The All-Star NBA tribute at L.A.’s Shrine Auditorium for former Laker Magic Johnson—which featured teammates from his era and current players such as Shaquille O’Neal, along with Earth, Wind & Fire, OutKast, Jessica Simpson, dancer Savion Glover, musical director David Foster and others—presented special audio challenges for audio supervisor Graham Thornton and his crew from Delicate Productions (Camarillo, Calif.): “The unusual thing about the Shrine is that the balcony is bigger than the main floor, and because of that, the back of the main floor is in the shadow of the balcony, so a single cluster doesn’t work because of the overhang and dead spots created by the balcony.
“What we did was to fly two clusters per side, one low and one high,” Thornton continued. “We used five cabinets of W8Ls flown very low and a cluster of seven W8Ls flown very high tilted back for the balconies. They fly from a truss that’s run between the stage and the sofitt at the front of the stage on the same line but on a different plane. And we have a center cluster of W8LC, which is aimed at the seats in the center between rows five and 20. Martin Audio’s new W8L line array generation is unique in that it’s the only horn-loaded system, giving us exceptional pattern control, which is necessary at the Shrine because there are so many flat surfaces. We can hit just the seats instead of the walls, which reflect back. In fact, one of the compliments was from the engineer who mixed the TV show who said the P.A. system was completely transparent he barely noticed it being there.”
The whole Martin Audio lineup for the ceremonies and concert comprised 24 Wavefront W8L cabinets overall for the main P.A.; five Wavefront W8LC cabinets for the center cluster; six EM26 full-range compact speakers for front-fills; four Martin WT3s for left and right-fills; and eight W8LS subs; a BSX sub bass speaker; 12 LE12J monitors; and 12 LE700 monitors.
Other gear included a Yamaha DM2000 48-channel digital console as the production console, a DiGiCo D5 Live 112EX as the music cnsole, Brooke Siren Systems EQs and crossovers; TC Electronic and Lexicon processing; Crest 8001 and 7001 power amps; and Shure, Countryman, Audio-Technica and AKG mics.