Legendary country/pop artist Dolly Parton is performing across America, Europe, and Australia on the "Better Day World Tour" in support of her recently released album of the same name. FOH engineer and production manager Mike Fechner and monitor engineer Jason Glass, both of whom have been with Parton for several years, insisted on a Meyer Sound reinforcement system consisting of MILO and MICA line array loudspeakers.
For the US legs of the tour, Livonia, Mich.-based Thunder Audio provided a Meyer Sound system comprised of 24 MILO and 16 MICA line array loudspeakers; eight 700-HP subwoofers; eight UPJ-1P VariO loudspeakers; 18 MJF-212A stage monitors; and a Galileo loudspeaker management system. In Europe, equipment support came from Major Tom Ltd, while Coda Audio Services is supplying Meyer Sound equipment for the Australian concerts. A Countryman ISOMAX headset microphone is provided for Parton in all of her shows.
Systems Engineer Patrick Johnston describes Parton's performance, as "somewhere between concert and theatre. There's a lot of monologue and interaction with the crowd. Making the spoken word sound natural in larger venues can be a daunting task."
To that end, Meyer Sound was essential, says Fechner, who mixes the show on a Midas PRO6 console. "I can't say enough about Meyer Sound. It's very high fidelity, and for this show, where a good portion is speaking and storytelling, the vocal intelligibility, especially with a headset, is critical and has been quite a challenge over the years. MILO is smooth in the midrange, and it's perfect for this artist."
Glass, mixing monitors on a Midas PRO9 console, agrees. "The set ranges from energetic pop to bluegrass to light ballads," he explains. "The MJF-212A gives me all the punch and power I could ever need for a pop number. Then we go into a very light, quiet acoustic number, and all the sparkle you'd want from acoustic and bluegrass instruments, which—at any volume—projects perfectly to the artist. And then we jump right back into a high-energy number, and punch right through all the crowd cheering, with perfect fidelity."
Johnston summarizes: "Dolly's voice has to be pristine from the front row to the nosebleed seats. This is one of the only rigs that I feel is up to that task."