In Mills’ estimation, Chesney should sound as close to his CDs as possible when performing live.
One of the biggest obstacles to achieving this goal raises its head nightly, as Chesney is widely known for spending about 80 percent of his time in front of the PA on the runway leading into the audience.
The solution to potential problems associated with such behavior was to leave a hole in the bottom two cabinets of his line arrays, which can be EQ’d differently as needed.
The net result of the technique can leave a cold zone essentially running from Chesney’s knees to about two feet above his head.
“Now he could spend the whole night out there and the engineers would still have a good 6 dB of headroom within the whole system,” Mills says. “These holes can be filled-in as needed with our front fills. Or we can kill them completely or hack the crap out of them in a heartbeat to avoid feedback issues.”
Besides the mix engineers, touring crew members also include Phil Spina and Phil Bledsoe, both who serve as audio techs. Aiding their best efforts are Justin Meeks, Taylor Nyquist, Chris Neimeyer, Kyle Fletcher, and Preston Gray. Jameson Beck rounds out the list as resident patch guy.
Sound team members David Haskell, John Mills, Phill Robinson, and Brian Baxley. (click to enlarge)
“When I hired this crew, I was simply looking for the right people to grow this company with,” Mills adds. “I hired them as much for their ears as anything else, and because I trust every one of them. They all have each other’s back. They all taught each other their jobs, so anyone can back up anyone else.
“That kind of stuff is priceless when you’re talking about a fairly small sound company doing a show of this size and scope.
“Wherever the road takes us from here, we’re in it together, and will be here for the band and the fans.”
Gregory A. DeTogne is a writer and editor who has served the pro audio industry for the past 30 years. The photos for this article were provided by Steve Jennings.