Smokie across the water

Although nobody knows who Alice is, virtually everyone knows the chorus to the song.  British rock band Smokie have been steadily touring ‘Living Next Door to Alice’ and a raft of their other hits since the Seventies, and their success continues to fill arenas all over Europe.  Czech Republic production supplier RENTAL PRO has just brought home a 3-country tour with the band, deploying a substantial NEXO STM Series modular line array system as main PA.

  • 12 a side STM M46+B112, plus 2x M28 downfill
  • 12 a side STM S118 subbass
  • 9 a side STM M28 sidefill
  • M28 frontfill

Playing 20,000-capacity arenas, the Smokie tour of Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary completed what their front-of-house engineer Sean Greenaway describes as their busiest year in a decade.  Accompanied by a 40-piece symphony orchestra, the 5-piece band continues to deliver sell-out shows with high production values and a massive dose of nostalgia.

Kicking off their 2018 tour in Czech Republic, Smokie chose RENTAL PRO as their production supplier.  One of the biggest providers of NEXO PA systems in the region, RENTAL PRO worked with Sean Greenaway to create a versatile inventory of STM Series line array which could scale up and down to handle the different requirements of the arenas and theatres on their itinerary.

“On this tour, we encountered some quite difficult rooms acoustically,” says Greenaway,“ yet with the system set up, the RENTAL PRO team managed to ensure the whole of the listening areas of the arenas were suitably covered with full range sound. I love how the delivery of the sound from the system is very even, from the front to the back of the venue.  The sound felt balanced perfectly across the whole room, which makes my job mixing the artist a very pleasurable experience knowing the whole audience is getting the best sound.”

Typically, for an arena show, the Smokie PA was set up with 12 sets of STM M46 main and B112 bass modules, plus two downfills of the omnipurpose STM M28 double 8” cabinets, and a total of 24x STM S118 subbass cabinets. The largest venues added sidefill arrays of 9x STM M28s.  Front fill came from additional M28 cabinets, and a full complement (over 20 channels) of stage monitors included different NEXO PS Series models as well as the 45°N-12 line monitors for the musicians, main band members being on in-ears, all mixed on a Yamaha PM5D monitor console.

Greenaway was mixing the show on a Yamaha PM7 digital console, with orchestral inputs going through an Innovason Eclipse, all on a Dante network.  He is no stranger to NEXO STM Series.  “I first used it a few years ago in Germany where I was very impressed with the sound and flexibility of the system.   What I love about STM from a mixing point of view is just how great it sounds! It is very directional, and also powerful in its handling. The highs are crisp yet smooth, the mids powerful and the low end is punchy.  All together giving a rich sound which can throw evenly through the largest of spaces.”

Greenaway had high praise for his RENTAL PRO production team, which also supplied video cameras and screens, lighting and staging for this leg of Smokie’s European tour. “ I can honestly say from travelling around the world doing concerts for many years, that these guys are one of the best companies I have worked with.  The equipment was great, the crew were hard working, friendly and very professional and would do anything to help anytime.  We really appreciated all the long days and hard work they all endured to make sure the shows were the best possible.”

Photos: Stanislav Milata