By Clive Young
New York (July 11, 2005)–Aiming to converge mass support for relief to African nations, July 2 saw the arrival of Live 8, a series of massive concerts held in 10 cities around the world. Spearheaded by Live Aid founders Bob Geldof and Midge Ure, the shows presented top names in music in an effort to focus public pressure on political leaders at the G8 summit. Days later, those leaders pledged to double aid to Africa and clear the debts of 18 African nations–measures that are expected save more than 10 million lives as a result. It was an ambitious payoff for an equally ambitious day of music.
The United States’ contribution was a concert on the steps of Philadelphia’s Museum of Art, which, with an audience of 1 million, attracted the biggest crowd of all 10 concerts. Acts on the bill were straight down the middle of the road, as performers included the Dave Matthews Band, Will Smith, Rob Thomas, Maroon 5, Alicia Keys, Bon Jovi and Stevie Wonder. Clair Brothers Audio (Lititz, PA) provided a crew of 17 audio pros to oversee its audio system for the event, while Frank Simon Productions (Doylestown, PA) fielded an additional four people to look after the delay loudspeakers it provided.
Providing wireless support across all the Live 8 shows around the world was Sennheiser, with three to five technicians at each venue and an extensive outpouring of equipment. Speaking onsite at the Philadelphia concert, Uwe Sattler, technical director for Sennheiser, remarked, “It’s a difficult challenge because of the size of this show and also the fact that this is an outdoor event. We hold responsibility for the equipment coordination on the wireless systems that will be onstage. There is an extremely strong signal that we have to fight because we are competing with the signals from the 3 to 5 megawatt TV stations in the area.”
Philadelphia’s audio was heard via Clair Brothers’ proprietary i4 line array system supplemented by i4B bass cabinets, S4 subs and P2 front-fills. According to Mike Wolf, corporate services manager of Clair Brothers, a half-dozen consoles were camped out at the FOH position, with four Midas XL4s and an XL3 supplied by Clair, and a Gamble console for Dave Matthews Band provided by Ultra Sound (Hercules, CA). Up at stageside were nine desks, providing something for everybody–four ATI Paragon II desks, a Yamaha PM1D, a trio of Midas Heritage 3000s and a DiGiCo D5.