MINNEAPOLIS, MN—Prince protégés The Family have reformed after 25 years as fDeluxe, and recently played a CD-release show with regional SR provider Audio Logic Systems.
Held at the Loring Theater, the show was the reuniting of four of The Family’s original members— ”St. Paul” Peterson, Jellybean Johnson, Susannah Melvoin and Eric Leeds. After debuting in 1986, The Family’s self-titled, Prince-produced album produced the single, “Nothing Compares 2 U,” famously covered by Sinead O’Connor. But after a single show at First Avenue back then, they went their separate ways. The Loring concert saw the group re-emerge under the new name of fDeluxe and celebrate the release of a new CD, Gaslight.
For the occasion, Audio Logic owner John Markiewicz and systems tech Ed Coutu brought in a full d&b audiotechnik system comprised of J-Subs, J Infra Subs and C7 mid-high cabs, Q10 front fills, with d&b M6 wedges, plus two DiGiCo consoles—an SD8 at FOH and an SD10—for handling the group’s wedges and personal monitoring systems. Since 2009, they’ve purchased a total of three DiGiCo consoles and have plans for adding a fourth in the coming year.
Initially, the input list was large with provisions for the seven-piece band—which included the core Family members, plus guitarist Oliver Leiber, Jason-Peterson DeLaire on keys/sax, and drummer Mario Dawson—in addition to a six-piece string section. In the end, it was decided that the inputs needed to be scaled back to a manageable 46.
“The initial stage set called for two drums sets because original drummer Jellybean Johnson (playing bass in the new band) was lefthanded and wanted to sit in on a few songs,” explained Markiewicz. “As things got scaled back, we were only able to use one drum set, with the tech switching kits back and forth on those songs, which were not played in sequence!”
“On top of that, I found out a day-and-a-half before the show that KTCA, the Minnesota public TV station, had plans to record the show, so there was the addition of a few extra mics added for that. We agreed that since we were already tracking the show at FOH using an RME MADIFace, we could simply split the feed. I set up KTCA’S engineer, Joe Demko, with a mono feed from my console to sync up in post, which would give them more control over the quality of it. Post mix engineer Brian “Snowman” Powers was given an additional MADIface interface in monitor world and he tracked the whole show there.”
When 1980s Prince protégés, The Family, recently reunited as fDeluxe, their CD release show was shot for TV and sported an audio system with DiGiCo and d&b audiotechnik gear.Despite the extravagant number of musicians involved and the TV taping, the production was nonetheless under constraints. “Because of budgets, we weren’t able to provide full production for rehearsals, so mixing FOH was going to be very much on the fly on the day of the show,” said Markiewicz. “When it was mentioned that Scott Fahey would be doing monitors, I was thrilled; he’s an absolutely phenomenal engineer. I decided to give him the SD10 for rehearsals, which is an excellent desk to mix in-ears on. By getting him the console early, he was able to mix the ears and whatever wedges we ended up using, and I was then able to take his preamp settings and recorded tracks and do a quick virtual soundcheck on my own back at the shop on an SD8. I was able to build scenes for the individual songs, and set up a fair amount of things so that I could get through the show as easily as possible without the benefit of a full production rehearsal. When I got the set list on Friday at load-in, I was able to put the scenes in order, set things such as my gates from song to song, Gain-Track off what Scott got at rehearsals and it allowed me to fine-tune each song. It gave me a leg up so when I heard the songs for the first time on the night of the show, I was 80 percent there. We stepped into soundcheck, ran through a few of the songs, and next thing you know, we were into the show.”
From the band’s perspective, Peterson (performing while on hiatus from touring with Kenny Loggins and Oleta Adams) was thrilled with Fahey at the helm. “The inears sounded so incredibly clear, and Scott did a great job of interpreting what I needed to hear. The integration of the DiGiCo board into what we were doing was so important. Having that flexibility and different options with the effects sends and such really freed us up to do what we wanted to do. It was a pleasure to have such great people and the best gear so we could just concentrate on the music portion and the bond, and camaraderie that we have as a band. So many cool people came out of the woodwork to help with this project, not only with the recording, but on the live portion, as well. People I had known for years from the old Paisley Park days and guys like Scott Fahey, who is my favorite monitor guy on the planet. To do it at such a high level with the DiGiCo system was a dream come true for us, and the credit goes to John, who managed it all.”
Audio Logic Systems