"Roadie to a Roadie" - Dale Newman's webmaster gives TWR an account of his exploits leading up to a Dale Newman gig.
I am in the very fortunate position of being in regular contact with Dale Newman
(he of The Farm) in the role of webmaster to his newly re-opened website, www.dalenewman.net.
As such, every now and again he will e-mail me with news of an upcoming gig.
Here is a short tale about one particular gig......
It's June 2004.
Dale e-mails me and announces that he is doing a gig on the 11th. I advertise this on the main Genesis forum. On signing off to an e-mail to Dale I casually ask if he needs a hand with the gig.
I get a reply back asking me if I'd like to do the sound for the evening, in order to take some of the pressure off of him.
Naturally, I agree.
Being of a professional nature, Dale leaves nothing to chance and so asks me to take a look at the PA a few days before the gig, so as to get prepared.
This means another trip to The Farm, so naturally I agree.
The Tuesday before the gig I drive down to The Farm and Dale takes me into the storage barn where he has The Scrapyard studio and now the PA setup for the gig.
The first thing I notice is that things are a lot tidier than on previous visits. Dale puts this down to the Mechanics roadies coming in a taking everything worth taking!
He goes through the setup with me. It's a Yamaha ProMix01 digital mixer and two Crown PSA2 amps running into 3 wedge speakers.
Funny thing about the PA equipment. The amps and speakers were used by Genesis in the early '80s (the amps were in a Genesis flight case). The mixer was used by Mike Rutherford on the Calling All Stations tour in 1998. I could tell this because the song setups for Small Talk, Congo, Dividing Line (and Domino, Home By The Sea, etc) were still in the memory.
Despite this history, they were still 'just a PA' to Dale.
I took a crash course on how to use the mixer (it's not as simple as conventional mixers, no knobs for EQ. It's all menu driven) and proceeded to get Dale's sound.
After one song I corrected a gain setting on his vocal mic and suggested that the speakers would be best off on stands, as they would project the sound to the heads of the audience and not their feet. This sets Dale off on a quest. We go outside to the back of the shed and Dale goes crawling around in a small room containing stands, empty racks and cases, etc.
He soon comes out with two speaker stands (which also went on tour with Genesis).
We put the speakers on the stands and the sound quality improves.
We then bring in a third monitor to put on the floor at Dale's feet. I've now gone from doing FOH sound (Front Of House) to doing monitors as well!
That done, he thanks me and we arrange times to meet for the gig on Friday.
Whilst standing outside talking, Nick Davis leaves the main studio and drives home, giving us a casual wave on his way out of the gate.
I casually ask Dale if he needs a hand lifting the (extremely heavy) speakers and amps, etc.
He says yes and we agree to meet up at The Farm on Friday.
Friday comes and I go to The Farm (again!!!).
Dale greets me and we go into the main building where Dale offers me some sandwiches.
We have a quick chat about various things and then head over to the barn to get the gear, going past a pile of 24 track master tapes (I'm not at liberty to say which, but these were the original production tapes for at least two seperate albums; listed by their working names).
Dale opens the side door to the barn and we proceed to dismantle the PA ready for the road.
All the cables were wrapped up and put into cases, along with spares (be prepared!) and he made sure he had spare strings, etc.
It was at this point that Dale showed me the right way to wrap up a long cable. It's the same way cowboys wrap their lasoos. I didn't know that!
We then load up the Hit & Run van with the equipment set off in convoy.
On arrival at the venue, we take a look around.
It's a nice size stage, so the stands aren't needed; the speakers can be put upright on the stage.
We set up the mixer and amps behind the curtain and go through the sound check.
That done, Dale gets ready for the gig.
8pm comes and Dale goes on stage and does his bit.
The crowd enjoy it and so does Dale. Success.
Cuento are the next act. They are an acoustic guitar duo playing their own instrumental compositions. They were very good. To any fans of Steve Hackett's acoustic material out there, I can recommend going to see these two. They were thoroughly entertaining. OK, so I was sitting a few feet from them on the stage.....!
Last up was Ijay, a singer songwriter. He played some of his own stuff and a few covers.
In the end, Dale and Cuento were called back onto the stage for an impromtu rendition of 'No Woman, No Cry'.
With the evening over, all the artists took the time to thank me for doing the sound.
Dale and I pack up the PA, load up the van and we all head home.
A soundperson's eye view of the gig.
Photo courtesy of www.dalenewman.net