigger, and all the backline hires from Music Bank were managed by Adam “Flea” Newman for LarMac LIVE.
James Heath took care of all the technical departments’ rigging requirements, installing around 50 points daily, depending on the venue. During rehearsals – two days at London’s O2 Arena – the rig was monitored using a Kinesys LibraCELL system controlled via Rigorous Technologies’ new wireless App which runs on iPhone and iPad.
LarMac LIVE’s Head Carpenter Stephen Thomas oversaw the set build. The touring set featured several special modifications including the addition of double frosted Perspex panels below the catwalk, which were back-lit to add extra depth and dynamics.
The catwalk measured 56 ft wide by 8ft deep and was mounted on Steeldeck leg-sharers in a format designed to be invisible when the lights shone through the panels. The band risers were also front-clads in Perspex to match the look and allow back light to shine through.
Two sets of 8ft high stairs were built to access the catwalk from the lower deck. These were on casters so they could be moved manually into different positions throughout the two act performance.
The set also included a scenic baby grand piano, which was made by Blackfriars Scenery, another regular LarMac LIVE supplier.
Stephen worked alongside Bert Trott on the road and they were assisted daily by six local crew.
Donny & Marie’s FOH sound engineer Rico Corrubia is a veteran of many acclaimed Broadway shows, and a highlight of his early career was mixing Frank Sinatra – so ‘only the best’ topped the agenda to enable his warm, rich, highly defined mix.
London based Capital Sound’s crew was Chiefed by Mark “Magic” Ellis-Cope and they supplied a Meyer Sound MILO system for the main PA, with left-and-right hangs of 16 x MILO 90s with two MILO 120 downs, plus side hangs of 12 x Meyer Sound MICA elements, complete with a centre cluster of MICAs.
A second set of side hangs comprising six Meyer M’elodie speakers each was installed in the venues which were sold 270 degrees, which also complimented the side IMAG screens.
Across the front of the stage were 12 x Meyer 700-HP subs arranged in six stacks of two, with a series of the low profile Meyer M’elodies for infills.
The FOH console was a Midas Vi6 specified by Rico, who also used a couple of selected outboards for ‘posh’ effects including Avalon 373 mic preamps and a TC M6000 reverb for the vocals.
For EQ, time alignment and zoning control they used a Meyer Sound Galileo system.
Onstage, the five band members utilised a combination of Sennheiser 200 series wireless IEMs together with Shure P6 hard-wired ears. L-Acoustics ARCs side fills delivered clear monitoring for the eight dancers.
Donny and Marie also used Sennheiser IEMs, plus Sennheiser SKM 5200 vocal mics together with Neumann K105 capsules.
Monitor engineers Joe Webster (for Donny & Marie) and Chris Acton (for the band) mixed on two cascaded Yamaha PM 5D consoles.
Liverpool based Adlib Lighting have worked for LarMac LIVE on several other events and shows in recent years, and they supplied all the kit for Lighting Designer Joseph Eddy, plus all the rigging, trussing and motors required for the tour and a crew of three Chiefed by Andy Rowe.
Lighting was based on three trusses, two U-shaped (rear and mid) and a straight front truss, mimicking Donny & Marie’s rig at The Flamingo in Las Vegas.
The moving lights comprised around 90 Martin Professional units, a combination of MAC 2K XBs and Adlib’s new MAC Viper profiles and MAC Auras.
Philips CK ColorBlazes were positioned behind the frosted Perspex set panels, and the movable steps were back lit with Chauvet Colorado LED strips and edged with rope light.
Joseph Eddy operated using a grandMA2 light console.
Adlib also supplied LED lights, practicals and power drops for three quick-change areas backstage, and designed and provided the data distribution system to run Donny & Marie’s own Co2 jet system, brought with them from the US.
Donny & Marie’s production supplied their own bespoke media server which ran the show’s playback content, while LarMac LIVE asked Chris Saunders’ Oglehog to co-ordinate the UK end of the supply. The hardware came out of PRG Nocturne, and was overseen on the road by Video Crew Chief Wolfgang “Wolfie” Schram working closely with Donny & Marie’s Video Director and ‘tech-nerd’ Glen Adams.
A large V-9 LED screen upstage was flanked by two smaller ones, all three above the rear set catwalk, and two 16 x 9 side IMAG screens were fed by Barco R12 projectors.
Glen Adams cut the cameras using a Pinnacle 9000 3ME vision mixer with inputs from four Ikegami HL 65W broadcast cameras and two Sony lipstick cams onstage on the drums and percussion. The whole system was designed to run on 110 Volts / NTSC / 60 Hz to easily accommodate all the US elements.
Their custom media server is made up from four MiniMac servers running Cubase, linked via MIDI and triggered by the drummer using a MIDI keyboard once the show was rolling.
Video was central to the whole stage presentation, with Donny himself being heavily involved in the actual creation and programming of content as well as the design of playback systems.
Some footage was taken directly from the Las Vegas show and other clips were specially created for the tour by Glen and his team once they were in the UK.
Trucking was supplied by Stardes, buses from Phoenix and mouth-watering catering was created by Upbeat … all picked for their quality service from LarMac LIVE’s pool of regular suppliers.