Music Music Mix Mobile uses Waves plug-ins for Billy Joel's 'Last Play at Shea'
(Dave Molter | Posted 2010-06-14)
When Billy Joel sang the swan song for legendary Shea Stadium over the course of two nights in Queens, New York, in July 2008, everyone knew it was going to be more than just another concert. Joel was joined on stage by artists including Steven Tyler, Garth Brooks, Tony Bennett, Roger Daltrey and, for the finale, Paul McCartney, who recalled the Beatles historic 1965 concert at Shea when he told Joel, “Came here a long time ago. We had a blast that night and we're having another one tonight.” Recently the event was screened as a concert documentary at New York’s Tribeca Film Festival, to much acclaim, and producers are gearing up for a wider release later this year.
The concert was the first major project for Music Mix Mobile’s then-brand new M3 remote recording truck, which was on the scene to capture the evening’s magic, with award-winning Mixer Jay Vicari using processing by Waves’ renowned plugins, including the SSL 4000 Collection, V-Series , and Renaissance Maxx bundles.
Joel Singer, Music Mix Moble co-founder and Assistant Engineer on the project, recalls that the Waves plugins were used extensively in the tracking of the show and the initial two-track mix that accompanied the first video line cut of the shows. “About 90 percent of the processing we used was Waves,” he says.
It wasn’t until over a year later that the concept of a film began to be discussed in earnest. M3’s recordings would be crucial to the film’s sound. Singer notes, “Brian Ruggles, long-time associate of Billy Joel and the audio producer for the movie, contacted us and said ‘We love the way this sounded to begin with, so we want Jay [Vicari] to mix it.’ So we then opened up the original Shea sessions we had done in the truck and started working on them again.” In the intervening time, M3 had added the Waves Mercury bundle as well, greatly streamlining the work. “With the Mercury bundle, it became a much easier task for us to solve some ambient problems from the live shows and also make this thing sound even better,” says Singer.
The post-production work was done at the Music Mix’s studio in Wayne, New Jersey. During the editing phase, Waves plugins proved to be once again invaluable. Vicari and Singer used Waves Tune to gently touch-up a few background vocals. “Then there were some issues where there was a low-level hum on one of the bass lines,” he remembers. “So what we did was we took Waves X-Noise, and we used a sample of when there was no bass playing, and then basically we were able to dial it in and remove that noise in the signal as we were mixing, which was great – that proved a life-saver. Then we applied H-Delay, which is reminiscent of some really old, nice analog delays, and we started using that on different delay parts that we needed for songs and that became another useful tool for us, in addition to the SSL 4000 Collection and the V-Series. Another plugin that proved invaluable was the Surround Edition of the Waves Dorrough Meter Collection, so that we could see signal and we could keep everything in a relative ballpark – no pun intended – of where we needed to be. As we went along, it became more and more apparent that Waves is pretty much a complete go-to package – it sounds great and you have some real flexibility in all of it.”
Vicari ultimately took the fifteen 5.1 mix stems they had created in the Music Mix studio in New Jersey with Ruggles to Los Angeles, where they were able to tweak them, and ultimately they became the surround soundtrack for the film. “By the time it was all said and done, everyone was thrilled and very happy with the way it sounded and the way it came out. We had great tracks from the live shows to start from, which were the ‘rough’ 5.1 mixes done from those two nights – and Waves was an intricate part from beginning to end,” says Singer.
For more information, please visit www.musicmixmobile.com and www.waves.com.
From a press release.