Birmingham, UK (August 9, 2004)–Metallica recently completed the European stadium leg of its “Madly In Anger with the World” tour, using one the largest touring JBL VerTec line array systems ever assembled. Fielded by Birmingham-based rental company SSE Hire, the total system package included 128 VT4889 full-size line array elements. These were divided between two identical touring packages, code-named ‘black’ and ‘blue,’ which leapfrogged across Europe to keep up with the band’s fast-paced itinerary which ranged for six weeks from Scandinavia, to Central Europe, to the Mediterranean countries.
Metallica’s sound engineer, “Big Mick” Hughes, has worked with the band for 20 years. Supported by system engineer Scott Minkley, Hughes has previously used the VerTec system in both Japan and Australia. After a successful string of 2003 outdoor dates “down under” on a VerTec system provided by Jands Productions Services, he specified it for use on the recent European stadium tour. “The VerTec system has the reserve power I need for this band, unlike some others,” noted Hughes. “The VT4889’s 15″ low-frequency section supports a strong full-bodied guitar sound, and that’s what Metallica is all about. We’ve been having some great shows with this rig.”
The standard system configuration for the just-completed European tour leg included two main arrays of 18 VT4889s, two side arrays of 12 elements each, and a center array of 4 enclosures for front-fill. With the primary loudspeaker arrays typically 180 feet (55 meters) apart, the system was called upon to deliver an unusually high level of output power and uniform audience coverage, without the use of any additional signal-delayed supplemental arrays.
Two coordinated teams of five audio technicians managed the logistics and daily setup. Control and monitor packages for the European tour were split between SSE Hire and Michigan-based Thunder Audio, the band’s traditional North American concert sound supplier. Stage monitor mixing duties are handled by Paul Owen, vice president of Thunder Audio, who’s worked with the band since 1987. Metallica will return to the USA this month and perform until the end of November, when the band’s world tour will end after 21 months on the road.