Tonight I re-learned the same lesson I've learned a hundred times. What I don't understand is how touring companies or promotion houses can even justify the concept that somehow their touring engineer is going to do a better job in a room that the in-house engineer operates every other night of the week.
Naturally I understand that the engineer knows the artist better - their sound, their expectations, their songs, their set, the effects they use and when, the samples they need to trigger etc, however, that isn't a reason for them to actually operate in the venue.
We have decided to trial a new approach, having been "burnt" time and again at the venue. Our new trial policy is that the touring engineer will oversee, advise, do things like set up the effects and perhaps operate them, set up and maybe operate sample triggering, backing tracks and all the things that only someone close to the band will know, but the actual sound in the room will be handled by the in-house engineer / production manager.
Tonight we had yet another experience of a touring engineer introducing feedback, harsh and brittle sounds, and only the artist and the venue - mostly the venue - is negatively affected by this. The reputation of the venue was compromised due to the touring engineer not being able to control the sound in the room. Of course the in-house engineer is going to do a better job.
I mean, feedback?? That's 101 schoolboy error stuff right there - yes, it happens from time to time, perhaps once every 3 months or so, but tonight was ridiculous. The feedback, which admittedly was subtle, carried on for over 20 minutes. I could have fixed it in 30 seconds, and in the end I was forced to intervene and tell the touring engineer which instrument and frequency was causing it.
I'll keep you posted as to how this new approach goes!