Avril Lavigne is continuing her Bonez Tour across Europe and the US, and front of house engineer John Kerns has been making the most of the DiGiCo D5 Live to add to the mix Lavigne’s edgy, raw feel.
Kerns has only been with the band for a month and a half, taking over from previous engineer Jim Yakabuski, who retired from touring. "I had a week with Jim before I took over and did a few shows with him around. This is my first tour actually taking a D5 and using it on a daily basis, but it is extremely flexible and it sounds great," Kerns says.
Stepping into the show with the desk already set and configured didn’t necessarily make the learning curve any easier for Kerns. "I took over the gig with the desk laid out in a way that someone else would lay it out," he explains. As the tour has progressed and Kerns got a feel for the show, he can understand the reasoning behind Yakabuski’s configurations. "Obviously, it’s not laid out exactly how I would have it but it is pretty close, so I haven’t had to re-configure it for me. The show was working fine before I got here, so I didn’t see the need to change it," he continues. "Once you have it laid out and configured the way you want it, everything becomes incredibly flexible."
As well as mixing the show, Kerns also records every performance directly out of the desk and into a Pro Tools HD system. "We utilize the MADI outputs from the desk to track directly into a Pro Tools session, which the band members and management team like for archiving and other mix projects while on the road. To have the ability to do the live show, while having only one set of preamps, and track digitally with only one AD conversion is a huge positive for space and budget limitations," says system tech Brett Dicus.
Using the system in conjunction with the desk also gave Kerns the added advantage of being able to "virtually" mix the band without them on stage, giving him extra time with the D5 to tune the mix to his own ears.