Adele gigs are not known for virtuoso musicians, high-tech special effects or complex dance choreography. Audiences from around the world flock to arenas to see, or rather hear, one thing: that voice. Production on the London singer’s world tour has therefore focused on her strongest asset, with Black Box Music providing the perfect tool for achieving that focus: an L-Acoustics K2 system.
The show design dictated that audio equipment stay invisible, yet provide powerful, clear sound and, above all, be unfailingly reliable. As FOH Engineer Dave Bracey noted, “It’s a classy show and, even more than usual, nothing is allowed to go wrong.”
“Designing the system was a challenge because there is a very clean look to the triangular main stage and strict requirements for sight lines and projection, so we had to fly all the K2 very high,” said System Designer and Technician Ulf Oeckel, who, like Bracey, had previously worked on tours by Pink and Cher. “The K2 was the perfect choice because, despite the sight line requirements, it gives us the projection needed to deliver Adele’s voice to each and every fan in the audience.”
To make things even more challenging, tickets for the show were in such high demand that seating was arranged in a 270º arc.
The production features 150 L-Acoustics K2 loudspeakers. The main stage has L-R hangs of 10 K2’s each, with four K1-SB subwoofers on top providing low end extension, plus side-hang arrays of an additional 18 K2’s per side. To cover the extremities of the 270º arc, additional hangs of 12 K2 per side are used. Eight stacks of three L-Acoustics SB28 subwoofers each are spread in an arc beneath the stage in a cardioid pattern.
In addition to the main stage, the tour also features a B stage in the centre of the venue, which meant the audio system had to combine the main stage standard, end-on arena setup with a 360º system for the B stage, covering the entire audience. The B stage system comprises 72 further K2’s flown in four hangs of 18. The entire system is powered by L-Acoustics LA8 amplified controllers.
Despite the challenges of the audio production, the L-Acoustics system has made a significant contribution to the tour’s universally positive reviews. “K2 was the perfect choice for this tour as it keeps all the transitions and overlap between the stages as clean as possible,” Oeckel continued. “We are getting excellent results all the way to the very back row. And of course we have had great support from L-Acoustics throughout.”
“The tour has been fantastic,” added Bracey, “Adele is singing incredibly, we’ve had great reviews and there have been lots of comments about the sound. It’s one of the best sounding shows I’ve ever mixed, if not the best.”