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Live Nation Revs Up Enthusiasm with “Drive In” Weekend in Three Cities

Kevin M. Mitchell • News • July 28, 2020
The weekend kicked off with a Brad Paisley show that delighted the fans

The weekend kicked off with a Brad Paisley show that delighted the fans. Photo by Kevin M. Mitchell

ST. LOUIS – On the second weekend in July, Live Nation brought live music back to three sheds – in St. Louis, Nashville and Indianapolis. By “sheds” we mean the amphitheater parking lots. But these lots could hold a thousand cars, so full-blown productions including delay video screens and speakers were involved. Live Nation turned to local vendors to supply all the gear except backline.

Chip Self of St. Louis, MO-based Logic Systems Sound & Lighting (logicsound.com) got the call to supply lighting, audio, and most of the video for the St. Louis shows. The line-up was Brad Paisley Friday night; Pink Floyd Tribute band El Monstero on Saturday; and rapper Nelly on Sunday. Shows had no openers, started at 7:30 pm. El Monstero brought in pyro by Gateway Pyrotechnics.

Logic Systems owner Chip Self with a few of the 30 PK Sound Gravity subs employed for the event. Photo: Kevin M. Mitchell

Logic Systems owner Chip Self with a few of the 30 PK Sound Gravity subs employed for the event. Photo: Kevin M. Mitchell

Arriving just in time for the biggest gig Self had since mid-march, a truck rolled up to Logic Systems to deliver a PK Sound Trinity line array rig. (So far, Logic and Clair Global are the only sound companies in the USA to have Trinity.) Self planned to roll it out for a July 10 weekend of concerts at St. Louis’ Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre with Brad Paisley on Friday; Pink Floyd Tribute band El Monstero, Saturday; and rapper Nelly on Sunday. As a real-world test for its “Live from the Drive-In” concept, Live Nation also hosted similar concerts in Nashville and Indianapolis those same three nights.

James “Pugsley” McDermott was on hand to lend his expertise with PK systems; Photo: Kevin M. Mitchell

James “Pugsley” McDermott was on hand to lend his expertise with PK systems; Photo: Kevin M. Mitchell

James “Pugsley” McDermott, Dierks Bentley’s FOH engineer, was onsite on behalf of PK to provide training and support for the system. Years ago, he was invited to PK Sound and was “completely blown away” by a new system from a company he hadn’t even heard of, although PK products were already a hit in the EDM market. “They developed these subs for EDM, and that music is very processed,” but it doesn’t mean it can’t work for genres with richer dynamics, as was certainly proven that weekend in St. Louis. “If you have a system of extreme frequency content, the system can easily be adapted to get those pure acoustic guitar tones, etc. They fixed a lot of issues that other systems were saddled with.”

McDermott has been using the Trinity for Bentley with great results. “This system is so efficient I rarely need to push them. The pressure sensors inside the powered boxes make corrections in real-time.” He cites the construction of the box as a reason they don’t need to add too much DSP. “PK discovered they can fix a lot of the issues in terms horizontal and vertical coverage mechanically as opposed to fixing them via DSP. Too much DSP colors the sound in a way that I just don’t care for. These boxes are just so well-designed that they can’t do bad things, only good things.”

The PK Sound Trinity 12 line arrays in the stage left hang; Photo: Kevin M. Mitchell

The PK Sound Trinity 12 line arrays in the stage left hang; Photo: Kevin M. Mitchell

According to Self, “The number one goal was to provide as much of a ‘real’ concert experience as we could, given the circumstances. Although we only had an audience of around 4,000, the space was more in line with what would usually be 70-80,000 people. As a result, the sound system was much larger and more sophisticated than one would normally have for an audience that size.” The system included main left/right hangs, out-fill arrays and four delay towers. Given the scale of the space, delay towers were well over 400′ from the stage. A wired connection would have required truckloads of cable and cable ramp, so Shure wireless (PSM1000 transmitters and UHF-R receivers) with PSW Helical antennas transmitted audio wirelessly from FOH to each tower. Logic’s PK system includes 32 Trinity 12s, 24 Trinity 10s and 30 Gravity 218 subwoofers. Self was thrilled with how the system performed for all three diverse musical groups.

Plenty of pyro effects punctuated Pink Floyd tribute band El Monstero’s performance on Saturday night. Photo: Kenny Williamson/RKNPHOTO

Plenty of pyro effects punctuated Pink Floyd tribute band El Monstero’s performance on Saturday night. Photo: Kenny Williamson/RKNPHOTO

Crew and attendees were required to complete a COVID screening questionnaire and have a temperature check before entering the site. Staff were required to wear masks when in proximity to other workers. Meal catering was split into shifts. Each car got two spaces — one for the car and one to set up lawn chairs. Metal barricades were set up to simplify social distancing. Before the show, video screens ran reminders to wear masks while outside the cars, and the audience, grateful to be out, obliged.

“On the planning end, we all knew that the eyes of the world were on us (and the audience) to prove the concept, so others can follow,” Self notes. “Live Nation did an exceptional job creating a plan that worked for everyone. I hope people appreciate the effort, passion and anxiety the entire crew put into making this successful.”

For more info about Logic Systems Sound & Lighting, visit www.logicsound.com.

 

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