|Jewel Plays It Straight
|Solid Performance. Solid Sound Fill Jones Beach Theatre
|by Linda Romanello
|Wantagh, NY It was as simple as a girl and her guitar, standing in the center of a stage, and performing some songs for a few people. OK, maybe there was a bit more to it than that. The girl was actually Jewel, the stage was Jones Beach Theatre in Wantagh, NY, the songs included a number of her hits and "a few people" were, in truth, thousands of very enthusiastic fans. The concert was yet another stop on her lengthy tour supporting her album, Spirit, a trek which began in February in Australia, and arrived on U.S. shores in June.
While she proved with a solo set that she was more than capable of delivering a stunning show on her own, Jewel brought her band along to produce an even bigger, fuller sound via a system provided by Sound Art (Winnipeg, Canada). According to Rob Howick, FOH engineer and production manager, "There really arent any special effects or unique setups for one of her shows. Shes pretty straightforward. Her band are all great musicians, and she was clearly born to entertain. She has absolutely no fear at all of getting up there by herself and entertaining for hours on end. That just makes our job that much easier."
Along for the North American leg of the tour was a Midas Heritage 3000 48x24x3 concert mixing console. "Its their newest board on the market," Howick reported, "and its pretty straightforward-a good product for sure and very reliable." Noting that the Heritage seemed quieter than the XL-4 he had been using before, he added, "I just always come back to this brand; it produces the truest, most natural sound; less preamps, less EQing for any console Ive used for live procedures."
To capture the vocals and drums, Howick said he used "lots of Shure microphones, with the exception of the overhead, for which we use the AKG 414s. We also use a few Audio-Technica AT4050s for the guitar amps and a lot of Klark Teknik direct boxes for the keyboards and bass guitars. For the PA, weve been using the Electro-Voice X-Array, and its really been working out great."
"(Jewel) has no fear of getting up there by herself and entertaining. That makes our job much easier."
FOH engineer, Jewel
Stage volume is an issue for any tour, and Jewels was no different. While many productions will elect to make use of personal monitor systems, in this case, a choice was made to carefully create the onstage area, a primary example being the use of the Plexiglas enclosure for the drums. "This is to try and alleviate as much sound as possible from leaking on stage and to Jewels microphone and ears," Howick noted. "Its really more of a studio type of trick than anything else. Weve also eliminated guitar amps on stage to try to reduce the level of sound thats up there with her." Nonetheless, wedges still graced the stage in the form of EV X-Array monitors.