LIGHTING & SOUND HANDLES 1998 B.B. KING BLUES FEST TOUR
Company Supplies JBL HLA System For 50-Show North American Tour
1998 B.B. King Blues Festival, produced for the seventh year in
a row by Front Row Productions, was handled this season by Proformance
Lighting & Sound of Emeryville, CA. Sponsored by The House
of Blues and Southern Comfort, the North American tour played to
both indoor and outdoor venues throughout the United States and
Canada. In addition to key performer B.B. King and his band, featured
artists included The Neville Brothers, Dr. John, Jimmie Vaughn,
Storyville, Koko Taylor, Delbert McClinton, Buddy Guy and others,
depending on location and scheduling.
successful entertainment project, with 50 dates staged during August
and September of 1998, grossed $6 million dollars, with shows held
in some smaller 3,000-5,000 seat venues, in a number of shed-type
amphitheaters like Michigan's Pine Knob, Massachusetts' Great Woods
and California's Shoreline Amphitheaters, and at selected outdoor
sites like the 15,000-person capacity Gorge venue in Washington
State and Wisconsin's Olin Park.
supplied all sound and lighting system equipment and crews for
the B.B. King tour, after having successfully handled the project
in 1997. "As an integrated services company, we can offer
certain packaging and logistical advantages that some other sound-only
rental companies can't match," noted Proformance founder Mickey
Morgan, who served as crew chief and sound engineer for the 1998
B.B. King tour. "We a great deal of effort into training our
crews, and into packaging our equipment. Proformance does a lot
of work in the corporate and industrial show environment, and we
believe our company philosophy of quality and customer service
makes us a good choice when event promoters need a sound and lighting
the 1998 B.B. King Blues Festival, Proformance supplied their new
HLA system from JBL Professional. A typical event was served with
a hanging left/right main array system comprising up to 32 HLA
model 4895 mid/high units, each loaded with 10" and 14" cone
loudspeakers based on JBL's Differential Driveď technology.
tour carried 16 HLA model 4897 double-18" bass enclosures.
These high-powered units are equipped with JBL's innovative Linear
Dynamics Apertureď vent design, helping to provide more acoustical
output than traditional port designs. The 4897's are also constructed
from advanced materials (including carbon-fiber panels) instead
of wood. The rigid construction of the 4897 cabinets help to convert
more of the bass-frequency energy into acoustical output, rather
than into cabinet-wall vibrations as occurs with more traditional
wooden speaker enclosures.
JBL MS-28 two-way enclosures were used as frontfill units for the
shows, with five of the small cabinets powered by a single Crown
amplifier and placed on the front edge of the stage, receiving
a full-range mix with separate compression and equalization.
philosophy at Proformance is to supply a high quality system that
any engineer can walk into and go right to work on, and feel comfortable
with," noted founder Mickey Morgan. "We pay close attention
to what is requested on contract riders for the touring groups.
We offer popular, commonly-available mixing consoles like the Soundcraft
Series 5 and the Yamaha PM4000. Our signal processing is in alignment
with what the professionals require
units from tc electronics,
Eventide, Lexicon, Aphex, Drawmer, and Klark-Teknik. We use the
BSS FDS-380 OmniDrive for controlling the JBL HLA speaker system.
And, the JBL Smaart Pro measurement and analysis software package
is used on a daily basis to fine-tune the rig for each venue's
different acoustical characteristics."
power the HLA speaker system, Proformance relies on power amplifiers
from Crest Audio. Each amplifier rack contains Crest Model 9001
amps to power the HLA 4897 bass units and the low and midrange
frequency sections of the HLA 4895 3-way units. Crest Model 7001's
are used to power the high-frequency compression drivers. "With
the HLA 4895's 16-ohm transducers, we can typically place four
transducers on a channel without resorting to 2-ohm loading," notes
Wesley Sharpe, Technical Director for Proformance.
B.B. King tour, booked into a wide variety of venues, provided
the Proformance crew with opportunities to set up the loudspeaker
system in different configurations. "Some days we stack, most
days we fly," noted Doug Fowler, system engineer for the tour. "We'll
take a look at the audience area and determine what we need for
optimum coverage of the space. The size of sound wings will vary
at the stacking venues; most of the amphitheaters have things pretty
well worked out to accommodate standard chain-motor hoists and
a typical show, Proformance technicians worked with local crew
members to rig the HLA speaker arrays, linking them to the amplifier
racks with multi-pair cable bundles. The arrays are then hoisted
into the air by HLA truss modules (developed and distributed by
ATM Flyware) "The JBL speaker 4895 and 4897 modules are relatively
lightweight, It only takes two one-ton chain moto hoists to suspend
16 of the units in a hanging array," noted Fowler.
MONITORS & SOUND CHECK
stage monitor system, supervised by Proformance engineers Marcel
Cacdac and Jeff McDonald, was powered with Crown MacroTech 2400
and 600 amplifiers. BSS' FDS-355 loudspeaker system controllers
are used by Proformance to supply bi-amplified monitor mixes. A
single HLA 4895 and 4897 were used on stage left and stage right
as sidefill monitor stacks.
up to 5 or 6 acts on the show each night, sound checks with live
bands were rare. Pre-show preparation fell to the production crew,
who did complete line checks and daily adjustments for each instrument.
Some artists traveled with their own front-of-house and/or stage
monitor soundmixers; others relied on the Proformance team for
duties for Storyville, opening act for most shows of the tour,
were handled by Jared Tuten of Austin, Texas; The Neville Brothers
were mixed by Jeffrey Gex of New Orleans. B.B. King was mixed by
independent engineer Doug Fowler. A variety of other individuals
were involved since acts on the shows varied during the course
of the tour. Some soundmixers were able to "settle in" and
work to hone their efforts on the tour, night after night.
great to have the same console and sound system every day on this
tour," noted Chuck Hull, production manager and front-of-house
mixer for Dr. John. "We often do fly-in dates, and have to
live with the "P.A. du jour"
I always appreciate
it when I can spend some time working with a system in different
venues. This HLA system is clear, clean, powerful and lets me get
great detail on the mix, even in acoustically-tough rooms."
production crew called a bus "home" for more than two
months, as the tour's fast-paced schedule had 5 and 6 shows booked
in a row during each week. Production Manager Terry "T.J." Jackson
has served the B.B. King Blues Fest for several seasons, and has
had to cope with tight schedules, long drives and a variety unexpected
a tightly-scheduled tour like this one, where our off-days are
often spent criss-crossing the country doing thousand mile drives,
it is very important that the production package be efficient,
flexible and reliable," noted Jackson. "Proformance has
put a lot of thought into their touring rig. The JBL HLA system
has performed admirably, and the overall quality of sound for the
shows has been excellent. It always depends on who's turning the
knobs, of course, no matter what gear is in use. We've gotten a
lot of compliments this time around, and the Proformance team has
done a great job."
In September, 1998, Proformance Lighting & Sound was acquired
by Current Events, a production services firm with offices in Washington,
D.C., Philadelphia and Atlanta. Current Events/Proformance can
be reached by contacting :
5806 Paladeau St.
Emeryville, CA 94608
Phone (510) 658-5411
Fax (510) 658-0278