New Zealand’s most awarded individual artist Bic Runga has celebrated the 20th anniversary since the release of her debut album with a New Zealand tour.
Regarded as one of the most iconic albums in New Zealand history, her first album Drive was released in August 1997. It achieved platinum status seven times and won the New Zealand Music Award for Album of the Year in 1998.
Audiences were treated to a special full band performance of the entire album along with carefully chosen hits and select gems from her numerous multi-platinum releases, with accompaniment by special guests.
The Auckland leg of the anniversary tour was held at The Civic Performance Art Theatre to a sold-out audience. Guests were in for an unforgettable experience from talented artists and state-of-the-art production equipment.
The main sound system supplied especially for the event was JBL’s new line array system – the VTX A12. Designed from the ground up, the JBL VTX A12 is a dual 12" three-way line array element that has been purpose built for mid to large size touring applications and high-end fixed installations – which was perfectly suited for The Civic.
“When we were given the opportunity to mix with the VTX A12, it was a no-brainer really,” says leading sound engineer Kevin Bennett, who mixed FOH for the show. “I have never received as many compliments from an audience as I did after this performance. Sonically the A12 is exceptionally smooth on and off axis. Very little tweaking was necessary to get the system to work at its optimum in the venue.”
It is seldom that an artist comments on the sound quality of a show, yet Bic was gracious enough to offer a spontaneous remark. "The audience response to this show was not something I was expecting,” says Bic Runga. “I do think a combination of Kevin Bennett's experienced mixing and the PA he got to use gave the show an extra clarity and presence that translated to a special experience for the listener. Most of our feedback after the show was not just about the music, but about the sound quality, it seemed to move them."
Four VTX A12 loudspeakers per side were ground-stacked to cover the floor area, while six VTX A12’s were flown to cover the balcony. 2x JBL VTX G28 subwoofers per side were used for the bottom end. JBL have completely redesigned the rigging system for the A12 which has made a notable difference when setting up the system.
“The system is amazingly quick to install,” says Kevin Bennett. “When I entered the venue to set up the console, the rigging was almost complete and the PA ready to sound check before I was!”
Kevin mixed the show using Soundcraft’s newer smaller format Vi2000 digital console – which was a perfect size for the band accompanying Bic Runga.
“I have a soft spot for the BSS DPR901ii Dynamic EQ,” quips Bennett. “I am familiar with the earlier generation Vi consoles and the straightforward, analogue-like design that allows for instant responses makes mixing a pleasure, as does the exceptional audio quality and road-proven reliability. Vi2000 is now my go-to console.”
JBL’s flagship VTX-M professional stage monitors with their excellent sound quality ensured low but clear stage levels so that the musicians never missed a beat.
“We are immensely proud that we were able provide high-quality sound equipment for an icon such as Bic Runga in a venue like The Civic” concludes Tim Robertson, Tour Sound manager for JBL Professional distributor JANDS. “There has been fantastic interest with the VTX A12 locally and our aim is to have it added to technical riders in the New Zealand market.”
Stage photo above courtesy Doug @ Ambient Light