Roger Waters Delivers Epic Performance in Reykjavik with Help from Meyer Sound's MILO
Roger Waters became a major figure in rock and roll with the band he co-founded, Pink Floyd. The band was well known for its elaborate tour productions, and Waters continued that tradition after splitting from the Floyd; the 1990 Berlin concert of his musical and conceptual masterpiece, "The Wall," is still mentioned as one of the best shows of all time.
Little surprise, then, that Waters's 2006 "Dark Side of the Moon" tour is one of the hottest tickets of the year wherever it lands. One of the first stops was Reykjavik, Iceland, where Waters delivered a signature show to a capacity crowd at the Egilsholl Sports Stadium. Attended by a crowd of 15,000 (roughly five percent of the country's population), the show was forced to start 35 minutes late in order to give the audience time to get through the gigantic traffic jam that formed on the only road serving the stadium and file in.
High expectations on all sides, a 12-man band with two full drum sets to deal with, and a building with very noticeable reverberation add up to a situation that would challenge any audio professional. That's why Andri Gunnarsson, rental department manager for local pro audio firm Exton, immediately turned to Meyer Sound, Exton's loudspeaker systems of choice for 20 years.
"We did Metallica in 2004 and Iron Maiden last summer in the same venue. Our experience with those shows taught us how to control the sound in this room, and really showed us what we're capable of doing with Meyer speakers," says Gunnarsson. In contrast to those concerts, though, the subtleties of Waters's style and song catalog demand a delicate balancing act to bring out clear system response and finesse the room's tricky acoustics. Gunnarsson frequently employed Meyer Sound MAPP Online Pro acoustical prediction software and the SIM 3 audio analyzer both before the show and during setup to address the issues. "We had wi-fi at the venue, so we could just open MAPP and predict how things were going to work and what we could do to fix them," Gunnarson explains. "My experience has been that MAPP plus SIM 3 plus Meyer equals a very good PA."
Gunnarsson also counts Meyer Sound's RMS remote monitoring system as one of his favorite concert tools. "You're able to monitor each and every box, and when you have over 80 boxes, it helps a lot when you need to identify a problem, or basically just see what you're doing."
Waters required surround sound for the concert, so, well before the show, Gunnarsson was trading information and ideas among technicians at Meyer Sound and the Waters tour crew. Exton supplemented its own supply of gear with cabinets from Sound Hire in London. Interfacing issues were non-existent, due to the consistency and self-powered nature of the Meyer Sound systems.
The main system consisted of arrays of 16 MILO high-power curvilinear array loudspeakers and 10 M3D-Sub directional subwoofers per side, plus six UPA-1P compact wide coverage loudspeakers for frontfill, and two MSL-4 horn-loaded long-throw loudspeakers per side to deliver sidefill. The rear surround stack consisted of five MILO cabinets, one MILO 120 expanded coverage high-power curvilinear array loudspeaker, and two M3D-Sub subwoofers. Two side surround stacks were each made up of four MSL-4 loudspeakers, two DS-4P horn-loaded mid-bass loudspeakers, and three 650-P high-power subwoofers. A Galileo 616 loudspeaker management system and an LD-3 compensating line driver handled processing and system drive.
In the grand, two-act show, which encompassed much of the Floyd catalog, Waters segued seamlessly from "wall of sound" numbers to gentle ballads and back again, with no discernable change in clarity or response. After the concert, fans and local press alike raved about the performance's sound quality.
Having completed its European leg, Roger Waters's "Dark Side of the Moon" tour rolls across North America through September and October. Waters will also be touring with his new opera, ça Ira.