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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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This Month in
Led Zeppelin History


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December 16, 1968 - Zep plays Bath Pavilion for a mere £75.
December 26, 1968 - First American concert at the Coliseum in Denver, CO
December xx, 1969 - Led Zeppelin are reported to have sold 5 million dollars worth of albums in the US
December 11, 1969 - Led Zeppelin are presented gold and platinum discs for their first two albums
December xx, 1970 - The band enters Island Studios to begin work on the fourth album
December xx, 1971 - The band plays a few low-key shows back in England
December 23, 1972 - The band break for Christmas holiday after a London gig
December xx, 1973 - John Paul Jones works on studio productions for Madeline Bell
December xx, 1973 - Joe Massot films Jimmy Page’s fantasy sequence at Loch Ness
December 19, 1974 - John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page jam with Bad Company at the Rainbow Theater
December 10, 1975 - Led Zeppelin play a 45-minute show with Norman Hale at Behan’s in Jersey
December xx, 1976 - Led Zeppelin rehearses for the 1977 tour
December 25, 1976 - It’s announced that Plant and Bonham will reunite with the Band of Joy for three shows in the new year
December xx, 1977 - The band minus Robert gather to discuss Led Zeppelin’s future plans
December xx, 1978 - The new album is completed quickly at Polar Studios and mixed at Jimmy’s Plumpton Studio
December xx, 1979 - John Bonham considers joining Paul McCartney’s Wings
December 29, 1979 - The band minus Jimmy Page attend the Paul McCartney And Wings Kampuchea befefit show
December 04, 1980 - Led Zeppelin issue the following statement not to carry on as a band: "We wish it to be known, that the loss of our dear friend and the deep respect we have for his family, together with the deep sense of harmony felt by ourselves and our manager have led us to decide that we could not continue as we were."
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