The Cure, whose enduring career is now entering its fourth decade, is currently out on the road with an L-Acoustics K1/K2 system supplied by London-based Britannia Row Productions, who have been with singer/guitarist Robert Smith and his bandmates since almost the very beginning.
Aside from a few short jaunts and various one-offs at major festivals, “The Cure Tour 2016”— which played 33 shows in North America this spring and is now journeying through 34 shows in 17 European countries — marks the first real outing for the band since the release of its 13th studio album, 4:13 Dream, and subsequent tour in 2008.
For this year’s worldwide tour, Britannia Row added a large quantity of new L-Acoustics products to its arsenal of gear, including K1, K1-SB, Kara, ARCS II, ARCS Wide, X8 and 5XT enclosures, plus the manufacturer’s new KS28 reference subwoofers and LA12X amplified controllers.
The band is fast repeating the success of its North American tour on its European/UK run as it performs 40 years of songs, mixing hits, rarities, favourites, and as yet unreleased tracks in a new stage production that culminates with three dates at London’s SSE Arena in early December.
The typical loudspeaker arrangement for the current tour leg features left and right main arrays of K1 over K2 down, plus hangs of K1-SB low-frequency extension enclosures flown behind each K1/K2 array.
Additional side hangs of K1 over K2 down address the far left and right seating sections, while dual arrays ARCS II cover the area behind the stage. Low-profile Kara enclosures spread out across the stage lip deliver front fill, with ARCS II cabinets on each side of the deck serving as stereo outfills. Ground-stacked KS28 subs anchor the show’s low end, and a combination of LA8 and LA12X amplified controllers power and process the entire loudspeaker complement.
The challenge, particularly on the US run, was to adapt the system to such a wide range of venues and their ever-changing environments, both indoors and out.
“Providing consistency day to day for Paul Corkett, the engineer at front of house, is paramount,” said Brit Row managing director Bryan Grant. “Going from large American arenas to scaled down college basketball floors, huge amphitheaters with extreme elevation, a flat green field site, and then back into sheds — often with dated ‘house’ lawn delays and low tin roofs — was what our technicians had to contend with week after week.”
According to Brit Row business development manager Dave Compton, L-Acoustics’ Soundvision was absolutely essential in making the 2016 tour a success. “Once the final system spec was confirmed, the majority of work was done well in advance of the tour starting,” he explained. “A model was created in Soundvision, containing all the system resources available for the tour, with speaker groups that included different array types, both flown and ground configurations, as well as multiple sub designs. This allowed for a quick start when preparing and working on designs for each particular venue.”
Compton concluded: “There is no question that Soundvision is extraordinarily powerful and extremely reliable, providing the user with an accurate means of simulation and the necessary platform to deliver consistency. It’s an essential and invaluable tool in any L-Acoustics speaker application and venue system design.”