I decided to go with LEO Family again because sonically this PA has everything I’m looking for. The high end is very controlled, and the low-mids translate smoothly and evenly throughout the largest arenas. You never have the problem of getting 200 feet out and having the sound fall apart. It’s coherent out to the far seats across the full frequency range.”
Rick Wright Jr.Production Manager and FOH Engineer, Jason Derulo
Riding a string of hit singles, from his chart-topping “Whatcha Say” and “Talk Dirty” feat. 2 Chainz to this year’s “Goodbye” with David Guetta feat. Nicki Minaj and Willy William, Jason Derulo blazed through European arenas this fall on his “2Sides World Tour.” To deliver Derulo’s incandescent blend of R&B, hip-hop and pop with intimacy and impact, production manager and FOH engineer Rick Wright Jr. relied on a Meyer Sound LEO Family reinforcement system as supplied by U.K.-based Wigwam Acoustics.
For Wright, who has mixed Derulo’s live shows for the past four years, the Meyer Sound rig was a welcome reprise of what he had experienced two years ago on the artist’s prior European tour.
“I decided to go with LEO Family again because sonically this PA has everything I’m looking for,” he says. “The high end is very controlled, and the low-mids translate smoothly and evenly throughout the largest arenas. You never have the problem of getting 200 feet out and having the sound fall apart. It’s coherent out to the far seats across the full frequency range.”
After working a number of festivals and one-offs with house systems, Wright says the LEO Family was like coming home. “With this system everything meshes together,” he says. “I’m not hunting or searching for things. It all comes back the way I remember it.”
Wright recalls first hearing a LEO Family system while working with Show Systems in Orlando. “They were doing a show at Sea World using a LYON-based system with the Steve Miller Band,” he recalls, “and I was blown away by the power and clarity. The coherence and fidelity clearly defined all the subtle differences in the mix — between two guitars or between voices of two background singers, for example. LEO Family has been at the top of my rider list ever since.”
In the larger arena configuration, the Wigwam-supplied LEO Family allowed deployment of 11 LEO over four LYON line array loudspeakers, with 24 additional LYON plus 16 LEOPARD line array loudspeakers available for side hangs and front fills. Bass impact was supplied by dual flown cardioid arrays of six-each 900-LFC low frequency control elements along with floor-stacked, 3-high cardioid arrays of 12 total 1100-LFC low frequency control elements. For stage side fill, three LEOPARD line arrays were flown under a single 900-LFC.
Wigwam Acoustics also had supplied the LEO Family rig for the 2016 tour, and that prior experience prompted Wright to call Wigwam Contracts Manager Geoff Muir when the 2018 tour was first proposed. “Geoff has been incredibly responsive to whatever I need, even when I call in the middle of the night!” he laughs. “We had originally scheduled this tour in March, and when I rescheduled for the fall I was still working on what I wanted for front-of-house just a week out. When I finally decided, they had it all prepped in the shop and ready to go the next day. So, nothing but thumbs up and pats on the back to Wigwam.”
Wright also gives kudos to his Wigwam crew on the road, with a special nod to Systems Tech Bill Laing who tends to the tech details along with monitor tech Richard “Cookie” Cook and PA/stage tech Nick “Mystic” Davis. Working directly for tour production are monitor engineer Evan Lineberry, Pro Tools and Recording Engineer Ben Hogarth, Vocal Systems Engineer Ben Briggs, FOH Assistant Ivan Zambrano, and Backline Techs Ethan Novak and Wally Sparzak.
Wright mixes Derulo behind a DiGiCo SD7 augmented by his hand-picked outboard gear, including three Midas XL-48 preamps and Universal Audio Apollo interfaces. The vocal chain for Derulo includes a Neve 1073 preamp, an Empirical Labs Distressor and a Manley Vox Box. Derulo currently favors a Telefunken M81 capsule on his Shure wireless handheld, though Wright has experimented with an SE V7 capsule and is also considering a DPA d:facto capsule.
“I’m always experimenting with front end gear, always trying to get a better sound,” admits Wright. “And that’s another thing I like about this Meyer PA. When I try something new at front-of-house, I can immediately tell if it’s better or worse. There’s no hiding anything. It’s the perfect litmus test.”
The European leg of Jason Derulo’s 2Sides World Tour kicked off September 19 and wrapped up on October 30, with 27 shows scheduled across Ireland, the U.K. and Western and Eastern Europe.
Since launching his solo career in 2009, the multi-platinum superstar has sold more than 30 million singles worldwide, including the top-charting “Whatcha Say,” “Want to Want Me,” and “Talk Dirty” feat. 2 Chainz. His live performances are known for consummate showmanship that fuses high energy dance and physical sensuality with dazzling techno-spectacle.