In 2017 American punk rockers, Green Day, undertook a year-long world tour taking in Australia, Europe, Canada, USA and South America. In November when the band arrived at the Estadio Velez Stadium in Argentina, audience, crew and band were in for a real treat and an audio first.
Here, the PA was the d&b audiotechnik SL-Series, GSL System, the brand new member of the d&b large format PA family making its South American debut. BALS Buenos Aires Live Shows, one of Argentina’s largest rental firms, was the local provider for sound and lighting. The GSL system arrived just the week before the Green Day Show.
When the audio crew for Green Day arrived at the stadium, led by Kevin Lemoine, the band’s long-standing front of house engineer, and Clark Thomas, system tech, they were full of anticipation. As long-term users of the J-Series and declared d&b fans, the crew were very much looking forward to using GSL.
“Next year, we’ll just have to tour with this system,” Thomas concluded within only a couple of minutes. “This is the best expression of live mixing I have ever encountered.”
Lemoine comments. “Now I want to try different microphones on sources because I can actually hear the nuances of them. Different compressors, different pre-amps, and different EQs, because now they can really and honestly be heard. This is a thrilling idea really, and the thought of using the GSL on a daily basis cannot happen fast enough. From someone that is familiar with every major PA system, it’s nice to know what is really the best, and I can’t wait to hear it again.”
The main system for the Estadio Velez Stadium show featured the latest addition to the d&b line array family, the GSL System – a new big brother for the J-Series. The GSL8 and GSL12 line array modules are unique in their directivity control which is maintained over the full bandwidth, from 45 Hz to above 18 kHz. This is coupled with solid low-frequency headroom and resolution in the mid and high frequencies.
Complimented by the SL-SUB and SL-GSUB cardioid subwoofers, the GSL System is a complete package designed to make full use of the tools in the established d&b Workflow. For the 49,540 capacity Estadio Velez, the system used fourteen GSL8s and two GSL12s per side as the main arrays, with sixteen J8s as out fills, this was supported by eighteen GSL-SUBs and eight V7P front fills – all powered by D80 amplifiers using ArrayProcessing.
After hearing the PA installed at the Estadio Velez, pre-gig the reaction from the BALS audio engineers was a mix of astonishment and disbelief, noting the evenness of coverage on the pitch, the lower tiers, and the tiers at the opposite end, as well as the absence of the low end rumble behind the PA. And that was without subs.
Macaio, the d&b distribution partner in Argentina, mentioned that it was the clearest sound they had ever heard in the stadium. After the concert itself, Lemoine more than agreed with Clark, saying, “The new d&b GSL system is by far the best PA system on the planet. It’s staggering, really, the wonderful amount of pure, clean emotion that screams out of this box. Never have I experienced such a huge amount of control and handling from a sound system. Every minute EQ sweep, every minuscule fader push, every slight bit of effect coloration; all was heard in the truest sense, and as intended with the GSL.”
From a system tech perspective, Thomas was happy with the performance of GSL for a number of reasons. Moving from GSL for mains to J-Series for side hangs, he found the transition was pleasant and smooth. He adds, “GSL is the nicest PA I have ever had the pleasure of working with. It is truly a full range, high fidelity system. It throws quite far while maintaining tonal balance, and I feel it’ll work wonderfully with any style or content. And I must say, I could not hear any noise coming from the rear of the array when I walked around.”
By today’s standards, Green Day is a straightforward line-up consisting of three front liners with a couple of guest musicians, amounting to only twenty-two channels at the front of house desk. What the band “lacks” in channel count, Lemoine makes up in toys, because he works almost exclusively analog and uses a choice collection of boutique outboard gear.
The sonic outcome at The Estadio Velez Stadium to a sold out audience of thirty-seven thousand. No problem for GSL, which handled the two-and-a-half hour stream of guitar-loaded hits without breaking a sweat.