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Yamaha mixing consoles come out of The Shadows


Late 2009 and early 2010 are giving many thousands of fans of Cliff Richard and The Shadows the very last chance to see both acts performing together, as their last joint tour swings through Europe, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. While Cliff will continue to tour as a solo artist, two Yamaha PM5D mixing consoles are helping the (not-so) Young Ones to Move It on the same stage together for the very last time.

John ‘JJ’ James and Mike ‘Bunny’ Warren are long-term members of the touring crews for both Cliff and The Shadows, so it’s natural that they, together with their favoured PM5Ds, should be in place on this final joint outing.

The tour started in the UK and Ireland, taking in 22 arena dates, most of which were sold out including three at London’s O2 and two more at Wembley Arena. Whether you like the music or not, the remarkable pulling-power of this tour can’t be denied!

Unlike Cliff’s solo ‘Time Machine’ tour last year, this one with The Shadows goes deliberately back-to-basics. The spinning ‘wheel of fortune’ backdrop is gone, replaced by a firm emphasis on stripped-down rock’n’roll.

“This year’s tour is simplified in terms of the production, although we’re using more-or-less the same front of house rig as last year - a PM5D, L-Acoustics PA and an Avalon compressor on Cliff's vocal.” says Bunny.

“I’m using a dbx162 compressor/limiter on Hank (Marvin)’ s and Bruce (Welch)’s vocal, but apart from that all the processing is onboard the PM5D. I don't see any reason to use anything else because it’s great. All the reverbs, gates, compressors, expanders are fine and it does everything I want it to do. As far as I’m concerned if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

JJ agrees, doing all the necessary processing for monitor world on the console.

“The PM5D’s processing is way more than adequate for monitors,” he says. “I know some people say there are differences, but I think there's a lot of 'emperor’s new clothes' when it comes to equipment. The onboard processing is absolutely fine for my purposes.”

He continues, “Normally with a Cliff tour we have hardly any wedges and the stage is really quiet because everyone's on in-ears or cans.”

“On this tour Hank, Bruce and bass player Mark Griffiths are using wedges, with everyone else on in-ears. I do five main monitor mixes - for them and stereo IEM for Cliff, plus another for drummer Brian Bennett, while the rest of the band are using Aviom personal mixers. We also have a pair of in-fills which give Hank and Bruce a lead vocal reference.”

Out front, the challenge is to satisfy two very different sets of audience expectations - to hear the old songs as they know them, but to also provide the audio quality expected at a modern live show.

“Live audiences have very different expectations now, compared to what live sound was like back then, so we’re trying to provide a 1960s-style sound, but with modern quality,” says Bunny.


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