New York, NY (August 14, 2019)—Ed Sheeran’s ongoing Divide tour has been on the road since 2017 and has now been named the highest-grossing tour of all-time by Pollstar. With 255 shows in all (the tour ends in Ipswich, England on August 24 – 26, 2019), the tour broke the record, previously held by U2, on August 2, hitting $736 million, with a dozen shows remaining. The tour is set to break attendance records as well, with 8.5 million coming to the shows compared to 7.3 million for U2. Throughout the entire two-year journey, the troubadour’s audio crew has used a Meyer Sound Leo Family system provided by UK-based Major Tom, Ltd. to cover the teeming masses in attendance.
Production Manager and FOH Engineer Chris Marsh, who has been with Sheeran since his first headline tour in 2011, has used Leo boxes as his preferred audio reinforcement solution since 2013. “We started using Leo on the earlier arena tours before we got into stadiums, and the first thing that was really noticeable was headroom,” Marsh recalls. “It seemed like we never would run out of it. Also, the clarity and definition are exceptional. Ed’s looping has many layers to it, and sometimes other PAs just seemed to make noise. With Leo, there is a separation in the mix I can’t find in the other systems I’ve worked with.”
The Divide Tour system is built around four main hangs of 18-each Leo line array loudspeakers, augmented on the low end by nine flown 1100-LFC low frequency control elements plus 24 1100-LFC elements on the ground in dual end-fire arrays. Stage front and fill systems comprise Lina and UPA-1P loudspeakers. Delays are Milo line array loudspeakers, 14 per hang, with Leopard line array loudspeakers added when required as delay ground fill.
A somewhat unusual twist on the tour’s final leg (#14) through Europe is the mix of large football stadiums and open “greenfield” sites — parks, fairgrounds and, in Helsinki, a decommissioned airfield. This venue strategy was occasioned, according to Marsh, by the difficulty in finding venues along the route able to accommodate the numbers dictated by ticket demand. It fell to audio systems engineer Charlie Albin to ensure the system was re-adapted to different circumstances on a show-to-show basis.
“We were fortunate that on this tour, we were able to take Major Tom’s Meyer PA with us almost everywhere,” said Marsh. “We’ve taken it on and off airplanes a dozen times, in and out of ocean-going containers eight times, plus through torrential rain and heavy winds and even sand pits. And that same system is still going, which is a massive accolade for Meyer Sound.”
Meyer Sound • www.meyersound.com