San Francisco (November 5, 2003)–Originally known as the Grateful Dead, then reconstituted in the post-Garcia era as The Other Ones, the legendary San Francisco Bay area band now called simply The Dead spent the hottest months of the year on yet another summer tour. Special guests like Steve Winwood, Bob Dylan, Robert Hunter and Willie Nelson found time to sit in with founding band members Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh and Bob Weir. Joining those stalwarts each night were guitarist Jimmy Herring, keyboardists Rob Barraco and Jeff Chimenti, and the latest addition, singer Joan Osborne. Also, in keeping with long-standing tradition, the band’s audio system was provided by Ultrasound/Pro Media of Hercules, CA.
FOH engineer for the tour was Dennis “Wizard” Leonard, a veteran member of The Dead’s touring family. For the summer jaunt, Leonard made full use of a new Meyer Sound Milo system, which was tailored for The Dead’s needs by Dennis Leonard and Derek Featherstone of Ultrasound/Pro Media. Meanwhile, the daily operation of the system was handled by audio crew chief and monitor engineer Ian Dubois, and FOH system engineer Uwe Willenbacher. Stage techs were Michael Jackson and Chris Charucki.
“[The Milo line array system] is the latest in what is being called a new approach to system design,” Leonard said. “The newer [Milo] system is more compact, and sounds better. This is due to the use of custom built components, as well as the latest developments in electronic design of the self-contained amplifiers and on-board audio processing units…These newer loudspeakers are definitely a step up in quality. This system has certainly raised the mark.”
Mickey Hart commented on his own website, noting, “The new Meyer PA is a vision fulfilled for both Meyer Sound and the band. The advantage of hand-built parts over mass-produced parts, is the ability to produce very high levels of sound with extremely low distortion so the audience can enjoy the sonic clarity of each performance. Many years in the making, this sound system is nothing short of a sonic miracle.”
The touring system for The Dead included 36 MILOs, 18 M3D subs, 4 MSL-4s for far side fill, 4 MSL-2s for left and right front fill, and 2 UM-1As for center fill. A half-dozen MG-3D/M multipurpose grids allowed the Milo system to be configured as either two or four arrays to accommodate longer throw or wider coverage as best fit the venue.