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Always something of an anomaly on Dubai’s event calendar, Party In The Park has, of late at least, catered to gig-goers that crave something with a little more bite than the usual bubblegum pop or EDM acts on show in the city. This year saw headliner Liam Gallagher supported by a strong undercard, as well as a closing DJ set from big beat pioneers, The Chemical Brothers.
Tom Warneke, eclipse’s Project Manager on site, began: “Party In The Park is one of those gigs that we do every year at the start of the season. Not a lot has changed this time to the outside observer, as it’s more like a refinement of all the things we tried during festivals last year. For us it’s a well-oiled machine - we work in this venue a lot and have a great relationship with DGT Events.
“Although we are handling audio, lighting, video and rigging, we are working alongside others like Byrne, who are doing power and cabins, AES, who are providing the stage, and regulars like Gulf Crewing Company’s Nigel Beaton, who is on as Site Manager. It’s our first big gig of the season so it’s like getting the band back together after the summer; the atmosphere on site has been great.”
Head of Audio, John Parkhouse, chose to base the system at Media City Amphitheatre around an d&b audiotechnik J-Series line array, this time opting to ﬂy 4 J-SUBs above a main hang of 16 J8’s per side. This was complemented by out fill of 2 V-SUBs and 8 V-Series per side, and font fill consisting of 4 drops of 2 Y-Series speakers. The low end for the show was reinforced from the ﬂoor by 8 V-SUBs, 8 J-SUBs and 6 J-INFRAs.
eclipse also provided the rest of the requisite audio gear for the headliners, bar a few select microphones that couldn’t be sourced locally. “The rest of the mic package is pretty standard,” said Parkhouse. “For Liam, we have Shure mics for the kick, Sennheiser for the toms, and AKG 414’s for overheads. There is also the usual Shure SM57 and 58’s, Beta 58’s and Beta 56’s. Liam’s crew have brought 6 boutique Shure SM7Bs and some KSM313 ribbon mics. For them, the guitar tone is a huge part of his sound and I completely understand why they’ve brought their own mics over.”
All of the band was on Shure PSM1000 IEMs, with d&b M2 wedges at the lead vocal position and some more V-Series boxes for side fill. Mics and monitoring for the other acts were also provided by eclipse, as well as an Avid Profile for FOH for support, and a DiGiCo SD9 for ancillary duties, DJs, MCs, and VT rolls. The company also supplied a DiGiCo SD5 for Liam Gallagher’s FOH engineer.
The lighting rig at Media City Amphitheatre was based on headliner Liam Gallagher’s touring setup and supplemented with additional fixtures to make it more compatible with a typical festival system.
Head of Lighting, Craig Ralph, explained: “While Liam’s rig is the basis, it’s certainly not an artist specific setup. The main element that we tried to get exactly the same was the placement of the spots. We’ve tried our best to match them up so it’s a bit more streamlined for the incoming LD. We then slotted the extras between their existing stuﬀ to try and keep everyone happy.”
The main spot element in the rig was the Martin by Harman MAC Viper Profile, while the main wash was a Vari-Lite VL3500 Wash FX, and the main beam was a Claypaky Sharpy. “We added some LED equipment to the rig as well, with Claypaky Stormys in there and MAC Aruas across the back.”
eclipse also provided an MA Lighting grandMA2 Full Size at FOH, with a grandMA2 Light as a tracking backup, and 2 NPUs for the network processing at the stage end. All of this was driven by Luminex GigaCores, via a gigabit fibre link to the stage with copper backup. Ralph commented: “We run 2 lines of everything for automatic takeover without anyone interfering. I’ve never had one fail but it’s reassuring for everyone concerned that we are covered if it does. It’s touring standard, so when people come in and see that level of gear and expertise, it gives them confidence.
This policy of stage rotation is the norm in Media City Amphitheatre, and one that was also welcomed by the studious Head of Rigging for eclipse, Andreas Ehrenberger. He said: “It’s a simple stage but one that is well-designed for climbing and rigging. As there wasn’t a cherry picker available for us at the time, we climbed the stage during the rigging process, which is not usual in this region.
He continued: “It’s a straightforward rig with 5 runs of truss for lighting, 3 hoists per truss, main PA, out fills and 2 IMAG screens with a total weight of 18.5 tonnes - so nothing too complicated. It’s a little bit lucky for us in that Liam has come along with an old school backdrop instead of a huge video wall in the back. This would be a medium-sized festival stage in Europe so it’s capable of holding much more.”
The crew used James Tomas Engineering 52cm and 30cm tower truss, LIFTKET 1 tonne, double brake hoists for lighting and video, and LIFTKET 2 tonne, double brake hoists for audio. Ehrenberger had 32 hoist control channels to run everything independently, to what TPMEA discovered was an exacting standard.
This year the video crew opted for a 6m x 3.6m IMAG screen on either side of the stage, in a more traditional 16:9 orientation, which were made up of ROE 9mm LED panels. eclipse also provided 3 Sony HXC 100 cameras, a Ross Crossover switcher, an Analog Way Saphyr (Midra) SPX450 switcher, and Apple MacBooks with PlaybackPro.
Warneke concluded: “While a lot of gigs in Dubai tend to be electronic or DJ-focussed, this is one of the few returning annual shows that is more focussed on rock ‘n’ roll. Having Liam Gallagher in town is certainly a big deal for everyone. Luckily, we’ve kept good notes year-on-year so we could take our time going over them and try to implement as many improvements as possible. We, just like many other suppliers in the region, are constantly striving for the elusive gold standard – maybe this will be the year!”
Photo: Syed Ali Massam
Article originally featured in TPMEA Magazine
You can view the full article by going to the TPMEA Magazine website at: www.tpmeamagazine.com