Geoff Downes 1980s Keyboard rig

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OB-XaMinimoog
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Geoff Downes 1980s Keyboard rig

Post by OB-XaMinimoog » Fri Apr 26, 2013 12:06 am

Image

And I thought Rick Wakeman used a lot of Keyboards on stage at once :o

I can spot a Mellotron, a Fairlight, two Minimoogs, a Polymoog, Fender Rhodes, Yamaha CP, and thats about it.

In this video he seems to be using even more keyboards. I heard he had up to 28 at one time! :shock:

What all did Geoff use back then?


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Re: Geoff Downes 1980s Keyboard rig

Post by Z » Fri Apr 26, 2013 12:28 am

You missed Prophet 10, Solina String Ensemble, Hohner D6 clavinet. Looks like a CS80 off to the left. Tried to find a larger image online. I'm pretty sure I've got an old Keyboard magazine with a larger photo somehere.

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Re: Geoff Downes 1980s Keyboard rig

Post by OB-XaMinimoog » Fri Apr 26, 2013 1:36 am

Z wrote:You missed Prophet 10, Solina String Ensemble, Hohner D6 clavinet. Looks like a CS80 off to the left. Tried to find a larger image online. I'm pretty sure I've got an old Keyboard magazine with a larger photo somehere.
I just listed what I could see, the picture isn't the best. I wish there were some pictures of his setup in the Asian in Asian concert.

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Re: Geoff Downes 1980s Keyboard rig

Post by V301H » Fri Apr 26, 2013 5:18 am

His Hammond J122 spinet organ is visible on the left above the Rhodes. This was his first keyboard which he acquired when he was about 16 years old. In addition, he also had a Hammond B3 in his setup.
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Re: Geoff Downes 1980s Keyboard rig

Post by Micke » Fri Apr 26, 2013 8:51 pm

I believe the b&w picture above was taken during Asia's first tour back in 1982.

For that tour Geoff Downes' keyboard rig included a Yamaha CS80, Prophet 5, Hammond J-122 organ, Yamaha CP-70B electric grand, two Moog Minimoogs, Fairlight master and slave keyboards, Polymoog, Mellotron, Prophet 10, Solina String Ensemble, Clavinet D6, Rhodes electric piano, Hammond B-3 organ, and a Moog Liberation. Additionally, John Wetton was using a Moog Taurus I bass pedal unit.

Geoff subsequently replaced the Polymoog with a Memorymoog and added a PPG Wave 2.2 and a SCI remote keyboard controller for the 1983 tour.
"The (Yamaha) CS-80 is a step ahead in keyboard control, and a generation behind in digital control" -- Dan Wyman, Jan 1979

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Re: Geoff Downes 1980s Keyboard rig

Post by Bitexion » Fri Apr 26, 2013 9:36 pm

How could he possibly have time to PLAY on all those keyboards during a 1 hour concert? He's just part of the band, isn't he? Not the soloist?

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Re: Geoff Downes 1980s Keyboard rig

Post by Z » Fri Apr 26, 2013 10:32 pm

It's easier to have several keyboards set up - each with a different sound - rather than 2 or 3 keyboards and having to worry about changing patches in the middle of a song or between songs. Even in the studio, I prefer this method.

Remember, the MiniMoogs have no patch memory and one has a lead/solo sound and the other has another sound like bass or sound effect. The Solina only does strings. The D6 is just a clav. Rhodes - electric piano. CP-70 - electric grand, Mellotron has one set up tapes loaded. The only instruments he can change sounds on are the P5, P10, CMI and PolyMoog.

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Re: Geoff Downes 1980s Keyboard rig

Post by Micke » Sat Apr 27, 2013 8:20 pm

Here's a photo of Geoff Downes posing in front of his 1983/84 keyboard rig:

Image

Note the addition of the Memorymoog on the left (ontop of the CS-80), PPG Wave 2.2 (underneath the Fairlight keyboards), Prophet remote keyboard
and a Novatron (instead of the white 'Tron he used on the previous tour). Also, there appears to be a SCI poly-sequencer to the left of the P5. Out of
view to the left are the Hammond B-3, Moog liberation and a grand piano.

Geoff was among the first musicians to tour with a Fairlight back in the summer of 1980.
Last edited by Micke on Wed May 01, 2013 4:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"The (Yamaha) CS-80 is a step ahead in keyboard control, and a generation behind in digital control" -- Dan Wyman, Jan 1979

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Re: Geoff Downes 1980s Keyboard rig

Post by Bitexion » Sat Apr 27, 2013 8:56 pm

I'd hate to be stage worker for guys like Jarre, Vangelis, Downes or Eno back in the 70s and early 80s..Must be a short carreer.

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Re: Geoff Downes 1980s Keyboard rig

Post by mpa1104 » Tue Apr 30, 2013 8:27 am

Ah, how that photo brings back memories! The old Keyboard magazine article and then it's subsequent re-appearance (with many other interviews) in the "Rock Keyboard" book.
There is another photo of Downes's rig in the same interview where you can see pretty much everything up on his scaffold, including a disembodied hand that seems to be poking out from behind the curtain to adjust a setting on one of the synths (Prophet 10 maybe?) while he's over at the Yamaha piano :)
I think it was the same interview in which the interviewer made some comment about him still using the Novatron and Downes quips "Yes, it's holding up the PPG, CMI, and Minimoogs"
Someone may like to verify this, but wasn't it his 28 'board rig that earned him a Guinness Book entry for most keyboards on stage in a live performance?
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Re: Geoff Downes 1980s Keyboard rig

Post by Micke » Tue Apr 30, 2013 2:29 pm

28 keyboards seem to be a bit of an exaggeration!? I can 'only' count to 20 or 21 at the most (including the Moog taurus pedals, the Liberation
and the Prophet remote keyboard).
"The (Yamaha) CS-80 is a step ahead in keyboard control, and a generation behind in digital control" -- Dan Wyman, Jan 1979

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Re: Geoff Downes 1980s Keyboard rig

Post by V301H » Tue Apr 30, 2013 4:34 pm

In 1982 Asia had some major concerts booked in Japan. John Wetton had left the band shortly before. Rather than cancel the lucrative shows they were able to get Carl's friend Greg to fill-in at the last minute. Geoff Downes was somehow able to ship all his keyboards to Japan, a feat that would be impossible today:

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Re: Geoff Downes 1980s Keyboard rig

Post by Bitexion » Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:19 pm

One can wonder how Jean-Michel Jarre managed to ship over a metric ton of gear to China in 1981 aswell as transpart it between several cities.

But these rock star keyboard rigs were kind of ridiculous, as if only to show off that the band made lots of money.
Specially when they usually played a few Hammond solos, and some monosynth noodling here and there. You wouldn't NEED 20 synths for that. The keyboardist was a part of the band, not the sole focus of the concert like Wakeman or Jarre.

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Re: Geoff Downes 1980s Keyboard rig

Post by mpa1104 » Wed May 01, 2013 8:01 am

Image
Found it. It was a bit tricky to scan and I had to merge two sides of the pic as it stretched across the spine of the book (I've also marked the rogue hand on the Prophet FYI).

Ah yes, and:
http://pop-break.com/2011/09/08/intervi ... es-of-yes/
http://www.vintagerock.com/index.php?op ... s&Itemid=4
These two interviews mention his 28 keyboard setup (clearly not this one above) - apparently it was for an Asia in Japan gig.
I'd be curious to know how the double-manual instruments were counted. Given the presence of the Hammond J and B organs and the Prophet 10, it may have really only been 25 actual instruments appearing as 28 "keyboards" (either way, it's still too bloody many! :D ).
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Re: Geoff Downes 1980s Keyboard rig

Post by madtheory » Wed May 01, 2013 9:52 am

Brilliant!

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