The production is impressive in both scope and scale. In-the-round productions are unusual in venues as large as stadiums and arenas, and they present significant opportunities and challenges. Stewart’s tour makes the most of the set, starting with four huge, high-definition video screens that face each direction. Before the show, a video called “The Rodfather” touting Stewart’s history as a pop innovator is screened, while during the show, images of Stewart, his band, and shots of the city in which the performance is taking place are displayed on the screens. Two catwalks coming off opposite sides of the stage allow Stewart to venture out of the main performing area and into the crowd. The intricate lighting rig includes multicolor LED lights built into the stage.
Having carried a sizable Meyer Sound system based on the MILO® high-power curvilinear array loudspeaker on Stewart’s lengthy “From Maggie May to the Great American Songbook” world tour, Stewart’s longtime production manager and front-of-house engineer Lars Brogaard decided to stick with the proven sound quality, consistency, and ease of setup of the MILO rig, making it yet larger to provide the 360-degree coverage required for this tour from four stations that essentially defined “corners” of the stage. Brogaard’s sound company, Major Tom Ltd., is supplying 100 MILO cabinets, as well as 10 M’elodie™ ultracompact high-power curvilinear array loudspeakers for frontfill, 32 700-HP ultrahigh-power subwoofers, four UPA-1P compact wide coverage loudspeakers, and a Galileo™ loudspeaker management system to drive it all. Systems technician Ali Viles determines the best deployment for each venue using MAPP Online Pro™ acoustical prediction software, doing one prediction for the venue’s long direction and a separate one for the short direction in order to assure each seat of stereo coverage.
“We’re using Meyer Sound for one reason: it’s the best,” says Brogaard. “Vocal projection is the most important thing on a tour like this — people come to hear Rod Stewart. Flying MILO makes it effortless to get his voice way out into the room. No matter where you’re sitting, the sound is right there in front of you.”
While Brogaard has used MILO since the kickoff of Stewart’s previous tour, M’elodie is a new addition with which he is equally impressed. “The M’elodies sound great,” he adds. “We have them right on the stage edge. They are small boxes and easy to handle. We just put them up and get terrific coverage.”
Brogaard and crew tune the system using a SIM® 3 audio analyzer, and use the SIM 3 and the RMS™ remote monitoring system to track the system’s status and actual performance during the show. In order to accommodate the four loudspeaker stations and the distances involved, the RMS system is run over Ethernet.
After hundreds of shows, Brogaard knows that the Meyer Sound system will deliver one of popular music’s most distinctive voices clearly to every concertgoer. “Rod Stewart’s audience wants to hear what he says and what he sings,” Brogaard states. “I certainly don’t have any worries about that with Meyer Sound.”