English singer-songwriter Robbie Williams and his Big Band recently performed a Top of the Mountain concert at the alpine resort in Ischgl, Austria, where NEXO STM modular line arrays delivered sound reinforcement for a crowd of 30,000 people at the Silvretta Arena.
Held each May at an altitude of 2,300 meters, Top of the Mountain rounds off the ski season, with this concert marking the event’s 20th anniversary.
All equipment is brought into the resort by snow gondola, with snowplows handling on-site transport, and the crew flown in by helicopter. As a result, STM’s ability to break down into smaller elements proved valuable, allowing for easier transport to the arena.
All technical production was supplied by Austria’s Fantasy Event Engineering, working closely with sound rental company acoustic NETWORK from Germany to provide 15 sets of STM M46 Main, B112 Bass and S112 Sub units per side, covering up to 80 meters. The S112s were supplemented with two stacks per side of 4x CD18 cardioid sub bass units.
Two delay towers of 10+2 GEO T cabinets covered from 85 up to 135 meters. Overlap between the two systems was smooth, and very little EQ had to be applied. In addition, 8x GEO S12s were used for the VIP area, and front fills were provided by 4x PS15s.
The system surprised even, who has heard STM in a great many locations and configurations. “With snow acting as an absorbent everywhere, it was almost like listening to very big studio monitors,” states Val Gilbert, NEXO concert sound technical advisor. “We experienced some of the most pronounced climatic effects I have ever heard.
“Cold air on the ground, warm air above the crowd’s head, and cold air from falling snow and fog above created a layer of warm air exactly at the height of the FOH engineer position, driving mid and high frequencies straight into the tent,” he continues. “This made it difficult for the FOH engineer, Simon Hodge, to mix in a predictable way. However the sound was solid and coverage and throw were excellent. Without a doubt, STM was up to the task, and performed extremely well.”
Both Hodge and Britannia Row system engineer Josh Lloyd, who tours with Robbie Williams, were complimentary of STM, expressing a desire to spend time with it in more “hospitable” conditions. “The system sounded great, especially considering the tough environment we were dealing with,” says Lloyd.
The event’s technical director, Hannes Knapp from Fantasy Event Engineering, has already confirmed that STM will be used for next year’s Top of the Mountain, with multiple high-profile sources telling him it was “the best sound ever in Ischgl.”