It’s big news when Barbra Streisand announces one of her rare tours, and tickets sold out quickly for her Back To Brooklyn dates in late 2012, including two shows at the new 19,000-seat Barclays Center, marking her first-ever public performances in her native borough of Brooklyn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lighting designer Peter Morse and sound designer/FOH engineer Chris Carlton were along for the ride, adding layers of light and sound to make this eternal superstar look and sound her absolute best, especially in a challenging square stage configuration, with audience seated from 270° on most of the tour, and 360° end-arena in-the-round at Barclays Center.

Sounds Of Streisand
Carlton, who runs Carlton Audio Services in Davie FL, joined the Streisand sound team as an orchestra mixer in 1999, when Bruce Jackson served as audio designer/FOH engineer. Sadly, Jackson was killed in a plane crash in early 2011, so Carlton took the reins for the 2012 tour, featuring Streisand performing with a 58-piece orchestra, a rhythm section of studio greats from Los Angeles, and an 60- to 80-piece guest choir with its own dynamic in each city, such as a full-on gospel sound in Chicago. The show included Streisand’s son, singer/actor/writer Jason Emanuel Gould, and a tribute to her longtime friend and composer, the late Marvin Hamlisch.

The orchestra was split on either side of a central upstage/downstage ramp on the stage. “This meant a lot of in-ear monitors and two monitor mixers, one for Barbra and the guest performers, upstage right,” notes Carlton, pointing out that Bill Ross, the conductor, was downstage, pretty close to where Streisand performed. “Barbra is a great artist, and she knows exactly what she’s listening to,” Carlton explains. “The sound was mostly very organic, a very natural sound with just a touch of reverb, as there was a natural fullness with that size orchestra. We wanted to make a 20,000-seat arena sound as intimate as a jazz club. Barbra really grabs the audience. It’s amazing how quiet they become to listen to her every nuance.”

With a team of 12 engineers on deck, the system comprised six consoles in five mix locations: FOH (Carlton on a DiGiCo SD7, with Kevin Gilpatric on an SD7-EX007 expander), artist monitors (Ian Newton on an SD7), band monitors (Blake Suib on an SD10), orchestra mix stems (Steve Colby on an SD10), and the M3 Music Mix Mobile truck (David Reitsaz on a Avid Icon).

All of the FOH, monitor, and broadcast recording engineers shared the 170+ inputs, generated from one central SD system rack—comprised of four DiGiCo SD Racks—and linked solely by a DiGiCo/Optocore 2GHz fiber-optic network running at 96kHz. The system was clocked by an external Brainstorm Electronics DCD-8 Master Clock Distripalyzer, which, on two occasions, received blackburst and word clock from the video truck. In addition, the SD Rack’s third MADI port handled live down-conversion from the 96kHz to 48kHz, which fed to both the mobile truck as well as to a backup redundant recording system located in the orchestra mix room.

The sound package came from Clair Brothers Audio, including the company’s i-5 line array for all of the shows, plus the smaller i-3 line array at sides and back for the 360° configuration at Barclays Center. In addition, Clair IDL delay cabinets were used to cover the extreme back of the arena. The standard PA configuration was 16 i-5s in the front PA, left and right, plus 12-high stacks that were the side-facing element of that front PA. The i-3 line arrays, which were 10 cabinets high, covered the rear corners of the arena. Positioned underneath the stage were four i5b subwoofers spaced individually across the front of the stage to add a little bit of low end for the first few rows. Additionally, 10 Clair FF-3 front fill cabinets were spaced across the front of the venue, using a delay of six clusters of a two-way i-DLcab. Lab.gruppen amps were driven by AES digital outputs from the DiGiCo SD stage racks.

“We have worked with Clair Brothers since 1994, and they have a very good handle on what this is and how big it is,” says Carlton. “The goal is to cover every seat in the house. We spend a lot of time correcting whatever we can with speaker placement and spend a lot of time tuning it. Barbra’s a very caring artist. She comes to every sound check and rehearses at every venue.”

For microphones, Carlton chose the Audio-Technica AE5400 Artist Elite Series for an “off-axis rejection of unwanted sound,” he says. “With Barbra so close to the orchestra, I wanted to get just her voice in the microphone, not the sound of the orchestra as well.”

What made these concerts sound so great? “Start off with a singer with a phenomenal voice, and couple that with an orchestra that follows her dynamics flawlessly,” concludes Carlton. “Match that with the best technology from DiGiCo and Clair Brothers and the best audio team I could ever hope for.”

Color Me Barbra
“I designed Barbra Streisand’s tour when she came back after a long break, about 1990,” says Morse. “I’ve been working with her since, on all of her tours. This tour was short, conceived as Back To Brooklyn, originally meant to open Barclays Center and bring her back to her home town.”

The tour rehearsed at Temple University in Philadelphia and then went on to the new Barclays Center. “We were not the official opening. Jay-Z beat us to it,” notes Morse, who augmented the lighting for a DVD shoot at Barclays Center last October, before the tour moved on to Canada, Chicago, Seattle, and Las Vegas, wrapping at the Hollywood Bowl in early November.

Morse was at every show. “I supervised the overall design,” he says. “The ultimate challenges were lighting Barbra for I-Mag close ups and the video for the Brooklyn shoot, for which Rob Koenig came off Metallica to take care of the audience package; he and I speak shorthand. Also for the video shoot, Tom Beck was in the truck to keep an eye on the spots and overall lighting levels for broadcast, while I was running the show.”

Morse also worked with the tour’s programmer and lighting director, David Arch. “He has done Barbra with me before, as well as Prince.” Eric Marchwinski joined the tour once Arch had to leave, taking over as lighting director on the MA Lighting grandMA, with a second one as backup.

Morse called the followspots for Streisand. “She changed her song order from show-to-show and usually not until sound check on the day of show. So, due to time constraints, I sometimes had to utilize appropriate cues from other songs. This tour changed as we went along,” notes Morse, adding that Streisand was “very much in the moment and still building the show as the tour continued.” In the few days between cities, we had to rehearse a new orchestra and a new choir, so for each city, there was a new set list. She juggled the order and added some new songs.” Of the 58 musicians, a core group of 20 traveled with the tour.

Based on Jeremy Railton’s scenic concept for Streisand about eight years ago, the set was redesigned for this tour by David George and built by Tait. “I was hoping to save part of the original lighting design and show files to get a jump on things, but the eight year-old fixtures and Martin Maxxyz console weren’t exactly what we wanted to use now,” explains Morse, who used Philips Vari-Lite VL3500 washes and VL3000 spots, with the addition of 10 Syncrolite SX-B52 5Ks. Followspots included 10 Lycian M2 2.5kW units, with five ETC Source Fours as conventionals, and Chauvet LED COLORdash Accent VWs. Epic Production Technologies provided the lighting gear.

“I like layering to give a feeling of depth,” says Morse. “I start with backlight to make the performer pop from the backdrop, but in this case, scenery or a backdrop was a layer I didn’t have, so only the lighting sources served for layering, lighting up the ramps and the orchestra, using the beams themselves to create the layers.” Another layer from overhead and floor sources helped Morse create interest in the air. “Barbra is just as powerful in a lone spotlight, but with a two-hour show and a 58-piece orchestra, I wanted to add additional visual dimension to the performance.”

Morse refers to Streisand as “of a monochromatic mindset, yet colors help create different moods for her. The first time I designed her lighting, she wanted to see white light, no color.” Morse took the fixtures to no-color. However, the automated fixtures had a base 5,600K daylight color temp, almost blue, which Barbra noticed. Morse added CTO to filter out the blue tinge, more toward a tungsten look, but then Barbra said it looked yellow.

“I thought, ‘Oh my God. I can’t even give her white. What am I going to do here?’” he recalls. “I told her I could give her any color she wanted, but it had to be dialed in. She helped me pick colors for different numbers for her, a little less monochromatic but of the same spectrum, not red and blue, but blue with lavender and teal, so that helped create layers as well. To me, red needs a little magenta in it, a slash of yellow, as opposed to everything just red. And there are different concepts as to what a color means. You can dial the same setting for red in two fixtures from different manufacturers and get different colors. There are so many shades of red in the automated fixtures, not like gels in the old days.”

For this tour, Morse used medium to pastel shades, not too many saturated colors. “The lighting creates the background, and it’s easier to blend the pastels for more subtlety,” he says. The rigging configuration is three concentric boxes, with one over the outside ramp just at the edge, so wherever Streisand walks, she is backlit. “The middle box outlines the large orchestra pit area and provides a starker or more usable backlight, more complimentary on Barbra on the ramps she walks on, less contaminating and also used for the orchestra,” notes Morse. “The lighting is the scenery, so I layered color and put graphics in the air, such as the broad strokes of Syncrolites against the relatively narrow beams of the Vari-Lites.”

Of the 10 Lycian followspots, six were hung on truss 60' from the front of the stage. “We wanted Barbra’s old nightclub feel, a very intimate lighting style with a steep angle, supplemented with incandescent footlights and a filler glow from some of the house spots that helped to compensate for the steep keylight angle,” says Morse. “This works especially well when she is on a stool singing a song, and she holds that last note for a long time, allowing for an iris up to the face, as in the intimate nightclub environment. Nightclub or arena, she’s still got it.” Additional followspots were added for the video shoot at Barclays Center, where the audience was on all four sides of the stage.

“No two songs look alike, which is a challenge if we get a new song for the evening,” notes Morse. “The set list has alternates, and I light the alternates with similar looks to the original but cue them differently. Sometimes the alternate comes in right after the original, but the audience is really there to see Barbra and not the lighting. I am there to light the elements and complement the vision, as grandly as possible, without distracting from Barbra. She is, after all, the focus.”

 

Barbra Streisand: Back To Brooklyn 

Selected Gear Lists

Lighting and Truss:

8 Tyler Truss Heavy Duty Corner Block

7 Tyler Truss 10' GT Truss          

43 Tyler Truss 8' GT Truss

2 Tyler Truss 5' GT Truss             

9 Tomcat 30" 10ft Swing Wing 

10 Tomcat 30" 8ft Swing Wing

5 Tomcat 20.5" 10ft Truss          

3 Tomcat 20.5" 8ft Truss            

1 Tomcat 20.5" 5ft Truss            

1 Tomcat 20.5" 4ft Truss

 

108 Philips Vari-Lite VL 3500 Wash

106 Vari-Lite VL 3000 Spot

10 Syncrolite B52 5K

3 Par 64 NSP   

10 Lycian M2 2.5kW

5 ETC Source Four

38 Chauvet COLORdash AccentVW


Sound Gear

Provided by Clair Brothers
CONSOLES  FOH
1 DiGiCo SD7 Control Surface w/dual PSU
1 DiGiCo, EX007, control surface
2 DiGiCo, SD Rack

 

CLAIR PA SYSTEM

Main and sides:

16 Clair i-5 2.5 Degree line array element
16 Clair i-5 5 Degree line array element
24 Clair i-5 10 Degree line array element

Corner and Rear:
40 Clair i-3 Compact line array element

Delay:
18 Clair i-dl line array element, stage left module
18 Clair i-dl line array element, stage right module

FRONT FILL
12 Clair iMicro line array element

SUBWOOFERS
4 Clair BT-218HP sub bass enclosure
 
REFERENCE MONITORS
2 Genelec 1031 powered reference monitors

DRIVE SYSTEM
1 Smaart Live w/Tablet computer & USB Pre/RTA microphone
 
WORKBOX 1 Clair System Workbox

MONIOTOR SYSTEM (Artist)
CONSOLES
1  DiGiCo SD7 Control Surface w/dual PSU
2  DiGiCo SD Rack

MONITOR WEDGES
6 Clair 12am-sd left speaker enclosure

6 Clair 12am-sd right speaker enclosure

4 Clair, monitor speaker, lp-315 left
4 Clair, monitor speaker, lp-315 right
7 Clair, LP-3315 left monitor
7  Clair, LP-3315 right
 

WIRELESS RF SYSTEMS
8  Shure R Series Handheld System, per channel with (1) transmitter
1 RF antenna splitter/antenna package
1 Smaart Live w/Tablet computer & USB Pre/RTA microphone

MONITOR SYSTEM (Band/Orchestra)
CONSOLE
1 DiGiCo SD10, control surface
1 DiGiCo, SD Rack

MONITOR WEDGES
6 Yamaha MSP-5 Powered Reference Speaker IEM SYSTEMS
60 Shure IEM Earphones
1 Aviom Pro16 Series, A-16D Pro A-Net Distributor 8 Aviom, pro 16 series, a-16 ii, personal mixer

ORCHESTRA CONSOLE
1  DiGiCo SD10, control surface
2  DiGiCo SD Rack

REFERENCE MONITORS
2 Genelec 1031 powered reference monitors


Video Gear

Provied by Screenworks

Flight Pack:
HD flight pack with monitors HD production switcher
5 Sony HD-100 cameras
3 70x1 camera lenses
4 BRC 700 remote HD POV cameras

1 BRC 300 remote POV camera
2 AJA Ki-­‐Pro record decks
1 Time Generator
1 Two Channel Doremi (2) DVD recorders

 Stage Monitors
One 9’ high x 12’ wide Toshiba 10mm for teleprompter with 3’ deep shroud around it Chain motors and rigging
1 32x32 router
1 Folsom Image Pro

LED Screen:
1 9’ high x 12’ wide Toshiba 10mm for teleprompter with 3’ deep shroud around it Chain motors and rigging
1 32x32 router
1 Folsom Image Pro

Projection:
4 Barco HDX W18 projectors – two per side converged Black T-­‐truss with 12’ x 21’ RP fast folds with 16’x9’ fronts Chain motors and rigging

 

Switcher/Terminal

1 Sony MVS8000 HD (#4)

1 Sierra 40x48 HD Router

1 Sierra XY Router panel

1 Evertz 5600MSC Sync Generator (Test Gen, Master Clock)

32 Ross HD-SDI Distribution Amps.

4 Ross Serial Frame Syncs

4 Ross Up/Down/Cross converters

1 RTS Key Panel MKP-4

2 Genelec 8020 Powered speakers

2 17” HD monitors (Bridge)

4 Dual 7” HD monitors (Bridge)

2 Quad 4.5” HD monitors (Bridge)

 

Conversion/Scaling

2 Folsom IPHD

 

Engineering

5 Sony HSCU300 Camera Control Unit

5 Sony RCP1500 Remote Control Panel

1 Wohler 17” HD LCD monitor

1 Tektronix WFM5201 Waveform monitor

1 RTS Zeus III 4-wire intercom matrix

1 RTS PS20 intercom power supply

1 RTS Key Panel MKP-4 or KP98

1 Sierra Router Panel 32x1

 

Cameras

5 Sony HXC100 HD Cameras (Triax Based)

3 Canon 21x7.6 Lens

3 Canon 55x – 70x lenses

3 Heavy Duty Tripods/Heads (Vinten Vector 70-700)

2 Light Duty Tripods/Heads (O’connor 1030B)

5 PTZ (BRCH700) w/ control, cabling, mounting (potential sub)

 

Recording/Playback

2 Doremi HD (sub)

2 DVD recorders w/discs

4 Kipro w/500gb drives

 

Audio

1 Yamaha 01v96 Audio Mixer

3 Benchmark or Ward-Beck 1x6 Audio DAs

1 Ward-Beck Loudness Meter

 

 

Screen/PJ

4 Barco HDX-W18 HD Projectors

8 Panasonic PT-DZ21 HD projectors

12 Lenses (distances?)

2 12’x21.5’ RP/FP PJ screens

2 L6-30 Power distros

1 12mm LED product with 3’ shroud for teleprompter

- Power cable (1x L6-30, 2x BNC, 1x Cat5)

Additional/Ancillary

2 24” Dells for wide shot

2 14” LCD for SM and LD (sub)

2 7” LCD for FOH and Carps (sub)

4 IR cameras w/ stands (2 prime, 2 spare)

6 HDsdi-HDMI/DVI Monitor Conversion AJA, Black Magic

Power

Use of L21-30 power plugs and distros

2 Motion Labs “RAC PAC” distros (in-rack distribution)

1 Indu “Cube” with L21-30 service (for Studio Power)

1 Indu “Floor Box” power distribution