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Pet Shop Boys in Dreamworld

Forty years into their career, Pet Shop Boys still occupy a unique place in the pop firmament. Theirs is a rare and distinctive position, a fact which is underlined throughout their latest tour, Dreamworld.

The sold out, two-hour ‘Greatest Hits’ show has delighted audiences for the last two years and received rave reviews from the press. Described by The Times as “clever, stylish, and often euphoric”, it was a perfect showcase for their range of styles and depth of material. Five stars all round.

But all good things must come to an end, and as the UK leg of the tour drew to a close, ahead of eight final gigs across Europe, we caught up with Tour & Production Manager, Thomas Stone, to see how it had all gone.

‘We’ve put on a big show,’ explains Thomas. ‘We’ve maximised everything, and a huge part of making that possible has been down to the equipment that we’ve used, because this is not a normal rock and roll set up, by any means.’

The sound engineer’s perspective on d&b audiotechnik GSL

‘This show is pretty hi-fi,’ agrees FOH engineer Holger Schwark. ‘And because of this, d&b audiotechnik GSL was an obvious choice of PA. d&b’s new generation of line array gives us two main advantages.’

‘Firstly, the directional aspect. It has built in cardioid which gives excellent noise cancelling behind the array, resulting in a much quieter stage. This is more valuable then would have thought before using it, because it means that I get less noise from the PA back into the mics on stage. That gives me more creative freedom.’

‘Neil Tennant is a fantastic singer who is very strong and dynamic. Sometimes he’s loud. Sometimes he is quiet. But it is during these quieter moments when it is great to have a PA that is equally quiet at the microphone. That is an exceptional element of the d&b system.’

‘The other main advantage is d&b’s ArrayProcessing. Each loudspeaker cabinet has its own amp and this enables us to make the sound extremely consistent within an arena.’

Solotech’s service – People make all the difference

As well as a great technical solution, Thomas has also been impressed with the service that he’s received.

‘This is the biggest system that we’ve put out with Pet Shop Boys,’ he explains. ‘And not only have we managed to do that within budget, it’s also been with a minimal amount of effort or stress.’

‘That’s all down to working with Solotech and Martin Connolly, in particular. He takes a lot of credit for that. He’s made our lives much easier, provided us with accurate and timely truck packs, and has helped us remain on plan.’

‘These relationships, this flexibility, Solotech feels like a small company – even though we know that it is has this immense scale.’

Audio Crew L-R: Jonny Buck, Gareth Russell, Joseph Pearce, Jackson Akers, Holger Schwark, Thomas Stone & Lewe Redlin

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