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Zeppelin Used Metallica's Sound Engineer For Reunion Concert

Zeppelin Used Metallica's Sound Engineer For Reunion Concert
Big Mick Hughes with Midas XL8

At front of house for Led Zeppelin's recent 02 Arena concert was a Midas XL8 Live Performance System provided by Britannia Row, with two engineers at the controls. Big Mick Hughes mixed the band - Jimmy Page on guitar, John Paul Jones on bass and drummer Jason Bonham - while Robert Plant's front of house engineer Roy Williams handled the singer's soaring vocal range.

The decision to use the XL8 came after Page heard it at Metallica's Wembley gig this summer. Plant subsequently visited the Midas factory to see and hear the XL8, which guaranteed the XL8's place on the rider.

Williams has worked as front of house engineer for Robert Plant for almost a decade.

"I'll always have a preference for Midas, and the transition from analogue wasn't as hard as I had expected; I found the XL8 user-friendly, especially when obtaining any EQ that I might be looking for," he said.

"I had known from before the start of rehearsals that two engineers would be doing the show, one to look after the band and one to concentrate on Robert's vocals and effects. Not the easiest thing to do: two engineers, two pairs of ears and two egos! Mick and I have known one another for over 30 years and are both from the Black Country so that helped a lot.

"The XL8 let me have my own world to work in with just the vocal mic and eight effects - leaving Mick to create his world without either of us getting in one another's way. No blood was drawn, we had a blast and more importantly are still friends."


Big Mick, who put the XL8 through its paces on Metallica's European tour earlier this summer, was mixing the band. "We felt that using the XL8 gave us an unlimited amount of options," he said. "It was a good job we did as the input list grew to over 70 channels, and if we'd gone analogue we would have been into two desks.

"The operation of the console made it really easy for Roy and myself to divide the work surface. Being able to set the last bay of the console to the B zone and then recall a POP (population) group containing Robert's vocal and effects into the B zone meant that Roy had his own section. This in turn allowed me the remaining two bays and the VCA (Variable Control Association) section to mix the band. The 'a/b' headphone solo busses were invaluable as I could be using one while Roy used the other. And as before, when I first used the XL8 for Metallica, the pure sound and stereo image quality is undeniable." [more]

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October xx, 1968 - Led Zeppelin is recorded
October 19, 1968 - Final performance as the New Yardbirds
October 31, 1969 - Led Zeppelin II is released in the US
October 17, 1969 - Bonham is thrilled to play Carnegie Hall where Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa have performed
October 23, 1970 - Led Zeppelin III is released in the US
October xx, 1970 - The press lash out at the band over the Led Zeppelin III acoustic content
October xx, 1971 - Page and Plant venture around Thailand and India after the Japan tour
October 18, 1972 - Zeppelin rehearse at the Rainbow Theater for a UK tour
October xx, 1973 - Each member performs an individual film sequence for their concept film
October 31, 1974 - Swan Song hosts a party for the launch of its UK division
October xx, 1975 - Led Zeppelin decide not to tour and concentrate on recording new material
October 20, 1976 - The Song Remains The Same premieres at New York’s Cinema One
October xx, 1977 - Jimmy starts assembling a Led Zeppelin live album from recordings as far back as 1969
October xx, 1978 - Jones and Bonham record with Paul McCartney at Abbey Road Studios
October xx, 1978 - Rehearsals for In Through The Out Door in London
October xx, 1979 - All nine Led Zeppelin albums enter the Billboards Top 200 -- no other band has ever achieved this
October 10, 1980 - A private funeral is held for John Bonham at Rushock church in Worcestershire
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