George Strait is rightly known as “The King of Country,” having sold nearly 70 million albums in the U.S. alone, making him the 12th best-selling recording artist of all time.
In 2009, the Texas native had the honor of opening the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium, was named the Academy of Country Music’s artist of the decade, and followed it up with “Twang,” his latest release that made its debut at number one on the country charts.
This year’s Twang tour, also featuring Reba McEntire and Lee Ann Womack, is an extension of last year’s top country tour, which ranked 14th overall.
Production services for the tour, as has been the case for 28 years and counting, are being supplied by Onstage Systems, formerly known as Dallas Backup.
Founded in 1978 by Charles and Vickie Belcher, Onstage Systems was an early adopter of EAW KF850 loudspeakers, and a dozen years later, were one of the first companies to switch to L-Acoustics V-DOSC line arrays.
The company is now helmed by daughter Hyacinth, who literally grew up backstage, and brother Chris runs the staging department. Chief members of the Strait sound team include front of house engineer George Olson, system tech Ernie Gonzales and monitor engineer Josh Kaylor, all working closely with long-time production manager Paul Rogers.
Strait has been performing in an “in-theround” format in arenas since 2002, with sets of line arrays flown to provide coverage to each “quadrant.” Long-throw is supplied by pairs of 9-box V-DOSC arrays, with triple dV-DOSC cabinets above and three more below for near fill.
After the tour kicked off, the side hangs facing the short-throw of the arena were upgraded to 12-box KUDO arrays, which can angle vertically by up to 10 degrees, nearly twice that of V-DOSC.
KUDO can also offer varied horizontal dispersion, and the bottom cabinet has its on-stage coverage narrowed with its adjustable K-LOUVERS to help keep it out of the main vocal mics.
The KUDO cabinets ride four-high in custom welded “chariots” that help make them quick to rig and strike. Rogers and Olsen both note that they plan to change the rest of the system over to KUDO later in the year after this run completes.
Last year, Onstage Systems added 16 new LA-RAK touring racks, each loaded with three LA8 amplified controllers, to replace its long-time previous amplification package.
“I’m also really enjoying LA Network Manager and the LA8’s onboard processing tools, especially Array Morphing,” Olson states.
“I generally have quite a few 15s in the air, and, with this tour being in-the-round, the network software has provided a very quick means of tailoring out some of those low-mid frequencies.”
Also new in the loudspeaker set is a switch from L-Acoustics SB218 subwoofers to SB28, which get about twice as loud and can easily cover an arena.
The new subs are configured in four 4-box cardioid arrays, with one box inverted, placed at each corner of the stage on the floor, which keeps the low end from pooling up under the hollow stage. Additional individual dV-DOSC are distributed about, providing front fill as needed.