Guitar virtuoso Tommy Emmanuel has spent most of 2011 touring the world, performing concerts in Europe, Asia, and even Russia. Best known for his complex finger picking style, energetic performances, and the use of percussive effects on the guitar, he now brings his high-energy show to the US for a series of summer dates. Along for the entire voyage has been a full package of Heil Sound microphones.
The Australian born Emmanuel, now a Nashville resident, has been playing professionally since the age of 6. Back then he performed in a family band with his brother, Phil Emmanuel, touring in station wagons driven by their father. The station wagons are long gone, but brother Phil remains an integral part of the band and the siblings marked fifty years of touring together this year. The Australian All Stars Band, a crack backing group rounds out the ensemble.
Mixing FOH is fellow Aussie native, Steve Law. No newcomer to high profile artists and tours, Steve previously mixed for Keith Urban and prior to that was involved with production for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. Long-time Tommy Emmanuel associate Brad Benge handles monitors.
The show uses a total of 30 inputs and all but a handful—keys and acoustic guitars are on DIs—take a Heil mic. The drum kit uses a combination of PR40 on kick, PR22 for snare top, PR31 on snare bottom and toms, PR 30s on overheads and a PR20 for the high hat. Guitar cabinets are mic’d with PR31s as is the bass cabinet. Vocal mics are all PR35s. And while a PR35 stands downstage center for the star, to describe it as a “vocal” mic doesn’t fully explain its use. Tommy likes to hit it with his hand, head, drumsticks, and brushes, all to incredible percussive effect. Once in a while he sings in it too.
Steve Law explains, “Tommy is a unique and dynamic guitar player but he also is a pretty good drummer. That shows when he starts hitting the microphone in what becomes a perfect simulation of a drum kit. He is old school with monitors and uses wedges, so the sound he hears coming back at him from the wedge is very important to him. As such the mic he uses is critical to his performance. The Heil PR35 has been the perfect match.”
A recent review noted, “”Tommy and the stage are one. His performance shows the experience of someone who has played and toured for decades, but he jumps around like a 20 year old punk playing like his life depends on it. If you have a chance to see him in concert, do so, you will not be disappointed.” Tommy Emmanuel’s tour continues through 2011 and into 2012 with dates in Europe and a return to the US.