Pearl Jam‘s recent 2016 North American trek delivered three-plus-hour performances to packed arenas night after night.
The band’s longtime tour provider, Rat Sound, knew it needed to deploy a concert reinforcement system that could go mile for mile with the band, which is why it chose to carry an L-Acoustics K1/K2 rig for the outing.
The latest leg’s 17 dates, which marked the first time that Pearl Jam had traversed the US since October 2014’s domestic sweep, typically featured a main PA setup comprised of four K2 flown under 16 K1 per side, with adjacent hangs of 12 K1-SB subs, plus 16 more K2 per side providing outfill.
Two additional arrays of 14 K2 directed audio to the 270-degree seating areas, while dual hangs of 15 Kara flown between them addressed the seats directly behind the stage for full 360-degree coverage.
Out front, four L-Acoustics ARCS II enclosures positioned on either side of the stage combined with six coaxial 8XT spaced out evenly across the stage lip supplied frontfill, while 16 groundstacked SB28 subs bolstered the shows’ low-end reinforcement. Per spec, all loudspeakers were powered and processed by L-Acoustics LA8 amplified controllers housed in LA-RAK touring racks.
Sound for the tour was mixed on an Avid S6L-32 console by front of house engineer Greg Nelson, with monitor engineer Karrie Keyes officially making the switch to a pair of DiGiCo SD5s—one primary desk for the main band, and the other for tech mixes and support acts, when present, manned by Peter Baigent, Tom Carisco and/or Kevin Glendenning.
“The K1/K2 system covered extremely well in-the-round to a sold-out tour,” enthuses Rat Sound crew chief Tom Worley. “Having the continuation of a large format box on the main hangs and adjustable horizontal coverage with K2 allowed Greg [Nelson, front of house engineer] and Andrew [Gilchrest, front of house/systems tech] to achieve exceptional results. Seeing that K1 and K2 are the same width and nicely rig together, we also had the ability to easily move boxes around if need be—for example, to move four boxes of K1 to the side hang and vice versa.
“Having K2 for the side and 270 hangs not only gave us consistency throughout the arena but helped minimize poor site lines without affecting vertical coverage and allowed us to keep the sound directed at the audience—not the walls—minimizing unnecessary reflections.”
Worley points out that Gilchrest measured the rooms and designed the systems on a daily basis using L-Acoustics’ Soundvision 3D acoustical and mechanical modeling software. “The results were always spot-on, which gave us the consistency we needed on a tour like this. The K systems were such an integral part of getting the excellent results we had. There are a number of top line arrays on the market, but none have the overall package that L-Acoustics provides.”
With the majority of Pearl Jam’s 2016 North American shows now behind them, Rat Sound will soon also be deploying its L-Acoustics K1/K2 rig for the band’s upcoming headline performance at The Ride Festival in Telluride, Colorado on July 9, and for two shows at Boston’s Fenway Park on August 6 and 7. Additional shows this summer for the band will include the Pemberton Music Festival on July 14, as well as two dates at Chicago’s Wrigley Field on August 20 and 22.