Out of my brain on a train.
One of the most potent songs in the Quadrophenia canon, Roger Daltrey delivered '5:15' with such power and emotion that even the broadsheets commented on the sound, "It was tight and driven but on a fantastic version of '5.15' it suddenly opened up," Daily Telegraph's Neil McCormick on 31st March. Performances such as this underline how in its tenth year Daltrey's Teenage Cancer Trust (TCT) shows are acquiring legendary status.
Daltrey has built his show with shrewed understanding of the concert audience and changing tastes. "A fairly resounding success, and really civilised having a comedy night and a couple of bands a day for a nine-day festival," observed Liam Halpin, Entec's Audio Technical Manager and crew chief after the event. Sound may not be everything but as Francis Rossi so succinctly observed, "They don't come to hear the lights" and that's a maxim Halpin has taken to heart.
"I've been collaborating with Entec, putting sound systems into the Royal Albert Hall, for twelve years now, and there have been minor tweaks each time. We're now settled on a main system design; a d&b J-Series line array, with Q-Series loudspeakers as front fills. Several C-Series loudspeakers with B2 and J subwoofers, plus various fills in the form of E-Series loudspeakers cover the front row and around the choir stalls. In fact for the Who's Quadrophenia performance we put in a surround system comprising loudspeakers from the T-Series. This meant we ended up using loudspeakers from every Series in the current d&b product range including monitor cabinets. Yes, surround sound in a round building!"
Audiences were treated to the sounds of seaside waves rolling around the hallowed halls, and scooters zooming through the stalls, but what did the visiting front of house engineers think to it all? "Everyone was more than happy. In fact I was flattered to receive quite a serious compliment from one of them", said Halpin, "and a man I consider one of the best in the business (I wont embarrass him by naming him). What makes such a thing possible is having a system that can be all things to all men, without compromise to any standard. Good for speech, good for rock, good for pop, it does it all and does it very well. Like I said, everyone was happy."
There's no doubt Daltrey is a great champion for his TCT charitable cause; for a rock star of a certain age it drives his personal momentum, but Daltrey has other drivers to his youthful vigour, and they're rooted in his heritage. "Lots of walking and even more sha****".
Photographs courtesy of Liam Halpin