BeatleShow! at the Saxe Theater in the Planet Hollywood Resort Casino in Las Vegas strives to present an authentic experience, and has been termed by some critics as the closest you can get to a real Beatles concert.
Font of house engineer/producer Mick McCoy provides the mix on a Yamaha PM5D digital mixing console, noting, “I’ve been using the 5D since it came out. I was on the team that built Disney’s Hyperion Theater at Disneyland as the A1, and we were on the initial beta-test team for the PM1D. What an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of the whole Yamaha digital platform.”
As far as the Yamaha digital line, McCoy sights the two biggest features are recallability and reliability.
“I’ve opened up for The Who at Carnegie Hall with an O1V96 that I brought on a plane in a suitcase,” he says. “For 15 years, I have been all over the world producing BeatleShow! with Yamaha consoles, and they just don’t fail.
“It’s also nice to walk into a ballroom in Dubai and see your old friend the 5D sitting there when you’ve got a show to do in a few hours. Over the last ten years, the PM5D has probably been the most rider-friendly console on the market. In my Fabbey Road Studios in Orange County, I have a Yamaha DM2000.”
“The integration of Logic and a dedicated I-Mac show control is something I’ve worked on for about two years,” he continues. “Larry Hopkins, a musical and tech guru from Technicolor in LA, really showed me the possibilities for inexpensive automation. For BeatleShow! I use a Motu D/A to run multiple streams of audio, including a tempo map and cues to musicians, all getting stereo in-ear mixes from the PM5D, and stage monitors that are active terraced versions of the house mix—a very easy and cool 5D trick.
“In addition, a ‘tech track’ or stage manager in a box connects to Clearcom to direct technicians on scenic moves and cues. MIDI output also controls scene changes on the Yamaha PM5D, and all the lighting cues that are generated in a Hog3 PC, as well as keyboard and guitar patches.
Both projection and the video walls are also driven from Logic through Canopus D/A converter boxes. After working with Yamaha engineers from Japan, it is exciting to see the Steinberg compatibility heading in this direction; it makes for an extremely automated and reliable “booked show”, something that my days with Disney taught me to value.”
Out of hundreds of cues for the show, there are only four scene changes on the Yamaha PM5D that need to be triggered manually, and this is done via a switchbox built for just a few dollars to address the GPI port on the console.
“It enables me and other engineers to be out of the booth and ‘in the field’ where our ears should be,” McCoy says. “A PC laptop with Yamaha Studio Manager running on it is wirelessly connected through an inexpensive router, so tweaking audio from the house is possible, including ancillary systems like front fills and monitors.
“For the price of a cheap laptop and router, an engineer can mix from anywhere in the room.”
A keyboard “blue toothing” to the I-Mac completes mobility and provides a remote “GO” button for the Logic software.
“David Saxe who owns the theater has really given me the latitude to create a great mixing environment. I returned the favor by helping him to create Vegas, the show that follows BeatleShow! and includes about 100 of the best musicians, singers, and dancers in Las Vegas, all house-mixed on the Yamaha PM5D.
“And there is only a 10-minute turnaround between shows! Mind you, both of these shows are very “vintage” live shows, and the Yamaha digital format works wonderfully.”