We can have up to 8,000 people on the lawn and they need to experience what I’m hearing at front-of-house. With the LEO system we can shoot out into the lawns, holding a good stereo image and giving you the feeling that you’re only 50 feet from the stage.”
Scott TkachukFOH Engineer, Godsmack
With two headline bands combining their drawing power, hard rock luminaries Godsmack and Shinedown packed 40 A-market sheds and arenas across the USA on a double-barreled summer tour that left the crowds stomping and chanting for more. The cross-country headline sweep was powered from beginning to end by a Meyer Sound LEO Family system with a wide wrap-around of LEO, LYON, and LEOPARD line arrays and with a pummeling low end delivered through an arced array of 1100‑LFC low frequency control elements.
At the helm of Godsmack’s live sound is FOH Engineer and Production Manager Scott Tkachuk, who has been on the road with the band since 2015. For this tour Tkachuk took charge of system selection, in consultation with Godsmack frontman Sully Erna, and their final decision came down to what would provide the throw and control needed for the demands of the tour.
“We had toured with a Meyer LEO rig before and we were amazed at how far it could throw while maintaining clarity and a sense of presence – of being right there with the band,” says Tkachuk.
According to Tkachuk, these qualities were most beneficial at the larger sheds with vast lawn areas that rely on distributed house delay systems to fill in for the far-flung fans.
“Some lawn systems are good, and some not so good,” summarizes Tkachuk, “but even some of the better ones are set up for mono and that defeats the whole purpose of painting a stereo image. We can have up to 8,000 people on the lawn and they need to experience what I’m hearing at front-of-house. With the LEO system we can shoot out into the lawns, holding a good stereo image and giving you the feeling that you’re only 50 feet from the stage.”
The tour’s default system configuration was anchored by dual front arrays of 12 LEO line array loudspeakers with four LYON line array loudspeakers underhung for downfill. Outfill arrays were 10-each LYON, and side wrap arrays comprised 12-each LEOPARD compact line array loudspeakers. Six more LEOPARD cabinets were available for front or peripheral fill as needed. Pummeling bass was supplied by the front arc of 18 1100-LFC low frequency control elements, further augmented by twin flown arrays of eight each 700-HP subwoofers.
Recognizing that the front pit can set the tone for the whole show, Tkachuk paid special attention to this area. “Some system designers let this fall by the wayside, but I want the experience down there to be just as good – if not better – than at front-of house,” he says. “That’s why I set up the four JM‑1P loudspeakers cross-firing across the front, almost like a separate club PA. The JM-1Ps are very high powered enclosures, so can really stick the screws to them. It gives you great stereo imaging and really keeps the crowd fired up in the front.”
Drive and optimization were entrusted to a Galileo Callisto loudspeaker management system with five processors, and the artist foldback system included eight MJF‑212A stage monitors.
Tkachuk mixed the Godsmack sets behind a Midas ProX console while veteran FOH engineer Tom Abraham worked the Shinedown portion of the show using a Yamaha PM10. Wireless systems were all Shure, with PSM-1000 units for IEMs and a mix of UHF-R and Axient Digital for the microphones.
Tkachuk gives a tip of the hat to systems engineer Erik Rogers for fine-tuning the LEO Family system and precisely conforming coverage to the venue of the day using the MAPP XT system design tool. He also credits monitor engineer Scott “Skitch” Canady and monitor systems tech Kelli O’Connor for keeping the band as happy onstage as the audience out front.
The Godsmack/Shinedown tour kicked off on July 2 in Clarkston, Michigan, spanned across the continent from Massachusetts to Southern California and South Carolina to Seattle before wrapping up in Sacramento on October 13.