During the The Killers’ recent sold-out performances at O2 Arena in London, the band’s long-time sound engineer James Gebhard made the decision to fly his favorite compact Martin Audio line arrays without the W8L Longbow modules that extend projection to the rear of huge audience areas, exactly the situation presented by the 20,000-capacity O2 Arena.
Coverage to the entire venue including side hangs, front fills and delays, was made up of 20 Martin Audio W8LC compact line array hangs as the main reinforcement system––stretching production company Capital Sound Hire’s inventory to the limit. Martin MA4.s amplifiers powered all of the full-range enclosures.
With the two delay hangs of 12 W8LC’s set 165 feet back down the auditorium, the two main SR stage arrays of 18 W8LC’s and a pair of W8LCD Downfills were complemented by 14 W8LC’s and two W8LCD’s as side hangs, and six W8LC and two W8LCD as the upstage secondary side hang. These were supplemented by 12 W8LS Subs up in the air, with another four floor-mounted alongside four WS218X’s.
Four blocks of two Martin Audio W8LM mini line arrays provided front fills reinforced further by three W8C’s to cover the front rows.
With most of the system flown, the main task was to pull the image down for those sitting in the nearfield area from a vast hang, trimmed 36 feet above the stage. Because of the length of the drop and the large vertical coverage angle involved, special ViewPoint array software predictions had to be provided by Martin Audio R&D Director Jason Baird.
Capital Sound Hire has worked extensively at the O2 Arena, with acts as diverse as Take That, The Stereophonics, Kylie Minogue, El Divo and Lee Evans. “And although this is not the first time we have used delays it is the first time we have taken such a radical design approach,” said account manager, Paul Timmins. “But I was pleasantly surprised that we achieved what some may have thought as being a suicidal gamble.”
Gebhard was certainly not sorry. “I’ve loved the W8LC’s since first using them on the NME Awards Tour with the Killers four years ago,” he said.
He used them again on a one-off show with the band at the Royal Albert Hall last November. “I wanted to use LC’s because of the way the Albert Hall is designed––you have to treat it like a club. It was a one-off show, and the first time I’d used the Compacts with the flown subs––and it sounded outstanding. It’s just a question of more boxes and a bit more time involved, but it’s well worth it for the result.”