With former members Bill Wyman and Mick Taylor making cameo appearances, along with guest spots from guitar legend Jeff Beck and songstress Mary J. Blige, The Rolling Stones celebrated their 50th anniversary with style and panache with two sold out shows at London’s 20,000-capacity O2 Arena in late November.
Clair Global was chosen by the Stones’ production management supremo Dale ‘Opie’ Skjerseth to supply the audio systems and crew for the shows as well as private band sessions in France and production rehearsals at Wembley Arena in the week leading up to the opening 50 & Counting show.
FOH engineer Dave Natale, whose close association with Clair stretches back to his twenties entered the Rolling Stones’ camp in 2005 on their A Bigger Bang world tour. He mixed the latest shows on a pair of Yamaha PM4000 analogue consoles, relying on outboard devices such as the Aphex 612 expander gate, Yamaha SPX 990 digital multi FX, Manley EL-OP tube limiter, dbx 903 comp/limiter, Smart C-2 dual mono compressor and Apogee Rosetta 200 AD/DA convertor.
Natale mixed to a PA consisting of main and side hangs of Clair’s flagship i-5 line array with flown i-5b bass modules and P-2 two-way active front fill cabinets. There were further i-5s in a rear hang. The system was set up by Brett Stec using Clair’s proprietary AlignArray software; it was powered by Crown amplification and processed with Clair iO loudspeaker processors.
Another Clair long-timer, Ed Dracoules mixed monitors and divided his channels across a primary Midas Heritage 3000 console and an Avid (formerly Digidesign) D-Show Profile, a secondary board added to handle inputs specific to the show’s introduction and encore. Stage monitoring was provided by Clair 12AM wedges, R-4 Series III full-range cabinets, i-5b bass modules and Shure PSM1000 IEM systems.
Outboard in monitor world included dbx 160a mono compression, Aphex 622 expander gates, t.c. electronic TC1128 28-band graphic EQ and Yamaha SPX 990 effects. Shure UR series wireless systems were used throughout.
Chiefed by Lars Schlapfer, the Clair crew included system engineer Brett Stec, PA technicians Adam Collins, Matt Woolley and Tino Kreischatus, monitor system techs Myles Hale and Don Baker, and stage techs Simon Bauer and Thomas Huntington.
The Rolling Stones followed their 50 & Counting shows at the O2 with US dates at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center (December 8) and the Prudential Center in Newark (December 13/15).