2023 Avenged Sevenfold: Avenged Sevenfold’s “Life is But a Dream Tour” Comes to Life with LMG Touring
Unleashing A7X’s Highly Anticipated New Avant-Garde Album
LMG Touring Enables Visual Experience for Avenged Sevenfold’s “Life is But a Dream Tour”
Famed heavy metal band Avenged Sevenfold has concluded the second leg of their “Life is But a Dream… North American Tour”, promoting their latest album, “Life is But a Dream…”. Accompanied by special guest Falling in Reverse, the band delivered an unparalleled visual experience using innovative technological solutions. LMG Touring had the opportunity to interview the production and creative team, gaining insights into the tour’s design and execution, which perfectly complemented A7X’s highly anticipated first album release in seven years. From kicking off in June at Kia Forum in L.A. to balancing amphitheaters and arena shows, the tour showcased technology provider LMG Touring’s versatility and Avenged Sevenfold’s raw energy, underscoring their commitment to delivering an unfiltered live experience for their fans.
“We Love You” Jordan Coopersmith
The highly anticipated album released by A7X can only be described as avant-garde, featuring an eclectic new style that parallels the growth the artists have experienced throughout the years. LMG Touring provided audio, video, lighting, LED, and Disguise gx3 media servers to showcase the performance of the multi-platinum headliners. “This tour differed from the last ones with their extended break facilitating a more refined and dialed-in show. The visual elements of the performance were influenced by the band’s altered musical direction, reflecting a deliberate shift toward a stark, modern, and minimalist aesthetic.” says A7X Production Designer Jordan Coopersmith.
Coopersmith has been an integral part of the A7X team and one of the driving forces behind the tour, witnessing the artistic evolution of the band over the span of 15 years. His exceptional rapport and close working relationship with the band served as the foundation for their streamlined creative process.
Sculpting Reality with Disguise gx3 Media Servers
During the initial phase of A7X’s “Life is but a Dream Tour,” the venues primarily consisted of arenas featuring floor projection and projection mapping, later adapting to amphitheater venues with ROE Vanish Walls. Implementing projection mapping on the Holonet posed a considerable challenge, prompting LMG Touring to conduct projection studies at the project’s inception in collaboration with D3 programmer Rich Porter.
Utilizing 16 projectors, including IMAG, projection mapping brought a new dimension to the performance.
Craig Mitchell - Managing Director, LMG Touring
“We used a comprehensive plan with Rich Porter using Mapping Matter to ensure we were hitting the right angles for the projectors to illuminate the screens every night and doing that consistently throughout the tour.”
The Disguise gx3 media servers played a pivotal role in the tour, providing powerful capabilities for content management and rendering. D3 Programmer Rich Porter brought on by LMG Touring marked his first tour with the group, employing Disguise gx3 media servers with NOTCH to bring the animate tour’s visual elements. NOTCH allowed for real-time effects, from smoke synced with the artist’s movements and dynamic integration of the band as silhouetted performers to the band burning alive.
Projection mapping implemented on the Holonet and stage floor ensured that the projections could penetrate through ambient lighting and haze, avoiding a dim show. Sourced by LMG Touring, the Holonet’s gain of 0.3 ensured that the content was bright and opaque for a crisp image. Its usage added an intimate dimension to the experience, making fans feel like an integral part of the show during content-heavy moments. Managing Director of LMG Touring Craig Mitchell described it as “a real wow moment when these giant skeletal hands reach out to greet you.”
This careful consideration of angles and the ability to rig projectors independently showcased the attention to detail in the production process. The result transformed the stage into a dynamic canvas with visuals responding in real time to match the energy of the band.
The use of NOTCH to overlay real-time generative effects added an extra layer to the show. “Members were on fire, adding another layer and texture to the show you’re seeing,” Mitchell remarks. This was made possible by the Disguise gx3 servers, which allowed for the creation and rendering of high-quality visual content in real time. Porter adds, “The combination of power and outputs provided by the gx3 servers was unmatched. Throughout the tour, we successfully managed eight SDI feeds for projectors, 4K feeds for LED screens, and still had the processing power available for complex live effects. There’s nothing else on the market that can currently match the Disguise gx3 servers for our requirements.”
Ryan McKinnon - Animator
“As an animator, I found the scalability and real-time rendering capabilities of the gx3 servers to be incredibly valuable in creating dynamic and visually stunning experiences for the audience”
says Animator Ryan McKinnon who previously worked with A7X to create their “We Love You” music video.
The challenge of coordinating visuals across numerous displays was resolved through the multi-output support of the Disguise servers. Employing a technical configuration that included 16 projectors and LED screens, Porter worked closely with the team to create a unified delivery map. Leveraging the Disguise feed map feature, they were able to split the content across the various screens with precision.
As the tour transitioned to its second leg in an outdoor amphitheater, LMG Touring shifted from projection to LED technology, introducing the ROE Vanish Walls to elevate the visual experience. Adapting to amphitheaters necessitated a lightweight solution with blow-through capabilities, ensuring impeccable visuals in outdoor settings. The stage backdrop featured 128 ROE CB8 Full Tile LED panels, served as an ideal backdrop for detailed visual displays. 320 ROE Vanish 8T transparent LED panels were integrated, creating transparent or semi-transparent sections on the stage and allowing for creative effects.
The video setup includes four Panasonic AK-UC3000 4K broadcast cameras for clear footage of the performance.
Coopersmith emphasizes the Vanish wall’s transparent and powerful output. “The V8 wall provided a transparent and powerful output that truly elevated the overall visual impact of the concert. It made our lives so much easier and allowed our Lighting Designer, Ben Ward, to unleash his creativity without any constraints.”
Karol Luczkiewicz, Orlando’s LMG Touring Account Executive, highlights the strategic advantages of the V8 wall—an invaluable asset for creating a diverse visual palette within a compact rig. “With seamless integration of camera content, dynamic backlighting, and a range of graphics on the screen, the V8 wall is perfect for unveiling a multitude of looks throughout the show.”
Every video wall, including the stage floor which functioned as a massive video panel, featured choreographed lighting and visuals, offering a strong sense of intent behind A7X’s setlist for this album cycle. SGPS provided automation for the center of the stage, allowing for design capabilities to blossom from the center of the stage between V8 walls.
Oscar Sturup - Director of Audio Systems, LMG Touring
“For our speaker system, we’ve partnered with L-Acoustics, a preferred choice for major tours and events globally. As a certified provider, we were able to offer cutting-edge audio technology, reinforcing our commitment to delivering unparalleled quality in our services.”
“The importance of the sound in a live performance cannot be understated, and Bob’s unique approach brings a vintage charm to the digital world,” added Sturup.
“It’s not every day you see such a unique setup at FOH. Usually, the preference is to be as compact as possible, but Bob’s love for analog gear really added a depth of character to the mix.”
Bob had a double 18RU rack full of outboard analog gear, with items such as Universal Audio 1176s, Distressors, Chandler TG1 Limiter, Bricasti M7, API 2500+, Q2 Audio F760-RS Compressor, among others.
An SSL L550+ console for Strakele provided a combination of premium audio processing and quality, advanced routing capabilities, and user-friendly design, delivering top-notch live sound experiences for the A7X tour.
“While every mixing board has its functions, this one stands out for its reliability. The company, Solid State Logic, is dedicated to delivering a dependable product, and it perfectly suits my workflow,” said Strakele. A unique touch to his setup was a small stuffed cat named Jalapeño, a constant companion on every tour since Strakele’s daughter snuck him into his suitcase when she was very young. Adorning Jalapeño with a feathered pink hat, Strakele added offered a charming contrast to the powerful audio technology in the world of heavy metal, perfectly emulating A7X’s newest album and its eclectic nature.
Wisycom and Monitor Package
LMG Touring provided a cutting-edge monitor package for Monitor Engineer Danny Badorine. Badorine spearheaded the use of the Wisycom wireless in-ear monitoring system. Wisycom, renowned for its exceptional sound quality and versatility, stands out as a premium choice among wireless in-ear monitoring systems.
Sturup, sharing insights into the tech, expressed, “The Wisycom IEM system has become very popular within the touring industry because of its flexibility and robustness. We employed 6 Wisycom MTK952 transmitters that gave us 12 stereo channels fed from an Avid S6L that provided a superb quality wireless in-ear monitor system for the entire band.”
“The primary reason we chose Wisycom was because of its bandwidth, allowing us to work with a broader range of frequencies as the tour went from city to city. As a bonus, its exceptional clarity and stereo separation makes it a premium solution for IEMs.”
Each performer and crew member wore Wisycom MPR50 receivers, delivering Wisycom’s distinct sound quality.
Highlighting the unique setup, Sturup stated, “Because we had multiple digital elements in the system, we needed to sync all audio device’s clocks, so we chose an external Antelope OCX-HD master clock, to ensure precise timing and synchronization.”
Playback seamlessly entered the system via MADI, keeping the signal in the digital realm for both FOH and MON.
The wireless microphone setup included 20 channels of Shure Axient, using handhelds for vocals and beltpacks on each guitar for freedom of movement.
Illuminating the Evolution of A7X
The “Life Is But a Dream Tour” showcases a massive lighting rig that not only enhances the visual experience but also reflects the band’s musical evolution. Production Designer Jordan Coopersmith and Lighting Director Ben Ward collaborated to accentuate the band’s evolution towards a more modern and minimalist aesthetic, integrating vibrant energy and fiery effects to resonate with the band’s dynamic stage presence.
The tour’s lighting rig features a variety of new technology from leading manufacturers including Robe and Hazebase, each chosen for their unique capabilities and creative possibilities.
Marc Cloutier - Director of lighting, LMG
“The Robe iForte fixtures were a groundbreaking addition to this tour. Being LMG Touring’s first tour to feature them, these brand-new lights were absolutely killer in performance, effectively piercing through the dense fog which was a necessity given the massive amount of stage atmosphere we were working with”
The tour’s lighting rig included GLP Impression X4 Bar 20s to create that virtual wall of light that framed the stage area. Initially integrating LED screens with projection, the updated setup featuring the V8 wall provided enhanced visual clarity in various venues, from indoor arenas to outdoor amphitheaters. The rest of the lighting rig was complemented by Elation DARTZ 360’s and GLP JDC1 strobes all controlled by a GrandMA3 Full Size console package.
The utilization of Hazebase fog machines throughout the rig allowed the designer to create a multi-dimensional experience for the audience. Foggers were flown up in the lighting rig and placed below the stage floor, allowing the atmosphere to rise or fall as desired.
“We integrated Hazebase Classic2 and HighPower2 fog machines to add some dimensional depth to the show. Their strategic positioning worked in concert with the lighting and video elements to create a layered, dynamic environment.” adds Cloutier.
The lighting design complements the band’s setlist, which includes fan favorites like “Afterlife,” “Hail to the King,” “Buried Alive,” and “Nightmare”.
From Studio to Stage
LMG Touring was able to prepare the entire rig in their Las Vegas studio before it went to rehearsals. The LMG Vegas studio accommodates a typical 60 ft. X 40 ft. arena stage with wings, totaling over 8,500 square feet.
“The experience of hosting Avenged in our studio space was nothing short of a whirlwind, offering immense benefits throughout the entire creative process. From conception to the tour, we had the unique advantage of working and experimenting in the rehearsal space while the band was here,” remarked Craig Mitchell, LMG Touring’s Managing Director of Touring. LMG Touring’s strategically located Vegas rehearsal space, just a 4-hour drive from LA, provided Avenged Sevenfold ample time to fine-tune their sound and experiment creatively.
The production and creative team expressed how everyone’s involvement in A7X’s “Life is But a Dream Tour” was essential to the success of the tour.
“Working with Josh Gallagher from Comix was an invaluable experience for us.” stated Coopersmith. “His ability to navigate building show content from scratch, without clear references, demonstrated a quality that’s hard to define. Josh not only understood our vision but also had a way of extracting ideas from both myself and the singer. He streamlined the creative process to a point where everyone involved was not only satisfied, but genuinely excited with the outcome.”
Jordan Coppersmith - Production Designer, a7x
“I’d also like to commend Craig Mitchell from LMG Touring for his instrumental role in making our vision a reality.”
“His efforts set the tone for the entire project, turning conceptual visions into tangible results when I was uncertain about the process. And Kevin Maas from LMG Touring… he was nothing short of amazing, juggling numerous responsibilities. He handled everything from CAD drawings to running a genie lift.”
Each person played a vital role, contributing to the overall success of the project showcasing the A7X eclectic album. “D3 operator Rich Porter has been priceless.” Coopersmith beamed. “His genuine passion for his work is what sets him apart. While many shy away from challenges, Rich welcomes them with enthusiasm. Whether it’s remapping for a festival or reprogramming the show, he always has a positive attitude and eagerness to take on tasks.”
Porter emphasized, “Working on Avenged Sevenfold’s “Life is But a Dream Tour” has been an incredible experience. The collaboration with the talented content producers and the support from LMG Touring has been invaluable. We’ve been able to deliver a visually exciting show, pushing the limits and creating an unforgettable experience.”
Tour Setup 1:
- 74 x Elation DARTZ 360
- 73 x GLP JDC1 Strobe
- 86 x Impression X4 Bar 20
- 36 x Robe iForte
Tour Setup 2:
- 60 x Elation DARTZ 360
- 73 x GLP JDC1 Strobe
- 95 x GLP Impression X4 Bar 20
- 36 x Robe iForte
Tour Setup 1:
- 110 x 1
- 110 x Vanish 8T
- 16 x 1
- 16 x Panasonic PT-RQ32K
- 7 x Robo Cam
- 2 x Long Throw
- 2 x Handheld
Tour Setup 2:
- 128 x ROE CB8 – Full Tile
- 320 x ROE Vanish 8T
- 4 x Panasonic AK-UC3000 4K
- 3 x Panasnoic UE150 PTZ
Tour Setup 1:
- 8 x Hazebase Classic2
- 4 x Hazebase HighPower2
Tour Setup 2:
- 4 x Hazebase Classic2
- 4 x Hazebase HighPower2
- 2 x Grand MA3 Full Size
- 3 x Grand MA 2 NPU
- 3 x Grand MA 8Port Node
- 4 x SSL Live L550 Plus
- 5 x Avid S6L – 32D
- (1) Solid State Logic L550+
- (1) Avid S6L
- (20) Channels of Shure Axient
Wireless IEM System
- (12) Stereo Channels of Wisycom MTK952
- 36 x L-Acoustics K2
- 24 x L-Acoustics K2
- 18 x L-Acoustics KS-28
- 16 x L-Acoustics K1-SB
- 12 x L-Acoustics Kara II
Author: Sara Weaver
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