Adlib was at the core of the action for four days of amazing public theatre that saw the return of the Royal De Luxe giant marionettes to Liverpool, UK, for a weekend of fun, history, poignancy and superlative entertainment.
The show Memories of August 1914 was devised to commemorate the centenary of the start of World War 1 – in the process highlighting the heroic Liverpool Pals who answered Lord Kitchener’s call for volunteer recruits – and pulled an estimated one million people into the city.
Adlib provided sound systems for the main seven performance sites dotted around the city centre, working for Liverpool City Council’s events department. It followed on from Adlib’s very successful servicing of the Giants’ Sea Odyssey spectacular in 2012.
The different sites all accommodated large crowds of between 10 000 and 40 000 people who needed to hear the performance soundtrack clearly from all positions as the giants moved around the city following a carefully choreographed route.
It was a vast logistical operation for Adlib, and was co-ordinated by director Phil Stoker and involved 16 Adlib technicians. Stoker worked closely with the event’s technical manager Stu Stalker and production manager Jonathan Sims.
The various audio systems – all based around L-Acoustics or Coda elements – were co-designed by Adlib’s Tony Szabo and Royal De Luxe’s sound designer Stephane Brosse.
The seven sites were St George’s Hall, Newsham Park, Mann Island, Canning Dock, Clarence Dock, the Metropolitan Cathedral and the Queensway Tunnel, and often the systems had to be de-rigged from one and leapfrogged ahead of the procession to being set up in the next location.
At St George’s Hall, Adlib installed an L-Acoustics K2 system comprising 11 speakers-a-side flown off Adlib’s new Prolyte PA towers, complete with Lake processing / control and a Soundcraft Vi1 console.
At Newsham Park, one of the largest sites for audience numbers, attracting crowds of around 40 000, Adlib installed two hangs of L-Acoustics K1, with 10 speakers per hang flown off 40-tonne tower cranes and more Lake / Soundcraft control.
Clarence Dock was catered for with another K1 system on cranes. At the three sites at Mann Island, the Metropolitan Cathedral and Queensway Tunnel, all the PAs were deployed on the back of two flatbed Hiab crane trucks for quick deployment. They arrived on the sites and elevated the PA arrays just ahead of the Giants arriving to play out their scene.
These Hiabs were each loaded with 12 x Coda LA12 speakers, complete with Soundcraft SI compact mixers.
In all cases the audio signals from the music / band truck accompanying the giant marionette cast of three characters – the Little Girl, the Grandmother and Xolo the dog – as they moved around town were beamed via RF link over to the Adlib systems at each of the stopping points.
For the finale at Canning Dock, the entire Waterfront was closed and the Giants moved onto the water in boats, which sailed off down the Mersey River in a wave of smoke and emotion for the highly dramatic show end.
The Canning dock entailed a fast set up of a hang of 20 deep K1 from a 3 axle mobile tower crane and then hung at the edge of the water so, it would throw across the water to the road, (which entailed 100 metres to the first person and 130 metres to the last person) that was just directly in front. The side coverage was 180 metres to the first person. This had to be done and ready in four hours from the crane arriving on site to the Giants performing. The soundtrack was mixed through one of Adlib’s DiGiCo SD10 consoles.
“Our crew were fantastic as always and really embraced the unique atmosphere, spirit and community of the occasion,’ says Stoker. “We could all appreciate what an historic opportunity it was, to assist people in enjoying the City and all it has to offer.’