SSE Hire provide PA for a tribute gig to former Rolling Stones Keyboard player Ian Stewart - the ‘6th Stone’, who died in 1985.
The gig at Covent Garden’s Ambassador theatre paid tribute to Ian Stewart in an evening led by Ben Waters’ ABCD Of Boogie Woogie band featuring Jools Holland and a handful of current and former Stones. Guitarist Mick Taylor, who served between 1969 and 1974 played alongside Ronnie Wood , Charlie Watts and ex-Stone bassist Bill Wyman.
Other guests included Mick Hucknall and Shakin’ Stevens.
This very special evening was a prelude to the release of an Album ‘Boogie for Stu’ later this month (April 2011). Bill Wyman rejoined Mick, Keith and Charlie to produce this 11-track album, masterminded by Ben Waters.
Photos Courtesy of Matt Crockett
The job of reproducing the Stone’s rock n roll sound in the intimate surroundings of the the Ambassador Theatre was given to Gareth Owen, a sound designer with considerable experience of Rock n Roll in the theatrical environment.
While Owen’s sound design experience centres on the musical theatre (with a Tony nomination for A Little Night Music on Broadway), his Rock n Roll CV includes mixing Ronnie Wood all over the world. Earlier this year he did a gig with Ronnie at the Ambassadors so used that as the starting point for Boogie 4 Stu.
Owen used his regular system Tech, Chris Mace, together with SSE Audio Group’s VDOSC tech, Steve Mottram and Crew members, Will Jackson and Andi Johnson. Andy Yates did monitors this time round and Russell Godwin handled recording.
The PA used was similar to Ronnie Wood’s earlier show, with SSE’s Miles Hillyard persuading Gareth to change his previous six L-Acoustics dv-DOSC and two SB218 subs per side in the stalls to six L-Acoustics Kara with three Kara Subs per side. The upper circle configuration of two Kilo subs and six KIVA boxes per side remained the same.
“It worked very well last time” said Owen “but the Kara represents another huge leap forward.”
For those unfamiliar with Ian Stewart’s role in the Stones, he founded the band with Brian Jones in 1962, but got the chop a year later because - according to Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham - his looks didn’t fit the band’s image.
But stewart remained on board as their road manager and pianist on recordings until his death. He played on every album from 1964 to 1983 except Beggars Banquet. By all accounts he played boogie woogie like a demon: “he blew my head off when I first heard him” said Keith Richards. Jimmy Page said “he was without doubt one of the finest, if not the best, blues pianist in England.”
A quarter-century after Ian Stewart’s death, Boogie 4 Stu (the title is inspired by a track on Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti, on which Stewart played) will see Wyman rejoin the Stones in homage to their old friend. The album is the brainchild of Ben Waters, a modern boogie-woogie star who is currently touring Europe with Charlie Watts under the name The ABC&D of Boogie-Woogie (Ben is the B, Charlie's the C, the A is Axel Zwingenberger and D is Dave Green).
Released on 4th April 2011 (Ref. GP)