One of the most beloved classic rock acts of the 1970s, Heart continues to draw massive crowds of diehard fans to their spectacular live shows. In July, the band headed out on their “Love Alive Tour”, playing alongside a roster of all-star supporting acts, including Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, Brandi Carlile, Sheryl Crow, Elle King and Lucie Silvas. To wow fans across the country, the tour required world-class sound and lighting solutions.
To deliver a memorable experience for Heart’s loyal fans, Sound Image, one of the country’s largest tour audio suppliers, is deploying a JBL by HARMAN VTX Series line array system in conjunction with Martin lighting fixtures.
The main line array system on the Love Alive Tour consists of 52 VTX V25 loudspeakers. Loaded with dual 15-inch Differential Drive woofers, four angled midrange transducers and three D2 compression drivers, the three-way V25 delivers powerful, clear sound from 35 Hz to 18 kHz. To ensure powerful full-range sound, 24 JBL S28 dual 18-inch subwoofers are flown in the line arrays as well, providing tight low-end response for bass and drums. For extra front-fill coverage, Sound Image relies on VerTec VT4886 subcompact passive loudspeakers to supplement the main arrays.
With a load-in time of 9:00 AM and three acts to set up for before Heart’s 3:00 PM sound check each day, efficiency is paramount for the Sound Image team. JBL’s Line Array Calculator software and Array Link mobile app allow technicians to quickly and accurately model the sound system’s behavior in a variety of configurations. The ability to predict and adjust system performance before plugging anything in helps Sound Image dial in the perfect sound quicker than ever, saving precious time in their packed schedule.
The core lighting rig on the Love Alive Tour consists of 50 Martin MAC Viper Profile moving-head fixtures. With an impressive 26,000-Lumen output at 1000 watts, the Viper Profile provides extraordinary brightness, surpassing its 1200-watt rivals while consuming far less power. Its 140mm front lens and super-fast 1:4 zoom with auto-linked focus allow it to shift from fat to narrow beams in an instant. With vibrant CMY color mixing, an eight-slot color wheel, two five-slot rotating gobo wheels, an animated FX wheel, four-facet prism and more, the Viper Profile is a true all-in-one fixture. An assortment of 32 other Martin fixtures provides additional effects throughout the show.
“When I look at a system, I’m looking at it for the coverage of the amphitheater or arena or stadium that we’re playing,” said Tim Rosner, Tour Production Manager for Heart. “The VTX system I really like, because in the last four years we’ve played with multiple bands and multiple engineers in a wide variety of venues. And I really like the packaging of it—I like the weight, the way it goes up, the way it rigs, and most importantly, the way it sounds.”
“This is the first time that I’ve toured with the VTX V25,” said Gary Hartung, Front of House Engineer, Sound Image. “It’s a very big, fat, warm PA. I like the results I get with toms, with drums, with guitars. I tend to like 15-inch speakers, so it gives me the results that I tend to like. The aspect I like best on the VTX V25 is the even coverage. I find that from front to back, side to side, it’s extremely even.”
“My process for tuning a system is to do as much work in the software as I can, and then take it out of the software into the environment and verify it,” said Matt McQuade, Audio Systems Engineer, Sound Image. “I feel that by doing it that way, I’m dealing with a lot of the electro-acoustic stuff in the software, and then when I get it out into the wild, I’m really just having to worry about the room and how the system is deployed for that day. So then, I’ll use Smaart and I’ll verify that the system is functioning the way it was predicted to.”
“I’ve used Martin fixtures for a good while, since back in the early 2000s,” said Ed ‘Taz’ Gardner, Lighting Director for Heart. “I switched from another company over to Martin just because it was a lot more reliable. They’re very dependable on the road, and I’ve always had good looks with them. Lighting brings a lot of different things to the show, and I would say it brings a lot of emotion that goes along with the music.”