Lizzo has made her mark on the music industry: her chart-topping “Truth Hurts” was at the number-one position on the Billboard Hot 100 for seven weeks in 2019, while the music video for the song has currently amassed more than 110 million views on YouTube. Completing her music-industry conquest, Lizzo’s Cuz I Love You Too Tour has sold out all of its shows since it began this past April, with some venues demanding additional performances. All of these shows were mixed via two DiGiCo SD12 96 consoles at the front-of-house and monitor positions, provided by Clair Global, which is also the SR provider for the tour. Brandon Blackwell helmed Lizzo’s FOH console while Loreen Bohannon handled her monitor duties.
“I started with Lizzo in late May of this year when her tour was in between legs, but since then we have been super busy, doing just over 90 shows in the past six months,” said Blackwell, who has toured the world with artists including Camila Cabello, A$AP Rocky, and Big Sean, and last year was named as one of Live Design magazine’s “30 Under 30” professionals to watch. “For this tour, I specified a DiGiCo SD12 96 for FOH. I have been on a SD12 the entire year with my other clients, but I was super excited for the new update to 96 inputs and 48 busses. With the extra I/O, I was able to add some extra key FX sends and returns, and also more parallel groups to my mix.
“As usual, I have paired my DiGiCo console with a Waves SoundGrid setup. While Waves is taking care of processing my vocals, subgroups and EFX, most of my heavy lifting of processing the playback tracks is being taken care of onboard the console," he added. "For each playback channel, I am using the dynamic EQ and multiband compressors to shape my mix. Snapshots are a big part of my mixing, so I really enjoy having all of these settings change when I hit ‘next.’”
Blackwell said that having the same consoles at FOH and monitorworld has made the tour’s workflow vastly simpler and more efficient. “I’m a big believer of cutting out the traditional analog splitter, and this tour has followed suit. Both of our consoles and the stage rack are on a fiber loop, and all of our inputs go directly into the SD-Rack, which has six new 32-bit Mic Pre-amp cards and one AES/EBU input card. With this setup, we have taken full advantage of those features that are unlocked when using an Optocore loop. Loreen has control over the gains, and I use the digital trim with gain tracking engaged. We also use the Con Send and Receive feature to move key audio sources between both desks. And since the crowds can get up to 115 dBA at FOH, we rely on the chat feature a lot. It has to be one of my favorite management features of the DiGiCo platform.”
Monitor engineer Bohannon, who began with Lizzo in April ahead of her Coachella appearance, is also a dedicated DiGiCo fan, having been out previously with SD10 and SD12 desks with Michael Bolton. Bohannon’s Lizzo stint began with a compact SD11, a perfect fit for the smaller rooms on the tour’s early dates, and it also came with DiGiCo’s support.
"DiGiCo was absolutely crucial to my success on that tour, always being available for me when I ran into a tech issue,” she recalled. “They always had it quickly resolved and provided excellent support, which is critical when you are the only audio tech on the tour.”
As Lizzo’s popularity grew, so did the shows. “The SD12 was already my favorite console from my Bolton days, and I was more than excited to add this to our gear and get the new software update to 96 input channels!” Bohannon concluded.