British musical prodigy Jacob Collier’s eagerly awaited Djesse world tour kicked off in April, giving fans the opportunity to see the acclaimed singer-songwriter perform live for the first time since 2019.
On the tour, which visits Europe, the Americas, Asia and Australasia throughout 2022, Jacob is accompanied by a six-piece band of world-class musicians, and, with interactive lighting, extensive improvisation, and audience involvement, no two shows are the same.
“Gone are the days of being able to come in and use a house desk, this gig has too many moving parts,” explains Ben Bloomberg, Production Director and Show/Music Systems Designer. “With advanced looping and music as dynamic as Jacob’s, our amazing engineers perform almost as much as the band. The mix is highly dynamic and musically specific, and the show changes every night with significant improvisation.”
Having trialled Allen & Heath’s flagship digital platform pre-pandemic, Bloomberg called on Eighth Day / Clair Global to supply a pair of dLive systems to handle FOH and monitors.
“I took dLive out for a test run in 2019 on a smaller tour and immediately knew it was what we needed for Jacob to be able to shine on this latest production,” he says. “For us, dLive was the only solution that provided the required I/O and channel count in a form factor that allows the possibility for fly dates.”
With show files being compatible across the entire dLive range, and the same 128-channel 96kHz FPGA core at the heart of all MixRacks, Bloomberg and his team could confidently change between different Surface and MixRack combinations for each leg of the tour with no loss of processing capabilities or channel count; for the US leg, a pair of 28-fader S5000 Surfaces were partnered with a DM0 and DM64 MixRack; in the UK, one of the S5000 Surfaces was substituted with a 36-fader S7000 at monitors; and for the upcoming Australian shows, a pair of ultra-compact C1500 Surfaces will be deployed with a pair of DM0 MixRacks and three DX168 expanders for analogue I/O.
“I love the flexibility the dLive series offers, allowing me to travel with my rig without having to compromise the processing power I need to run the show,” says Jose Ortega, FOH engineer. “The sonic quality of the console makes it easy to get great sound and consistency on my mixes, so I don’t have to think in external plugins or outboard gear and that’s great when you are on the road and need to keep your footprint to a minimum.”
The show utilises 116 channels of audio coming from a combination of analogue and digital sources, making use of dLive’s Dante cards for connection to dual-redundant playback systems, plus GUI integration with Shure wireless systems.
“Linking our Axient Digital devices directly to the channels in the desk was a treat,” says Monitor engineer Alessandro Melchior. “I'm a huge fan of having everything controllable on my board without having to rely too much on external hardware.”
And Melchior’s everything-in-the-box philosophy is reflected in his choice to rely exclusively on dLive’s suite of zero-latency DEEP Processing tools for the performers monitor mixes.
“dLive on monitors has been a game changer,” he adds. “The huge amount of processing power and the well laid out surface makes managing this show a pleasure. Features like the Dyn8, the Source Expander and Bus compressor make all the difference when I’m keeping 116 channels clean and under control.”
“Not only does dLive provide a powerful set of features and great ergonomics, but it’s also just damn fun to mix on” concludes Bloomberg. “The effects sound great, and there are so many sound-shaping tools that used to require dedicated outboard to achieve. Overall, the platform has become a critical creative tool for Jacob and our whole team.”