Two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, 21-time Grammy Award winner and recipient of The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire Sir Paul McCartney brought his acclaimed long-running One On One Tour to Australia this December, his first Australian tour since 1993’s The New World Tour more than 24 years ago.
The show featured nearly three hours’ worth of the greatest moments from the last 50 years of music, dozens of songs that have formed the soundtracks of our lives. FOH engineer Paul Boothroyd – known more commonly in the industry as Pab – has been with Sir Paul for a fair portion of this journey.
“I first started working for him in 1989,” said Pab. “As well as being on stage for three hours, he also does a one hour sound check every day. With line checks and system checks as well, I’m probably behind the console twiddling knobs for five hours so it’s quite an extensive day technically.”
That FOH console was an Avid Venue S6L which Pab has used ever since it was released and he describes it as one of the best consoles on the market. Pab’s S6L carries dialed-in snapshots for more than 100 songs.
“It’s very powerful and has massive capability,” remarked Pab. “My vocal chain for Paul is fairly straightforward; I’m using a Sonnox Oxford EQ and Avid Pro compressor. For effects there are some general reverbs (short, medium and large), a little bit of delay ADT and that’s it. There’s no playback or inputs from anywhere else, it’s all live.”
Plug-ins that are used sparingly include Smack!, ReVibe II, ReVibe I on drums and Mod Delay III.
JPJ Audio supplied the crew and gear for the tour including their Clair Brothers’ Cohesion Series for PA. At the Sydney show indoors at Qudos Bank Arena, Pab had sixteen CO12 L+R, fourteen CO12 LL+RR, twelve CO12 LLL+RRR, six CP218 Subs flown per side, three CP218 Subs per side ground stacked and twelve CO8 for front fill.
“It’s absolutely the PA of choice for me,” said Pab. “I find it very flexible, light, and simple to manage. It delivers great results and is very accurate.”
The stage is fairly loud with only Wixy (musical director/multi-instrumentalist Paul “Wix” Wickens) wearing IEMs. The rest of the band opts for Clair R4 sidefills with ML18 subs and SRM wedges. Monitor engineer John “Grubby” Callis uses an analog Midas Heritage H3000.
“It’s very old-school rock and roll,” says Pab. “It’s loud sidefills and wedges up there because he likes to rock out.”
Microphones were a mixed bag with Pabs never swayed by fashion or freebies preferring to apply the correct microphone to suit the job.
“I like Audix on the drums and Shure for the vocals,” he added. “Paul’s very happy with the SM58A because he’s used to it – there may be a better microphone to suit his vocals these days but he is very used to what he has had for the past thirty years. So why change?”
Having not toured Australia for a good few years, Pab says he was very pleased to be greeted with such a professional JPJ team, a very happy team who just dealt with anything that was asked.
“Thanks JPJ for the fun and hard work, greatly appreciated,” he added.
Back row: Joel Larson, Alex McCormack, Tim Seconi, and Andrew Dowling SE from Clair Global
Front row: Tech Sean Baca, FOH engineer Paul “Pab” Boothroyd, monitor engineer John “Grubby” Callis, and monitors system engineer Paul Swan