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The Foo Coup

A one-off Foo Fighters gig in Geelong was a big deal for more than the 36,000 in attendance.

By

7 March 2022

If ever there was an antidote to the malaise felt by live production people around Australia, then the Foo Fighters would be it.

The one-off gig at Geelong’s Kardinia Park was made possible by the Always Live state government initiative, itself the brainchild of the late, great Michael Gudinski — and it’s been a real shot in the arm, so to speak.

Fronted by Dave Grohl, the Foo Fighters fired up a soggy crowd of 36,000 with a typically epic two-plus hours of no-holds-barred rock ’n’ roll. 

JPJ took care of the audio requirements. The band’s long-time front of house engineer, Bryan Worthen, has favoured L-Acoustics PAs for some time and the Geelong show adhered to the band’s K1-led stadium system design: the main hangs with K1, KS28 subs on top and K2 underhang; the side hangs combining on K2s and SB28 subs; while Kara and ARCS helped with fill. Four giant delay towers carried 70 VDOSC loudspeakers. L-Acoustics LA12X networked amps powered the loudspeakers out front and LA8s powered the delay towers. L-Acoustics Network Manager took care of the all the system management.

JPJ’s system engineer and crew chief was Tim Jones: “This stadium is a new one to us, it’s actually still under redevelopment. We modelled it in L-Acoustics Soundvision off the stadium plans. The models got us very, very close. One thing we didn’t reckon on, is a slope of nearly one metre across the ground — not what you’d expect in a football oval. It didn’t impact what we we were doing too much. But we had to take an average trim height to get the arrays all the same height and pointing in the same direction — the model is very specific about bottom elevations and angles. Soundvision is such a great tool to use. The fact you can come into a stadium you’ve never been in before and get it so close is amazing.” 

Spirits are very high among the crew. We’re just stoked to be out doing it again

BACK ON THE BIKE

The gig might have come as a bombshell to the general public but JPJ had more than enough time to bump in and roam around to fine tune the PA.

“It sounds pretty good for a stadium,” remarks Tim Jones. “Obviously, you’ve got your classic stadium reverb and a couple of big reflections but we try and manage the worst of those problem areas out with the tools at our disposal.”

Tim admits to having to blow some cobwebs out, after all, it’s been more than two years since this type of gig has been staged anywhere in Australia: “A little like riding a bike. Took us all a little while to get our groove back on. But we were flying soon enough.”

JPJ made a point of keeping its team together, knowing that eventually live events would return and, when they did it, would need to retain that expertise.

“We’ve been super blessed in the JPJ camp. The company has looked after us very well over the period of the lockdowns — everyone retained their jobs. [CEO] Jim Straw was adamant that we retain the knowledge base in the crew. We were pretty damn good at our job before the pandemic and we plan to be just as good on the other side.”

And what’s it like to be back?

“This means so much to us. It feels great to be doing it again and helping to entertain tens of thousands of people in a capacity that we haven’t been able to do in so long. Spirits are very high among the crew. We’re just stoked to be out doing it again.”

RESPONSES

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  1. From the moment I walked through the tunnel I heard the bass guitar of the support act; even then with reverb at the back end I thought, damn we have a great sound. Our friends had set up camp 30m from front. Here it was like my record player; full, detailed and better still awesome sound of like performers.
    Thanks for great sounding concert. Ps Marvel stadium is awful. More at Kardinia Park!!!
    Taylor Hawkins was the standout.
    Knowing he had a side act but I never heard him sign, I was blown away. He didn’t do it 7 years ago.
    My son is looking to use those speakers for his shed. I can’t wait for that to work too.

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Issue 83