Tori Amos and Nexo Geo - A Show Report
(The following article was written by Dave McKenna of Mainline Marketing, one of Nexo's leading rep firms in the USA.)
This past Saturday night I had the incredible opportunity of seeing Tori Amos live in concert. The King Center of Melbourne, FL, played host while SSE Hire of Birmingham, England, supplied the Nexo GEO system. The 2,000 seat venue provided an intimate setting for this incredibly-produced show. I attended the show with 2 friends who happen to be my former teachers. They teach MIDI/ DAW at Full Sail and are certainly no strangers to the touring world, having toured the world with Mary J. Blige as her MIDI technicians. To say there were critics in attendance would be the understatement of the decade. Their expectations were high as I wouldn't stop talking about GEO until the lights went down.
My original intention for attending the show was to see and hear GEO in action, but I was served a double whammy. This was my first time attending a Tori Amos show, and what a show it was. Her intricate playing style, melodic vocals, and dark lyrics made for an incredible performance. It was truly an emotional experience not to be missed. There's nothing more mesmerizing than to see a talented artist put on an exceptional performance. On the other hand, there's nothing worse than poor production that can take the life, excitement, and energy right out of a show. Fortunately, this was definitely not the case. The lights were dazzling and professionally done, and they only further complemented the beautiful set. No corners were cut here, folks, especially when it came to sound.
Due to lighting and the tiny size of GEO, it could barely be seen during the show. The subwoofers were actually mounted behind the arrays. This made for a very aesthetically appealing speaker set-up. Of course, visually, there was nothing that could be done about the pre-existing house JBL Concert-Series clusters. As for how the show sounded, I can honestly say that it was the best-sounding concert I have ever heard. Call it a biased opinion, but my two non-partial industry companions agreed. The drums were punchy and sat perfectly in the mix, allowing the piano to fill the room in a way I didn't think could be done. The bass was thick and full, and you could certainly feel it. Her vocals were pristine, and you could hear every little breath she made. It literally gave me goose-bumps. We were off-centered and up in the balcony, but it felt like we were right in the sweet spot. I closed my eyes at several points during the show and it sounded like a recording. My witty friend even turned to me at one point and said, "Nearfield monitoring at 200 feet from a balcony, what a concept." I didn't get a chance to "walk the room" very much as there were only 2 exits per row in the theatre, right...and left. Based on the other places I did get to briefly stand, and from what we were sonically experiencing in our seats, I can only conclude that the GEO succeeded in producing even coverage throughout. Of course, without a great engineer and staff behind them, any system can sound horrible. FOH Engineer Mark Howley is truly a genius at work. The show was perfectly mixed with effects used when necessary, always complementary, never overbearing.
After the show ended, I had the opportunity to spend some time with John Penn, Managing Director and co-founder of SSE Audio Group. He introduced us to some members of the crew and then took us down and showed us the gear. There were 15 S805's per side, 1 S830 per side, and 5 CD12's subwoofers per side. NEXO PS-8's were used as front-fills (which I never even noticed until John pointed them out). All required NEXO processing was used as well as CAMCO Vortex amps. I inquired about the CD12's being mounted behind the physical line-array, and John explained how with the cardioid pattern of the box, it really didn't matter. He certainly was right as one would never imagine that all that bass came from 12" subs. SSE had custom road cases made that hold 4 S805's. They lower the boxes right into the cases, 4 at a time, which makes for quick and efficient setup and tear-down. When I asked John if they knew the venue before they arrived, he told me that they didn't. They arrived earlier that day, input all necessary info into GEOsoft (GEO's proprietary array design software), and voila. John introduced us to Mark Howley, the man behind the board. After complimenting him on his mix, he stated that he typically hates PA's but he loves the GEO. That is a bold statement coming from a man who has worked with Tori since 1994, mixing and recording 3 of her studio albums.
John, Mark, and the rest of the crew were true gentlemen and masters of their work. It was an honor to meet them and get to see NEXO products at work, in the best way possible. I entered this industry for my love of music and concerts. It's events like this, and the people that are involved with them, that make me proud to represent such a great line of products. Hats off to everyone at NEXO, SSE Audio Group, and the rest of the Tori Amos crew for giving us an amazing concert experience.
For further information:
David B. McKenna
Tel : 407 328-8569