Sunday, February 5, 2012

Chris Smither – 12 minutes to Show Time

Folks ask me, from time to time, what doing the sound for a WUMB Member Concert is like.

This is what I do, and it's like this every time. . . the delicious run-up to a Members' Concert.

This time, it started about 6 weeks ago when I was told the date, the time and the artist, Chris Smither!. As the event approaches, my anticipation mounts as I review Chris' CD releases, and remember the last time I worked with him a decade ago. With a week to go now, it's constantly on my mind; which songs will he do in my “private show” -- the sound check at ?

By the day of the show, I'll be numbed by the excitement, and hardly notice the hard work of gathering all of the equipment, lugging it across the UMass Boston campus to the auditorium, setting it all up and fixing the technical bugs, working shoulder-to-shoulder with my great team of helpers.

Then it will all happen too fast – “Hi, Chris, great to see you again!...guitar sounds a little muddy, OK how's this?...a little less vocal in the monitor, you got it”

12 minutes to show time - audience enters, they're as psyched as me - lights dim, raffle, first song, first Q & A, second & third songs,


What just happened?

Awash in endorphins, we take all the equipment apart, load it up, roll it back to the radio station and put it all away. Handshakes and congratulations all around as my team assures me they won't miss helping out on the next one. Then the drive home, and the first listen to the broadcast recording.

This is what I do. And I can't think of anything better.

- Grady Moates

P.S. The photo above was taken at the Member Concert we did with Red Molly, in the same auditorium that we'll be using for the Chris Smither show this week. The green arrow points to me, and where I typically set up and engineer the sound for these concerts.

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