An Outcry heard across America
USA: Having sold out at large venues across North America during 2015, Outcry Tour has continued to enjoy similar success in stadiums and arenas during 2016. The tour comprises a roster of well-known Christian contemporary artists, such as Hillsong Worship, Kari Jobe, Jesus Culture with Martin Smith, Passion, Elevation Worship and Brian Houston among others, with the line-up changing from show to show.
Outcry Tour began its journey for the year in the spring, with 14 shows taking place within a 19-day period. With a large variety of artists taking part in the tour, spanning a wide range of music genres, an array of different production challenged presented themselves with regards to the logistics as well as the audio quality. Called in to tackle these issues and to supply the sound was Winston-Salem-based Special Event Services (SES).
‘The artists on this tour ran the gamut from folksy singer-songwriters to pop and R&B acts, to full-out screaming amps and rock drums,’ exclaims director of touring at SES, Michael Brammer. ‘And the line-up was hardly static with various groups stepping in and out depending on other performance obligations.’
The North Carolinian technical production company put to use its PA solution consisting of L-Acoustics K1 and K2 systems. ‘The K1/K2 system was ideal because it transparently reinforces all types of music,’ explains Mr Brammer.
Despite the diversity of the music performed during the shows, the biggest sonic hurdles for SES to overcome were the portions of plain speech given between sets. For example, Pastor Brian Houston took to the stage during every show of the tour to deliver a message for those in attendance.
‘The hardest kind of content to provide sound reinforcement for is spoken word, hands down,’ Mr Brammer notes. ‘This is where the L-Acoustics system really showed what it’s made of. Not only did the music sound great, but every word from the pastor could be heard clearly in every part of every venue.’
The PA setup was formed from 12 K1 and K2 units per side, serving as the main hangs, while an extra 14 K2s on each side provided side-fill. Front-fill was supplied via six Kara modules perched on the lip of the stage, while 16 SB26 ground subs took care of the low-end reinforcement. Twelve LA-RAK touring racks, each of which features three LA8 amplified controllers, powered the solution. Also of note was that L-Acoustics’ X15 coaxial stage wedges were deployed as stage monitors as this was reportedly the first use of these particular units in a touring capacity in North America.
‘The average attendance was more than 10,000 people per night,’ furthers Mr Brammer. ‘SES has used L-Acoustics products — and specifically the K1 and K2 systems — for enough shows with enough artists covering an incredibly diverse range that the choice of K1 and K2 for Outcry was obvious to us from the beginning. These were not small shows.’
With the focus of these the shows not on the artists themselves, but more on the ramped-up content designed to replicate modern evangelical service style events with worship bands and pastors on a larger scale. With each of the artists already possessing their own following and most of them being affiliated to mega-churches, the combined efforts on this leg of Outcry Tour drew in more than 120,000 attendants across the 14 shows. Following in the footsteps of the revival shows that travelled across America from as early as the 19th century, Outcry continues on its journey, spreading its message.