Iceland enjoyed the show of a lifetime in July when Metallica inaugurated the new Egilshöllin indoor soccer stadium in ReykjavÌk. For the premier music show at the venue, local production company Exton - Kastljos ehf, in conjunction with UK rental company Sound Hire, provided a large Meyer Sound rig with 32 MILO high-power curvilinear array loudspeakers at its core.
In addition to the large MILO complement, Exton and Sound Hire also supplied 24 M3D-Sub directional subwoofers, 12 650-P high-power subwoofers, 12 MSL-4 horn-loaded long-throw loudspeakers (including eight for flown side fills), and eight UPA-1C compact wide coverage loudspeakers for front fill (the only conventionally-powered cabinets in the system), mounted below the stage lip. Four DS-4P horn-loaded mid-bass loudspeakers provided additional suspended side fill. Everything was flown with Meyer Sound’s QuickFly™ rigging hardware.
The event generated a great deal of excitement, since this was the first trip to Iceland for Metallica: 15,000 tickets were sold within hours, with an extra 3,000 tickets sold within minutes of going on sale. Heavy airplay on Iceland's three rock radio stations also resulted in three Metallica albums entering the Top 30 charts.
With 18,000 people–just over six percent of the country's total population–crammed into the venue, the sound crew soon found themselves faced with an unforeseen challenge, as the crowd caused significant alterations in temperature and humidity. "Due to the fact that the venue quickly became extremely hot and sweaty, it was drastically different from the time when the system was aligned and the sound checks were preformed," explains Exton's Kari Eythorsson. Thankfully, Exton had provided a Meyer Sound LD-3 compensating line driver with the system, and it received a real workout, says Eythorsson. "The atmospheric correction circuit on the LD-3 came into good use. [System Engineer] Ingvar [Jonsson] and Luke [Jenks, Meyer Sound’s European technical support director] followed the change in temperature and humidity closely throughout the show and tweaked the LD-3 accordingly."
"We went from 20º Celsius and 36 percent humidity before the show to 31 º and 78 percent humidity by the middle of Metallica's set," explains Jenks. "The LD-3 played a priceless role in keeping the high frequencies steady throughout. It allowed us to compensate for the changes as they happened, so that the sound remained consistent. This was a big hit at front of house."
In fact, Exton supplied LD-1 and LD-2 line driver systems as well as the LD-3, allowing seamless integration of the various components of the huge Meyer Sound system.
This being the very first music concert to be held in the new stadium, Exton, the usual equipment supplier for artists visiting Iceland, was faced with supplying its biggest ever rig in a room with which no one was familiar. But the challenge left the crew unfazed. "We were simply hanging more cabinets on each side of the stage than we are used to, so for us there was no sweat," reports Eythorsson, noting the long hours that the riggers worked leading up to the show.
Eythorsson believes that Meyer Sound MAPP Online® acoustical prediction software proved invaluable as Exton and Jenks worked together before the show to predict the venue's acoustics and design a suitable sound system, while also providing valuable information to the stadium's structural engineers and the system riggers.
On the night of the concert, the MILO rig demonstrated that a sound system can be crystal clear even while cranking out extreme sound pressure levels. System Engineer Jonsson says, "Having made my living the past 18 years mixing rock 'n roll acts as well as being a small-scale musician,...I was impressed. The system seemed to have everything I would have liked to have in terms of power, coverage, and fidelity in this venue, had I been mixing a heavy metal show. The M3D-Subs proved themselves as being the most excellent tools in a room where the beats from the kick drum would have become a pool of indistinguishable mud using traditional omnidirectional subwoofers."
Oli Oder Magnusson, Exton's general manager, observes that, although the show was larger than anything the company had mounted previously, the scalability of Meyer Sound's products ensured that everything went smoothly. "This is, by far, the largest single undertaking that our company has pulled off, and being equipped with Meyer products has made our lives so much easier in making this work," he says. " Allowing us to seamlessly integrate sub-hired equipment as well as our older inventory of MSL-4s, 650-Ps and UPAs without having to worry about amp racks with different types of digital controllers, amplifiers, wiring, gain structure, and so on, was a true advantage for us. This size of an event is not our normal cup of tea and being able to not have to worry about these things allowed the crew to get some sleep even though setup time was tight."