For any Cure fan, this tour was not to be missed. After a short run of club dates earlier this year -- which were priceless for the lucky few who attended -- the band headed out for a full-fledged arena and shed tour that stretched across North America and Europe. The band turned in a solid three-hous set that included a number of classic Cure gems, rarieties and b-sides, and new material from the band's current CD, Bloodflowers. Mix caught up with the band at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles and the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, Calif.
FOH engineer Dave Bracey counts this as his third tour with the Cure, but his first mixing FOH. His other credits include a world tour with Depeche Mode and a three-year stint with Robbie Williams. Bracey is mixing on a Midas XL4. "Absolutely my board of choice," he says of the XL4. "I was an XL3 man until these came out, but there's so much more for me. Sonically, the Midas sounds fantastic, and it has all the headroom that you could ever need. I use the automation in the show. I've got 49 songs programmed into this board, and they play about 46 songs regularly. They change the center part of the set and the encores quite radically every night."
Bracey's FOH rack includes a Tube-TEch CL-1 compressor for Cure lead singer Robert Smith's vocal and a Roland SDE-330 for the numerous vocal delays and rotary effects. For dynamic control, Bracey patches dbx 160As across electric guitar channels, uses two Summit DCL200s on keyboards and acoustic guitars, and assigns Drawmer gates to drums. For effects, he has two Yamaha SPX990s which he runs in stereo on toms and an Eventide H3000 for flanging and phaser effects on vocals and (occassionally) on guitars. "I don't need to do much on non-vocal effects or non-drum effects because the guitarists do so much themselves," notes Bracey.
The Cure is using a V-DOSC™ P.A. system supplied by Audiotek of Los Angeles. "The V-DOSC system throws further with more frequency range than any other P.A. system that I've heard," says Bracey. "We have fourteen V-DOSC boxes per side, and I'm using six subs a side, which are proprietary boxes from Audiotek."
Monitor engineer Sarne Thorogood is running 23 mixes (four sets of in-ears) from a Midas Heritage 3000. "The only compression I use is on the keyboards left and right, bass, and I do a split of Robert's vocal -- one's for the in-ears and one's for his wedge," explains Thorogood. "On Robert's vocal I use a BSS 901 dynamic equalizer, and that's the only insert I have on him, apart from on the split vocal which is a dbx 160X. On [drummer] Jason Cooper I'm using two thumpers in the seat, and he's got in-ears as well. Both the keyboard setups are in-ear, as well as the keyboard tech's." Wedge monitors, which contain 2- and 15-inch drivers, are from Firehouse Productions, New York.
Robert Smith sings into an Audio-Technica 89R, and all of the guitars are miked with A-T 4050s. Drum mics include a Shure Beta 52 on kick, Beta 56s on the snare top and an SM57 on the bottom, A-T 4041s on hi-hats, Shure 98s on the rack and floor toms and A-T 4050s on overheads.
Guitar tech Tony Boatman, pictured here with one of Smith's favorite guitars [picture coming soon?], has his hands full each and every night. "Because we have so many guitars I have bass tech Jez Webb help divide it down during the show," says Boatman. "We have something like 30 guitars on the road because the set list is so huge -- the band can pull out 50 odd songs -- so you have to be able to cover that all the time. We don't know what the set list will be until about a half-hour before the show." Smith and guitarist Perry Bamonte both use Line 6 Flextone Amps.
Daryl Bamonte : Tour Manager
Wob Roberts : Production Manager
Gary Currier : Stage Manager
Dave Bracey : FOH Engineer
Sarne Thorogood : Monitor Engineer
Tony Bateman, Jez Webb : Guitar Techs
Steev Arnold, Derek Simpson : Keyboard Techs
Keith Prior : Drum Tech