The Eagles, Rod Stewart, and Electronics

The Eagles, Rod Stewart, and Electronics

Last month my wife and I treated ourselves to a trip to Las Vegas for our anniversary.  What prompted this trip was that both of us had “An Eagles concert” on our bucket lists.  So on November 5th we attended our Eagles concert at the MGM Grand.  And it met all of our expectations.  One more item crossed off the list.

It just so happened that we discovered that another favorite of ours, Rod Stewart, was at Caesar’s Palace the next night.  Ticket prices were awfully high but we bought them anyway.  And, wow, what a great show.

It is not often that we get to see two “Las Vegas Quality” shows in one trip.  Both were large shows with audiences in the thousands.  Living in Austin, Texas, the “Live Music Capitol of the World”, we are used to live music as practically all restaurants and bars have some kind of a band or music act.  But not like what we saw in Vegas.  These were BIG shows.  And it got me to thinking what a large role electronics plays in delivering such shows.

Take the sound system for example.  I had to wonder how many speakers were involved and what kind of amplifier system was used in an auditorium that size.  A big-time installation and very widely distributed.  Lots of unseen wiring there.  And then there are all the microphones, guitar pick-ups, electronic keyboards, and other sound related items on stage.  Someone then has to mix and adjust the volume, etc. on all that hardware.  A big production for sure.  A highly visible mixing station manned by two long-haired guys in the middle of the audience at the Eagles concert was the sound command post.  None was visible at the Rod Stewart concert but had to be there.

While sound and music is what you go to these concerts for, I was really surprised by the sophisticated accompanying light shows.  Again, totally electronic affairs.  Colored spots, and a mix of lights flashing, rotating, changing colors and other effects.  All coordinated to the music.  Another major production.  I saw six guys in the upper stage grid works at the Eagles concert operating the lights.  None were visible at the Rod Stewart event but again had to be somewhere.

Finally, both shows used humongous video screens like the “jumbo trons” at major sports stadiums.  Very high res and bright.  A big buck investment.

I think the light show surprised me in its extent and complexity.  I went to the website of a major entertainment lighting company High End Systems here in Austin to see what equipment was involved.  Lots of different kinds of lights, interfaces, controllers, programmers, and other stuff.  Expensive, but just part of any big show these days.  Take a look.

Anyway, if you have never been to a major Las Vegas concert, it is worth the expense, in my opinion.  Both the Eagles and Rod Stewart put on great shows.  Not bad for a bunch of old guys who peaked in the 1970s and 1980s.  Maybe even better today than in olden times thanks to the electronic sound and lights.

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