ORCHARD BEACH, NY—Jennifer Lopez always has something going on. With three movies, a TV police series and a Christmas album all due to appear within the next 18 months, it’s clear that the singer/ actress is accustomed to multitasking. Case in point: The free concert she gave this past summer in her original corner of New York City, the Bronx. Ostensibly set-up to promote the release of her most recent album, A.K.A., the event was also filmed for good measure, though no release plans have been announced yet for the production.
Held outdoors next to Orchard Beach in Pelham Bay Park, the show drew 16,000 people, despite days of poor weather leading up to the concert. “The day before, we were in rehearsals and it started pouring—we got shut down by a crazy rainstorm,” said Lopez’ longtime FOH engineer, Rick Camp. “We were only halfway through, and it was the first time on the stage, using this elaborate set that they put together for her. So the next morning, we got back out there and ran it a couple of times. There were all kinds of loose ends that we had to fix before they opened the gates at 5 o’clock.”
The assembled masses heard the concert through audio equipment supplied by Firehouse Productions (Red Hook, NY), and if there were loose ends to be taken care of on the day of show, the PA wasn’t one of them. Camp recalled, “I recommended Firehouse to do the gig and didn’t know a different system was going to be used. Luckily, I found out about three days before, we talked and they were very gracious and accommodating— and luckily, they had enough d&b audiotechnik in the shop to switch that out for me at the last second, so kudos to them. They’re great to work with.”
The result was that Lopez’s dance beats were heard via a sizable d&b system that covered the 1,000-yarddeep concert area with 18 J8s per side, numerous J12s for frontfills and 40 Infra Subs across the width of the stage. Dual sets of stereo-paired delay towers further back in the crowd each carried 12-deep hangs of JBL VerTec boxes. Concerned about all that audio firepower, local authorities put the production under strict noise restrictions during rehearsals. “There were only certain times I could even turn the PA on—an hour or two here and there,” said Camp. “Luckily, at showtime, they didn’t put a restriction on me, so my normal was 102 dB, peaking at 106 or so. Front-of- House was probably about 100-120 feet from the PA or so, although they had me in front of one stack of PA, not in the center, because somebody wanted the TV cameras dead center and not the sound.”
Nonetheless, Camp had the show’s audio locked down tight, using an Avid Venue Profile to mix 75 inputs coming off the stage from Lopez and her band—two keyboard players, drummer, bass player, percussionist, guitar player and two female background vocalists. Running relatively light on the plug-ins, Camp turned to his go-tos—the Drawmer Dynamics plug-in, a Sonnox Oxford/ GML 8200 EQ, and Waves’ SSL 4000 collection in spots.
Still, there were items out of the ordinary at FOH, he said: “One special thing I was doing was that through the generosity of Antelope Audio, I was using an Isochrone 10M atomic clock. We clocked the whole system with an Antelope Orion32 AD/DA, which was the main clock, with the 10M actually attached to it. It is just amazing—it turns 2D into 3D; they transform every piece of gear they touch into a million-dollar piece of gear.”
Up on the stage, Kenny Nash mixed the monitors, sending mixes to IEMs worn by all the musicians, and sidefills used for the dancers, as the deck was kept clear so as to ensure everyone could see the fancy footwork on display. Lopez’s vocals were captured via a Sony DWX digital wireless mic; designed to use interchangeable capsules, Camp has used an Earthworks WL40V capsule for Lopez for the last two years due to its tight pickup pattern and rear rejection. All her ensuing singing is also run through an Avalon VT-737 preamp.
Since the show was a one-off, Camp didn’t arrive onsite via a tour bus, instead flying in from Las Vegas, where he spent the summer prepping his new facility—Master Mix Live, a new, 2,000 square-foot soundstage/studio that opened September 1. The multi-use facility will alternate use as a recording studio, rehearsal facility and live sound instructional school.
While TV crews used the rehearsal day to get some close-ups of the show and practice their shots, the deluge brought that to a halt—and the next day, for a while, it seemed like the big show was going to be a washout, too. “The weather looked like it was going to rain again,” recalled Camp, “but it held off all evening—and the show turned out great!”
Master Mix Live