Wall of empty cabs, mic'd combo?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by JimmyJam, Aug 2, 2009.

  1. JimmyJam

    JimmyJam Tele-Afflicted

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    I forget where I heard this story, but it go's something like this:

    A guitarist (major rock band) played a stadium with a huge wall of empty speaker cabs, but was really using a mic'd combo.
    Can anyone identify what show this was?

    Another question I have is:
    Is this a common thing:?:
     
  2. studio1087

    studio1087 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Kiss did that for years. The walls of Marshall cabs were empty cabs. The guys who ran the follow spots had to be careful because the follow spots would shine into the back of empty cabs.

    My son is 11 and I took him to see Kiss at Summerfest about one month ago. The amps were fake bunkers that held flame throwers and fireworks launchers. It was very obvious that the whole fake back line was designed for the fireworks. It was like an artillery launcher.

    From my Flip Cam....



    I think the Eddie VanHalen was another one. I've read stories about Ed playing (for real) with one 2 x 12 or one 4 x 12 and the rest is silly window dressing.

    I think it's pretty common.

    I don't think Ed is really plugged into a dozen 4 x 12 cabs.....

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Jakester93

    Jakester93 Tele-Meister

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    I'm pretty sure Neil Young did that as well.
     
  4. marshman

    marshman Friend of Leo's

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    Yeah, I actually knew an old sound engineer worked for Kiss, the first tour w/o the makeup, said the walls of Ampegs were completely empty except for the jewel lamps.
     
  5. Biz Prof

    Biz Prof Tele-Meister

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    The de facto standard!!!!

    Well, back in '80s through the early '90s, it was the de facto standard for most rock/metal bands. I remember a few in particular:

    George Lynch: Had 8 Marshall dummy heads and dummy cabs covered in snakeskin vinyl. Only the rocker switches were electrified. He actually used three old Marshall heads and a couple of old cabs...behind the backline.

    Mick Mars: Had over 30 dummy Marshall heads on stage, all with working rocker lamps. He had a similar setup to Lynch.

    EVH: On their mos recent tour, he had, I think, 16 cabs and heads, all dummies. He admitted in an interview that he had a couple of heads and cabs behind the backline that made up his real rig.

    One refreshing departure from the '80s norm: Mark Kendall of Great White used to tour with a single Boogie Mark IV combo, set on......a chair! A great player with a realistic rig!
     
  6. Buckocaster51

    Buckocaster51 Super Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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    I don't think it is common until you are successful enough to be able to pay somebody ELSE to move them...

    if you know what I mean...

    :)
     
  7. RedDirt

    RedDirt Tele-Meister

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    Empty cabs have been around for a long long time, and the trend has just grown. If you can mike it and throw it out front, why would you have it behind you? Problem is, it looks silly to have nothing but some combos on stage, especially if you are hard rock or metal. (plus we all are gear nuts deep on our hearts).
     
  8. Dave_O

    Dave_O Friend of Leo's

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    When I was a young'un in my first "proper" band, I went to see the Beach Boys with the singer (from my band), who worked at the major PA hire co in Perth. We got to the venue (the old Perth Ent Cent, held about 16,000) about 4.30 in the PM, and he was showing me their stage rig- all Ampegs, all painted white. And behind them?.... Fender Twins (can't recall if BF or SF) with mics on them. I was amazed.

    And I remember an old (mid 80's) interview with Rick Nielson, who had 3 full Marshall stacks behind him onstage- only they weren't. 1 had a 50 watt Marshall head, one had a Fender head in a Marshall head cab, and the other had (I think) a Boogie head in a Marshall head cab. Only the top 4x12's worked, the bottom ones had lights in them. But the top quads were mic'ed, so he gets a few points:D

    But like BuckoCaster says, you ain't gonna get a wall of full-stacks in no stinking hatchback....
     
  9. podboy3

    podboy3 Tele-Afflicted

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    I like the honest artist, I like to go to a Gov't Mule show and see his Soldano sitting on top of a 4x12 cab and also a couple other little amps that are hooked up to 2x12 cabs, and have even seen him drag out a 2x12 combo amp...... It's not ego and flash, it's just an honest approach to the music, and show and no Richard Measuring contest.

    I've seen Tom Morrello play with two JCM-800 heads with each one on a 4x12 cabinet..... I could have sworn he was using an A/B switch but for that show I was not close enough to see what he was fiddling with.

    Nine Inch Nails, I don't think you would even see an amp on stage of quite a few years and I have heard he runs into his effect and direct to the board.... I am not sure on that though.

    I would rather see the one stack, half stack, and even a couple of combos but I think because I play and am really into the gear that it matters more to me to actually see what is getting played instead of what someone is getting paid to endorse.
     
  10. surfoverb

    surfoverb Doctor of Teleocity

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    Tom Petty
     
  11. Ben Harmless

    Ben Harmless Friend of Leo's

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    They came to my town in the late '90s to play a benefit for a local high school music teacher who was killed by a drunk driver. I still have dark spots in my vision from those damn lights! :lol:

    As a side note, all my friends went to that high school, and the school's orchestra opened the show, with a good friend of mine playing bass, so technically, she got to open for Cheap Trick. :!:
     
  12. JCSouthpawtele

    JCSouthpawtele Friend of Leo's

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    I worked at Randall amplifiers in 96' and we made loaded and empty cabs and heads for the Kiss tour. Complete with working jewel lights. The silver dust cap "speakers" were felt cones glued to cardboard backs. Made lighter with no bracing inside. Behind his wall was a rack with JMP Marshall Preamp and Mesa Poweramp as well as other gear I can't remember, and one mic on the Randall loaded cab.
    Look for an old Guitar World magazine and look for the back cover Marshall Ampifiers advertisement and you will see only one mic on the bottom left 4-12" cab. Look closely at the jewel lights.
    It wasn't long after that Paul Stanley left Ibanez to go to Washburn guitars, So He also went to Randall amplifiers as they were both Washburn International companies along with Soundtech PA gear.
    While Ace stayed with a Marshall backline as seen in the advert.
    I pulled out a november 1998 Guitar World to make sure I was correct.

    I went to the Chicago show on that tour and could not help but notice how even the corprate people were oblivious to the fact that what was in the Rack was not there gear. Or maybe they just saw dollor signs in the empty cabs. I didn't get to meet the guys in Kiss just got shuffled through the backstage tour.
     
  13. jhundt

    jhundt Doctor of Teleocity

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    The Plasmatics used to have imitation 4x12 cabinets that were designed to fall apart easy - at the end of the show Wendy O would attack them with a chain saw....
     
  14. TG

    TG Doctor of Teleocity

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    I think it's Brian May you heard about. I vaguely remember reading an interview where he described it. A wall of cabinets onstage at the big Queen concerts with his miced AC30s behind them. He didn't think he'd be taken seriously if it were just the Voxes onstage...and he's probably right. At the time, if you were taller than your amplifier you weren't cool.

    Incidentally, this is one reason to respect Neil Young and Rory Gallagher. They both just used good-sounding combos right through the 70s and 80s without worrying about 'image'.
     
  15. AngelStrummer

    AngelStrummer Friend of Leo's

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    Billy Gibbons as well, I believe...
     
  16. octatonic

    octatonic Poster Extraordinaire

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    Very common for stadium bands.
    A 100 watt amplifier is very loud- if you are using more than 2-3 amps at once it is difficult to control.

    Alex Lifeson uses the onstage cabs for foldback only- the FOH signal is actually a pair of isolated cabs inside a perspex or ply box with mics stuck on the front of them.

    FWIW A lower wattage combo will give a more 'blow out', fuller sound.
    High wattage amps (100w plus) are great for clean headroom rather than a 'bigger sound'.
    For my money a small wattage combo run on 10 will always sound bigger than a 100w amp on 2.

    Modern channel switching, cascading gain stage, master volume amps try to do both.
    Some work well (Bogner, Diezel, some Boogies) some not so successfully.
     
  17. jjkrause84

    jjkrause84 Poster Extraordinaire

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    [​IMG]


    But aren't they so pretty!?
     
  18. TG

    TG Doctor of Teleocity

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    Yes, we think so now. But 40 years ago a photo like that would've lost him respect from quite a few fans....stupid as it may seem to us now.
     
  19. al3151

    al3151 TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

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    I believe the first time I heard that story,was about "Heart".They had walls of 4x12s behind them but the sound was from mic'ed combos.
     
  20. surfoverb

    surfoverb Doctor of Teleocity

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    Funny how one can care so much about vanity when it comes to amps but then dresses like that! Oh my
     
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