The Official Blues Brothers Revue, a live touring performance that pays homage to Chicago’s history of blues, soul music, and gospel, involves dancing, comedic acts, and an eight-piece band.
The show features the characters of Jake and Elwood Blues created by John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd in 1978 that were featured on Saturday Night Live and in two subsequent feature films. It’s produced by Dan Aykroyd and Judith Belushi, with Paul Shaffer serving as musical director.
The tour and production manager is long-time Shure user Bill Girdwood, who made it an immediate priority to upgrade the show’s existing gear to more reliable, higher-quality Shure wireless systems.
“When I came in during pre-production and rehearsals, the performers were using non-Shure products that weren’t up to the quality I felt Judy [Belushi] and Dan [Aykroyd] would want the show to run on,” Girdwood says. “I needed to switch to gear that sounded good and could support non-stop movement on stage.
“When I saw the flexibility and stability of Shure’s UHF-R wireless and PSM 1000 in-ears, our production team quickly made the decision that this was the technology we needed to power performances.”
Running six channels of UHF-R with Beta58A capsules, Girdwood has high confidence in the systems, even in tour stop cities that have crowded RF conditions.
“On the in-ear side, Wayne Catania and Kieron Lafferty—who portray Jake and Elwood—did not have positive experiences with other manufacturers. There wasn’t consistent, quality sound,” he notes. “Now, using the PSM 1000, dialing in and finding clean, clear frequencies is a piece of cake, making it that much better for everybody—my audio guys and the talent.”
With a program that has performers gliding from one side of the stage to the other, Girdwood has also benefited from the control and flexibility of the Shure systems.
For example, the UR3 plug-on wireless microphone transmitter enables him to mic Kieron’s vintage harmonica wirelessly, which is a big plus because he can move freely around the stage.
In addition, the performance characteristics of the Beta 58s helps prevent feedback. “This is a busy, cinematic performance,” Girdwood states. “There’s foot stomping, hand clapping, and fast choreography that typically results in feedback and noise issues. I’ve had great success with Shure’s UHF-R/Beta58 combo. It’s dependable and sounds perfect, whether we’re on tour stop one or tour stop 15.”
The Official Blues Brothers Revue, which has been praised by critics, is noted by Girdwood as being a positive testament to the entire Blues Brothers brand. “This is a respectful show that pays tribute to blues and soul; the quality can’t be compromised. Bringing in gear that’s top-of-the-line was a requirement; between the quality and stability, the switch to Shure was the right choice.”
The Official Blues Brothers Revue will be touring North America throughout 2013.