Luciano Ligabue is not one who believes in doing things by half measures. In recent years, the raunchy rocker has staged a concert at Verona's Arena, where he avoided installing PA towers by having the sound system flown up and over from two huge truck cranes parked outside the arena. Another mega event was a pair of concerts at Milan's San Siro soccer stadium with a stage set occupying the entire length of the pitch.
This year, he decided to go one better, and as The Edge went to press 'Liga' was set to perform on four stages (designed by Igor Ronchese), at Campovolo Airport in Reggio Emilia to an audience in excess of 160,000.
Designed by Claudio Trotta, event production was by Barley Arts and Friends & Partners in conjunction with Riserva Rossa, the artist's management; executive producer was Trotta's sister Cristina.
Audio contractor for the huge event was Renato Fumasoli, and the Martin Audio Wavefront line array system installed at the venue ranked second only in size to that used for the World Youth Rally with Pope John Paul II in Rome: as in Rome, the line array systems have been designed by Martin Audio's Senior Project Designer Jim Cousins using Martin's DISPLAY™ prediction software.
In addition to the 48 x W8L system Fumasoli already had in house, he dry hired the remaining systems from Capital Sound Hire and FX Music (UK), D-Rent (Belgium), Ampco Pro Rent (Netherlands) and Sirius (Germany).
The majority of the show was set for the 270ft wide 78ft high main stage (with the singer and his current band), connected by a pair of 100-yard catwalks with the Theatre and Solo stages (both 45ft x 30ft), where Ligabue was scheduled to perform with special guests and alone with acoustic guitar respectively. At the opposite end of the concert site, behind the mix platform, the Vintage stage would host the artist's show with his original group plus support bands.
The system for the Main stage consisted of two hangs on either side of the stage, each with 16 x W8L 3-way line array systems, plus five delay arrays; of these, the outermost on either side of the site has 14 x W8L systems and the three centre ones 16 x W8LC Compacts each. The PA for the 180ft x 45ft high Vintage stage, facing the main set, was almost identical, but without the outermost delay arrays. The three central delays were mounted one on either side of three 48ft high 'double' audio towers. The two smallest stages have six W8LC at around head height on either side of the stage, connected to the Main stage system. Excluding the W8LM's used on side fill, front fill, near field and catwalk duty the PA tally is 156 x W8L and 120 x W8LC.
The entire system was under the supervision of Fumasoli, his son Enrico and Luca Morson, who optimised the systems using Martin Audio's ViewPoint™software.
Ligabue's long-time FOH engineer Paolo 'Red' Talami, has used the Wavefront systems on festival duty many times in the past, having attended the original system demo back in 2000.
Noting that this was the first time a top Italian artist had used the line array set-up for a solo concert, he enthused, 'The feature I appreciate most with W8L systems is the great combination of line array coverage and that good 'healthy' Martin rock sound! The enclosures don't 'condition' my work in any way, as has been the case with other brands I've used.'
Talami also confided that Ligabue is so fond of the 'Martin sound' that he has even installed Martin systems as monitors in his private recording studio.
Stefano Rocchi, of Martin Audio distributors, Audiosales, provided full product support, including Martin Audio/Lab Gruppen amplification.
Summarised Claudio Trotta, who was hoping to set a record with the show, 'If not the biggest, the event will definitely be among the world's top three or four as far as concert attendance for a single artist is concerned.'