For their coast-to-coast North American arena tour, New Kids on the Block (NKOTB) and opening acts TLC and Nelly are heard through an in-the-round Meyer Sound LYON™ linear sound reinforcement system. Chosen by veteran FOH engineer Kevin Elson and supplied by VER Tour Sound, LYON has simplified setup and delivered pristine, even coverage for every stop on the band’s 46-show “The Main Event” tour while eliminating the need for delays.
“In these large hockey arenas, LYON has allowed us to throw 180 feet to the back seats, and still wrap down nearly to the front of the stage,” reports Elson, whose prior touring credits include Journey, Van Morrison, and Michael Jackson. “Unlike previous tours, we haven’t had to tie into the house delays for the extreme back seats. This usually compromised quality, and getting the delays set was a time-consuming process.”
The switch to LYON has also improved ease of setup from prior 360-degree tours with NKOTB, According to Elson. “With the self-powered LYON system we have two simple cable runs, making setup a lot quicker and cleaner than it used to be,” he says. “With conventional systems you have to run so much cable—sometimes with speaker runs of 300 feet or more—that setup could be a real nightmare.”
The typical touring system includes eight hangs of 16-each LYON linear line array loudspeakers and four hangs of six-each 1100-LFC low-frequency control elements arranged in cardioid arrays. Twelve MINA™ line array loudspeakers are available for spot fill, 20 UPM-1P loudspeakers are deployed for stage-side VIP seating, and a Galileo® Callisto™ loudspeaker management system with eight Galileo Callisto 616 and two Galileo Callisto 616 AES array processors supplies drive and optimization. The system is part of a complete package of audio, video, and lighting technologies provided by VER Tour Sound under the leadership of Ralph Mastrangelo.
“The 1100-LFC provides a rich, musical low end,” adds Elson. “It rounds out the bottom of the PA, rather than working as a separate low-frequency effect that just thumps at you.”
Doug McKinley, project manager for VER Tour Sound, was gratified by what he heard at the first show of the tour. “The system is amazing,” he states. “The coverage is exactly the same everywhere—top to bottom and horizontally across. Everybody in the venue gets the same experience. I think this system will set the new audio standard for in-the-round tours.”
Elson mixes behind an Avid VENUE Profile digital console with Waves and Bomb Factory plug-ins. Vocal microphones are Shure wireless with SM-58 capsules, run through Empirical Labs FATSO Jr. processors. Monitors are mixed on a DiGiCo SD5 digital console.
The production team includes tour manager Dave Brown, production manager Chris Roberts, production assistant Kris Martinez, stage manager Paul Lovell Butt, lead rigger Knuckles, system engineer and audio crew chief Dre St. Pierre, monitor mixer Chris Lightcap, monitor engineer Kyle Fletcher, and PA techs Matt Fox, Ruben Aguirre, and David ‘Detroit’ Klann.