World-renowned composer Tan Dun joined forces with pianist Lang Lang and the China National Symphony Orchestra in the rain for a re-interpretation of three martial arts films at an open-air concert for 15,000 people in Beijing’s Chaoyang Park.
The Flashline large-scale line array helped evoke just the right mood for Tan Dun – who is widely recognised for his use of non-traditional organic instruments such as paper and water – to create the perfect backdrop: misty rain set against Feng Xiaogang’s Chinese tragedy ‘The Banquet’, for which Tan Dun wrote the score for the movie version. While this was not the first time that he had worked with Lang Lang, both had some reservations about the concert.
It had rained all throughout the day of the concert, and a cancellation seemed inevitable. According to Tan Dun, Lang Lang was worried that the piano would be soaked and that the keys would be too slippery, but just a few hours before the scheduled start Tan Dun spoke with the organisers: “Let’s just do it!” he encouraged. “Think about the 1960s – Woodstock, Glastonbury, the Isle of Wight – people coming in the rain and in the mud, just for the spirit!” Tan Dun recalls that as soon as he mentioned Woodstock, everybody said “Yes, why not do a Beijing Woodstock!”
The 36-box Flashline PA supplied by Phoenix Audio was configured as 12 TFS-900H high packs flown per side, with six TFS-900B subwoofers ground-stacked at each side of the huge stage. Phoenix also took care of the on-site technical support, including system set up and tuning. Tan Dun’s FOH engineer is a long-standing client of Phoenix and user of Turbosound loudspeakers, and following a demonstration was convinced to use Flashline for this high-profile concert.
Flashline is a complete turnkey sound reinforcement system designed to deliver ultra-high quality audio to large audiences. The TFS-900H is a four-way flown line array consisting of eleven discrete drive units uniquely deployed across four frequency bands, teamed up with Lab.gruppen’s industry-leading four-channel DSP-based amplifiers with Lake processing in custom-designed Turbosound racks. The TFS-900B subs are a hybrid-loaded design that makes use of energy from the rear as well as the front of the 18-inch neodymium drivers’ cones for an impressive 141 dB peak output. The Flashline high packs travel pre-rigged in groups of four on custom dollies that allow a loudspeaker array to be flown quickly and easily.
While the Steinway may have been soaked, and its slippery keyboard gave Lang Lang’s playing an unusual tonal polish, Flashline’s IP54 weather-resistant spec – consisting of stainless steel grilles and fixings, and TourTough shower-proof cabinet finish – ensured that the organically-inspired performance reached the 15,000 strong audience uninterrupted and loud and clear.
Flashline’s coverage of the arena was very even from front to back and from side to side over all the seated areas. The many sound engineers, government sound consultants, rental companies, contractors and dealers who came to the show were very excited by the system’s audio quality and all agreed that the sound was very ‘hi-fi’.
The client was entirely satisfied with the event production and intends to use Flashline again. Two sound rental companies also showed strong interest in investing in Turbosound’s large-scale line array.
After the show Lang Lang came to talk to the on-site sound team about how perfect the sound quality was, and Tan Dun commented from his official Weibo (Chinese-version of Twitter) “excellent sound quality.”