Lil Wayne Tour Profile

Jul 1, 2011 9:00 AM, By Sarah Benzuly

BLENDING ALBUM AND STAGE INTO A TIGHT PERFORMANCE

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Nicki Minaj is one of many guest performers joining the stage with Lil Wayne.

Nicki Minaj is one of many guest performers joining the stage with Lil Wayne.

Front-of-house engineer Demetrius Moore

Front-of-house engineer Demetrius Moore

Rap shows seem to carry a preconception that they are loud, non-musical. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth for Lil Wayne. Blending his hip-hop vocal stylings with a rock-solid band, Lil Wayne’s performance is as tight and dynamic as his smash 2009 multi-Platinum Tha Carter IV. In fact, both front-of-house engineer Demetrius Moore and monitor engineer Sean Sturge stick to the album’s sound to guide them in creating their mixes.

During rehearsals, both engineers created the snapshots on their digital desks to not only mimic the album, but to also accommodate guests onstage—including Mac.Mane, Nicki Minaj, Drake and Busta Rhymes. “I’m definitely trying to re-create the album,” says Sturge, who is no stranger to hip-hop shows as he’s previously worked on the Up in Smoke tour, as well as outings for Eminem (the past 10 years), 50 Cent, Jay-Z and the Beastie Boys. “It’s what I’ve found and experienced in the past. Working with the Beastie Boys, a lot of their songs have different effects on their vocals and that is something I’m dealing with for Wayne. We had to make sure that the Auto-Tune [vocal] was how it should be for each song—to make sure that the mix of his Auto-Tune vocal and his [live] vocal are correct. And that’s not the easiest thing to do, let me tell you. It’s all about EQ’ing. In Auto-Tune, it’s basically feeding back on itself, so when you put speakers and microphones with that, it amplifies itself [as opposed to] a regular vocal. That’s the other thing that you wouldn’t think to do with monitors, but just the way they time-align the P.A., I would time-align the sidefills with the downstage wedges and put a delay on the sidefill. So when you stand centerstage, the subs—the fills—and the wedges get to that center position at the same time. So if you walk to the left or walk to the right, there’s continuity.”

The system—and the rest of the gear—is provided by Eighth Day Sound. Front-of-house engineer Moore feeds Dolby Lake all digital from his DiGiCo SD7 board (with the new DiGiCO SD racks all in a fiber loop), which also runs all digital to all the amps. The main hang is 18 d&b J8s a side with six J-Subs flown offstage of that and 12 B2s on the ground. Side hang comprises 12 J8s. The 270 hang is 12 Q1s.






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