Bob Luna doesn’t drop names but he easily could, given his credits. Part keyboardist, part composer/arranger, part conductor, Luna has lent his many talents to Dionne Warwick, Paul McCartney, Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks, Deniece Williams, Smokey Robinson, Alanis Morissette, Paul Simon, Bobby Kimball (Toto), films, commercials, and more. Luna has built a reputation for shouldering the foundation of a show with his many talents, including his skill in creating dense orchestral and instrumental textures in live performance.
Luna’s wizardry has never come easy. With Warwick, whose music frequently called for orchestral instrumentation, Luna used four keyboards to emulate an orchestra and ran out of room on the keyboards, forcing him to trigger sounds from non-diatonic notes that were not otherwise being used in a song. As technology advanced, he migrated to employing a DAW onstage, in which he would activate a corresponding track group for each tune. But no solution he tried satisfied him. “None of them were reliable,” complains Luna. “With the DAW, I always ran into memory problems. The System Overload prompt constantly appeared, sometimes in the middle of a set.” A popular plug-in host completely crashed during a rehearsal with Deniece Williams, leaving Luna only the sounds residing in his keyboards. He never used that program again.
“Deskew Technologies Gig Performer totally changed everything,” Luna proclaims. “Not having all of the tools I needed was always a problem on the road. Even when I had the tools, sometimes they would be in different places or different software; it was hard to locate everything. Gig Performer makes things so much easier; everything is there, and I can get to anything I need. It’s a godsend.”
Not only does Gig Performer streamline getting to the items he needs, it also enables Luna to connect them however he wants. “I really like the routing,” he confirms. “Before, I would run into incompatibilities with other software and plug-ins; it was always a nightmare. In Gig Performer, you can route everything to everything.” And so he does, meticulously creating vast universes of sound. “Whatever the requirements of a project, I always go past the norm of what any other keyboardist would do. I’ve always been a perfectionist when it comes to that, and I do things probably no one in their right mind would do,” admits Luna. “But as a result, the artists I work with are happy with what they hear. I am working on a project with a friend that loves Gino Vanelli. Vanelli had three keyboard players, so there’s one song called ‘Where Am I Going’ for which I have seven different rackspaces. It’s very detailed.” (A rackspace in Gig Performer is a complete configuration of plug-ins, including audio routing and mixing, as well as MIDI controller routing and processing.)
Having created such elaborate setups, Gig Performer allows Luna to jump between them effortlessly. “With the DAW, I switched between track groups for each song but it wasn’t always foolproof. In Gig Performer, I have no worries at all about switching setups for different songs, and the new Songs and Setlists feature in Gig Performer 3 really helps a lot with that job,” he declares.
In the end, says Luna, Gig Performer does three very important things for him. First, it enables him to execute his ambitious plans. “I always go the extra mile for my artists, and Gig Performer helps me do that so much more easily than I could before,” he asserts. Second, he is able to accomplish what he wants without worry. “I can sleep at night and not be anxious that the next day I have to fly somewhere and won’t know until I get there whether I am going to have everything I need. I have it all in my laptop, and I only need to connect to whatever the controller keyboards are. Gig Performer gives me the flexibility and peace of mind to not be concerned about things like memory, compatibility, or routing. All the preparation is done in Gig Performer beforehand, and I can just go and do the gig.”That leads to the third big benefit of Gig Performer: a fine meal. “I can actually have dinner with everyone else and not have to be messing with my rig before the show.”
After Bob Luna’s many struggles with past setups, Gig Performer has made a big difference. “I’m very happy with Gig Performer,” Luna beams. “It’s a dream come true.”