Country superstar Kenny Chesney is one of the biggest concert attractions in the world, although he rarely leaves North America. Each of his tours – 13 since he began headlining in 2002 – has sold in excess of 1m tickets; the current 2015 Big Revival Tour passed the million ticket mark before the first note of music was even played.
Production audio – as well as lighting – is provided by Nashville-based Morris Light and Sound. Working with Chesney’s front-of-house engineer Chris Rabold, they have pioneered the use of Nexo’s STM Series modular line array to deliver in such large venues.
The 2015 Big Revival Tour marks ML&S and Rabold’s second outing with Nexo. Chesney’s regularised tour schedule – playing many of the same venues, with the same crew and the same rental provider – has provided near-scientific conditions for judging the development of Nexo’s radical modular system over the first three years of its life.
The most visible of changes this year is the inclusion of a new down-fill cabinet to the system. The M28 module was added to the STM Series at the end of last year, and FOH engineer Chris Rabold describes it as “the missing piece of the puzzle. One of its primary uses for us is as a down-fill, but I don’t think of it as a traditional down-fill box at all – it’s an extension, which is voiced very similarly to the M46 main cabinet, so it’s just giving us that extra bit at the bottom of the array. And it is very, very controllable; I can manipulate it if I choose to, but a lot of the time I really don’t need to because it’s so seamless and smooth.”
Morris Light & Sound was the first major rental company to put STM onto a premium tour. This year, they increased their already substantial investment, adding the M28 modules to its inventory.
ML&S systems engineer John Mills says, “the M28s are a problem-solver. Because the M46s are so powerful, we found ourselves wanting to turn them down, but of course if you do that, you break the line array. M28 has acoustically less output, so it’s the right box to have on the bottom of the line. When you walk between the seam, and it changes boxes, you would expect something fairly significant to happen, but from M46 to M28 is a very, very smooth transition.”