Earth, Wind & Fire (EWF) has been around for four decades, so there’s not a lot the band “needs” in terms of tools to tweak their sound. But the band members say life has been easier, and their performances better, since they started using BEHRINGER POWERPLAY P16 personal monitors.
 

“The P16s have changed the way the band plays,” said Front of House Engineer, Terry “TJ” Jackson. “The band is now tighter than ever – because they can hear each other so much better.”

Jackson and the band members spoke with BEHRINGER after a concert at the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado, the 17th stop on their 26-date tour supporting their recent studio release, Now, Then and Forever.
The band is being praised in many circles for sounding fresh and up-to-date on this new recording.
And EWF’s willingness to try new things is evident with their application of state-of-the-art technologies,
such as the P16.

 
 
 
 
Jackson says using the P16 was a revelation. Featuring multiple percussionists, horns and vocalists, EWF used to generate a lot of stage volume, which made it hard for sound engineers to give each artist the personal monitoring mix they wanted. It also had been difficult for lighting and special effects techs to recognize cueing events. The deployment of a few P16-Ms instantly, and noticeably, improved the quality of EWF’s live shows.
 
“The stage volume is way down – and that’s very important,” Jackson said. “Everybody needs to hear what’s going on. That was one thing that we didn’t realize until we started using them.” Drummer John Paris was initially a little intimidated to add yet another piece of gear to learn, until he saw how simple it was to use
the P16. “We started using it in rehearsal and I was ‘yeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaah – here we go!’” he said. “If I need a little more rhythm guitar, or whatever’s a lead feature I like to play with… Bam, it’s just one little click away. It’s the coolest thing. So yeah, I’m in love with it.”
 
 
  For G-Moe (as Gregory Moore’s fans know him), that means not having to repeatedly ask the monitor tech to tweak his mix. Now he can focus on job 1 – playing his guitar!
“I would say they hit it on the spot… It’s just a common-sense piece of gear. It helps you get exactly what you want, as far as your mix.” Saxophonist, Gary Bias also appreciates how easy the P16 is to use, stating, “When you can hear everything clearly, it’s just much easier to perform.” EWF puts on a powerfully dynamic show, and the songs are often driven by a bouncing backbeat, punctuated by bursts from horns – all of which the artists have to account for. Bias says the P16 helps provide balance, “You’re not overblowing… sometimes you may underplay, if your monitor mix is too loud; you think you’re too loud, it’s just the monitor mix. So, you set the sensitivity on every channel closer to where you need it.”
 
 
Sound Tech Terrence Chism was skeptical when he heard they were going to try the P16s. “At first I wasn’t for them. But once we implemented them [P16]… it actually became pretty cool.” When you’ve got 14 people in a band, it’s nearly impossible to please everyone, but that’s just what seems to have happened. The P16-M units allow each artist to group and store various inputs and recall settings.
So once the performers have their individual P16s set up the way they like them, they virtually never have to touch them again. And neither does Chism, “I don’t have to worry about those guys – I just gotta focus on my front line.” Chism also said the P16’s sound great and are much more durable than he expected. “I like that you can mute certain channels and not have to mute the whole mix… Yeah, it’s a great unit. Earth, Wind & Fire will be touring into November – and thanks to the BEHRINGER POWERPLAY P16 Personal Monitoring System at their side, the funky, soul-driven EWF juggernaut has never sounded better!”