I headed out to our beloved All State Arena, home to the Chicago Wolves hockey team and DePaul Blue Demons… and they do mix some concerts in there when the timing is right. On this particular evening, All State played host to R&B superwoman Alicia Keys and Shure endorser Robin Thicke.
Down below in the depths of the arena, the high-level of production involved in putting on this tour was clearly evident. The road cases seemingly stretched all the way around the arena, some even playing double duty as a not-so-comfortable place to sneak in a power nap for some of the crew (the buses rolled up at about 7:30 AM that day).
Speaking with Robin Thicke’s production manager, everyone (including him) tries to get as much sleep as possible on a tour of this magnitude. As we waited for Ms. Keys to finish up her soundcheck, we talked about what lies ahead for Robin on this tour and about all of the extra stops he’ll make along the way (look for him in a city near you!) A few minutes later, Alicia Keys drove by behind the wheel of a golf cart, a clear indicator her soundcheck was wrapping up.
Before we made our way out to the arena for Robin’s soundcheck, I ran into his front-of-house engineer who also works with Mary J. Blige, a long-time Shure user and fan of our KSM9. We talked about Mary’s upcoming plans to tour on a larger scale and about how Shure could play a pivotal role in the production of her tour. Check back with us for more details to come, we’re looking forward to working with Mary again!
Finally making our way out to the stage and taking post at monitor world, Robin Thicke’s production manager worked quickly and efficiently to make sure everything was in place for Robin’s set, including the UHF-R SM58 vocal mics found in front of anyone singing on the stage that night. One of the production crew members walked by me wearing a Shure shirt, and I told him I liked his choice in clothing for the evening. He stopped, thought about it for a second, and said, ‘”Oh yeah, I’m in Shure land, aren’t I? Thanks.” There was certainly a lot going on when it came to instruments and props for this show, one really cool thing that has become a staple for Robin, is his red piano… maybe he needs a red mic to go with that?
While the crew got things ready for the Robin Thicke session, I got some time to talk with Alicia’s monitor engineer, who has Alicia on a UHF-R KSM9 for this tour (thank you very much!). He couldn’t say enough about how reliable the wireless units have been for him so far, and they certainly helped him out earlier that day when he rolled into Chicago only to find as lot less room in the wireless spectrum. UHF-R saved him a lot of time and stress by doing a quick scan and pointing out the safest channels to operate on. Is there anything UHF-R can’t do? It’s always great to hear how Shure saved the day for these already intense situations. We also talked a little bit about Shure’s new PSM 900 system (coming soon!) and Alicia’s monitor engineer sang its praises, commenting that it’s like nothing else he’s heard on the market and that Shure really payed attention to the entire spectrum when it came to the audio quality.
At about this time, security swarmed the arena, alerting the crew it was time to open the doors to the masses anxiously awaiting to get inside and to their seats for the evening. Everyone on stage and off headed back to their buses or road cases or make-shift sanctuaries to enjoy a few more moments of calm before the show. It was great to see Robin’s crew again and get some time to talk with Alicia’s production staff as well. I’m looking forward to what things may come from this fine evening… – Cory