Geoff Downes 1980s Keyboard rig

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Re: Geoff Downes 1980s Keyboard rig

Post by Micke » Wed May 01, 2013 6:09 pm

I'm pretty sure that each double-manual instrument was counted as 2 keyboards and that the Taurus pedals and Grand piano were included
in the total number of keyboards.

In the Live in Japan clip posted above I spotted at least two keyboards that I haven't managed to identify due to the grainy picture quality. The first
one is sitting on a stand to the left of the Prophet 5 but placed at a higher level than the other keyboards (Geoff plays it once with his left hand towards
the end of the concert). The other one is located at the opposite side of the stage (the right side), sitting ontop of the Hammond B-3.
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Re: Geoff Downes 1980s Keyboard rig

Post by Henfield » Mon May 20, 2013 1:04 am

OB-XaMinimoog wrote: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?
I remember seeing Asia on that first tour and marveling at Geoff's rig. I also stayed up late to see the "Asia in Asia" concert live on MTV (back when they actually played music!). I aquired a Videocassette of the "Asia in Asia" performance along the way as well. I also saw the reformed Asia a couple of years ago, and his rig has shrunk, considerably!

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Re: Geoff Downes 1980s Keyboard rig

Post by tim gueguen » Mon May 20, 2013 3:19 am

I would imagine their touring budget has as well.
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Re: Geoff Downes 1980s Keyboard rig

Post by mpa1104 » Wed May 22, 2013 1:00 am

I saw the Asia Fantasia DVD a few years back and Downes's rig was basically all new Roland gear for that show (and I'm suspicious that he might not have had enough time with them for programming because some of the sounds were a bit "preset-ish" and cheesy for my ears - and they shouldn't have been with those boards, especially the V-synth!)
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Re: Geoff Downes 1980s Keyboard rig

Post by ronP » Wed May 22, 2013 1:49 am

Micke wrote:I'm pretty sure that each double-manual instrument was counted as 2 keyboards and that the Taurus pedals and Grand piano were included
in the total number of keyboards.

In the Live in Japan clip posted above I spotted at least two keyboards that I haven't managed to identify due to the grainy picture quality. The first
one is sitting on a stand to the left of the Prophet 5 but placed at a higher level than the other keyboards (Geoff plays it once with his left hand towards
the end of the concert). The other one is located at the opposite side of the stage (the right side), sitting ontop of the Hammond B-3.
.


One of those two is a KORG Polysix. I know because I had just purchased mine and was excited to see him mention (and use) one. I believe it was in Keyboard where I read he had added a Polysix to that mountain, or else it was in the video bio that preceded the gig in Japan.


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Re: Geoff Downes 1980s Keyboard rig

Post by tim gueguen » Wed May 22, 2013 3:49 pm

It would be interesting to know what Downes had planned for a rig for the tour supporting Asia's third album, Astra. The video for the single from the album, "Go," shows him playing a dual manual Fairlight CMI III and a Synclavier, and there's what looks to be a Korg RK 100 on a stand next to him. Unfortunately for Asia the tour was cancelled due to poor ticket sales.
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Re: Geoff Downes 1980s Keyboard rig

Post by walkathon » Wed May 22, 2013 7:40 pm

Bitexion wrote: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?
Heh, watch the Asia in Asia show someday ... Downes runs around more than Steve Prefontaine during the show ... simultaneously hilarious and uberawesome.

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Re: Geoff Downes 1980s Keyboard rig

Post by iainnitro » Thu Aug 08, 2013 5:30 pm

Geoff Downes is definitely very talented and I have been a fan since The Buggles. The original video (the one that launched MTV) shows him playing two keyboards at once on either side of him. As a teenager, I thought this was impressive.

I do agree with the performance standard of having several keyboards setup before the show so you can just have the settings you need all ready to go. Especially on older gear that has no formal memory.

Downes is one of my inspirations for even wanting to be a keyboardist. I grew up in a place where it was considered uncool to play anything but electric guitar. While I acknowledge that the guitar is very important to rock music, I feel the keyboards are at least equally important.

Plus, the whole reason for me to love synthesizers is that you are not stuck with one voice (sound) like other musical instruments... you can change them at your whim.

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Re: Geoff Downes 1980s Keyboard rig

Post by synthroom » Fri Aug 09, 2013 4:19 am

iainnitro wrote: I grew up in a place where it was considered uncool to play anything but electric guitar.
I grew up there. It's known as the United States...
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Re: Geoff Downes 1980s Keyboard rig

Post by redchapterjubilee » Fri Aug 09, 2013 2:27 pm

synthroom wrote:
iainnitro wrote: I grew up in a place where it was considered uncool to play anything but electric guitar.
I grew up there. It's known as the United States...
:lol:
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Re: Geoff Downes 1980s Keyboard rig

Post by SynthatticCA » Fri Feb 05, 2016 12:05 pm

While these rigs were huge, they were something to behold. If you watch Downes perform on this rig, you'd see that there isn't a terrible amount of coordination involved with changing sounds, etc. some synths he barely touches live. I think he played a few notes in the PPG on one song and that was it. The D6 was never used. (Ref Asia in Asia video).
The only synths that required patch changes were the P5/P10, fairlight, PPG, and Memorymoog.
I really like these big rigs, but they are so not needed anymore. This rig he had was all pre-midi and before the workstation and DAW came to be. Only digital synths he has there are the fairlight and PPG. The rest is analog and organic. Very sexy.

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Re: Geoff Downes 1980s Keyboard rig

Post by cornutt » Fri Feb 12, 2016 9:25 pm

Yeah, typically these days, if someone had that much gear, it would be a few keyboards and a bunch of rackmounts. Although you wouldn't need that much gear today, because you don't have a bunch of the single-purpose or limited-timbres keyboards like the CP80 or the D6 or the Mellotron.

I will mention that for the first tour, there were at least two other synths on stage. When they did the long version of "Midnight Sun" (sadly never recorded, but there are a few bootleg live recordings to be found on Youtube), at the start of the song, all four band members were on keyboards. Wetton had something in front of him, maybe a Multimoog, that he played the bass part on. Palmer had a Mini behind his drum kit that he used to make "sss-sss-sss" noise sounds. IIRC Howe was up at the keyboard rig with Downes; I don't know which parts he played.
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Re: Geoff Downes 1980s Keyboard rig

Post by Bitexion » Sat Feb 13, 2016 9:38 pm

I wonder if they hired the local bodybuilder's guild to carry all that gear into venues. Can you imagine having to lug not one, but TWO CS-80s around if you worked for Vangelis?

Then the guitarist prances in with his guitar in one hand, done.

It was kind of odd when you look at it now. The guitarist and bassist put up a couple of amps and a couple guitars. The drummer had his rig. Lead singer had a tambourine and his mic.

Then over in the keyboardists corner it looked like an entire science lab had been set up for the night.

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Re: Geoff Downes 1980s Keyboard rig

Post by Musicnow1 » Tue Feb 16, 2016 6:48 pm

There were indeed 28 keyboards on the split-level stage. Downes however, never could quite get from one end of them to the other in time. Therefore, it was deemed necessary to employ 'two' additional keyboard players, who were installed under, or backstage, depending on the venue. They were fed video links from cameras installed on the front lighting truss, and each had audio feeds from the monitor mixer sidestage.

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