All Access: Kid Rock 'Best Night Ever' Tour

Sep 1, 2013 9:00 AM, Photos and Text By Steve Jennings

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photo of Kid Rock

Kid Rock, who made quite a splash at the start of his 2013 Best Night Ever Tour by working out a deal with ticketing agencies that guaranteed $20 tickets for regular fans, played at the Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Wheatland, Calif., in early August.

“I’m mixing FOH on an Avid Venue D-Show Profile console, and it has served me well these past five years,” says front-of-house engineer Steve Cross, center, with Vic Wagner (AudioTech/Sound Image) at left and John “Haircut” Tompkins (Systems Engineer/Sound Image) at right. “Some plug-ins I make good use of are the Crane Song Phoenix and one or two of the Waves plug-ins. I try to keep it minimal and only use processing where necessary. We have a lot of inputs, around 85, and the Profile makes it easy to manage them all efficiently. I am a big fan of mixing the music, not the technology, so the simpler the better for me. We have a totally digital chain on this tour. Once the inputs hit the stage racks, we are digital all the way into the amp racks. We did some A/B comparisons at rehearsals of driving AES versus analog outputs; [there was a] pretty significant difference.

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Kid Rock 2013 Tour Gallery

“With 12 people packed into a small performance area, I spend a lot of time trying to get separation on everything, keeping things clean,” Cross explains. “But the percussion is a different animal. Last year I started experimenting with opening up the gates on all the percussion. They were never gated very tightly to begin with, but once I opened them up and made some mic placement and EQ changes, it all came to life. Now when percussionist Larry Fratangelo makes any subtle sound effects, they pop right through. Many times he will just have a shaker or something in his hands and not be near any mic, really. I hear all of that now and without all the guitar and drum bleed. It's a really positive thing for the whole mix, a lot of fun to capture all that stuff."

photo of Kid Rock FOH crew

FOH engineer Steve Cross, center, with Vic Wagner (AudioTech/Sound Image) at left and John “Haircut” Tompkins (Systems Engineer/Sound Image) at right






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