Directed by the highly-awarded John Foreman, Australia Day 2017 – Live at the Sydney Opera House brought together a collection of Australia’s best talent, including Tina Arena, Guy Sebastian, Human Nature and Dami Im. The concert was hosted by Grant Denyer and Kerri-Anne Kennerley.
JPJ Audio provided audio production with Will King in charge of the design and running front of house. It has been well publicized that the forecourt of the Opera House is a tricky venue due to its’ strict noise control limit. Added to that was the fact that the show was broadcast live and the television producers wanted the Harbour Bridge as a backdrop.“This meant that the stage wasn’t orientated in a way that was helpful in achieving that sound level,” commented Will. “The sound was directed towards the Botanical Gardens and in places, could hit the sandstone wall. We had to do our best to deliver a sound system that would shoot down enough to not hit the wall, only the audience.”
The PA system comprised of L-Acoustics K1, ten a side, with a side hangs of KARA enclosures to cover the steps of the Opera House, as well as SB28 subs. A single mono delay hang of eight deep KUDO enclosures was also utilized. A large number of Clair 12am wedges covered the stage and the thrust that jutted out into the audience. Usually a thrust allowing performers in front of the PA can cause problems but not in this case due to the concert’s strict noise limits.
“That was probably the only good thing about having a strict noise limit!” laughed Will. “I used a DiGiCo SD10 for control and it was the first time I didn’t have a single channel to plug anything into. The entire console was full – if anyone else had turned up I don’t know what we would have done!”
It was important that Will remembered the larger audience was at home watching the concert on the television and he had to be careful not to do anything that would affect the broadcast.
“For example, feedback is an absolute no-no on TV,” he elaborated. “If it happens once or twice at a gig, you can get away with it but with television it’s very noticeable in the quiet of your living room as opposed to a noisy gig.”
Those who have seen the broadcast of the show will remember what appeared to be a momentous audio fail when Grant Deyner’s microphone didn’t appear to work for what seemed like an age. However, JPJ are relieved to be able to state that the microphone was working perfectly at the gig.
Tristan Farrow ran monitors using a DiGiCo SD5 console.