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Lionel Richie Out With JBL

Dubai’s Aviation Club, a tennis stadium that doubles as a live performance venue in the U.A.E. (United Arab Emirates), recently hosted Lionel Richie in concert. Vibe entertainment L.L.C., a growing events company in the Persian Gulf region, promoted the concert for a 6,000-person audience. Sun Light & Sound Productions provided a JBL VerTec line array system.

“The Aviation Club venue has hosted many prestigious concerts, such as Sting and Pink Floyd. Architecturally, it resembles an arena, with high-rise seating areas that surround the stage, covering 180 degrees,” explains Tariq Khalid, technical director for Sun Light & Sound Productions. “Due to size constraints of the venue, the far-side seats had to be sold to meet the demand for tickets to Lionel Richie’s show. This presented interesting challenges for the sound crew, which we met with a system design providing a 180-degree coverage pattern with four separate suspended arrays: two main hangs and two separately controlled side hangs for out-fill, along with improved low-frequency array control.”

The main sound reinforcement system comprised 20 JBL VerTec VT4888 midsize line array elements flown to a height of 33 feet and a total of 18 VT4880 full-size subwoofers, which were positioned directly beneath the suspended line arrays. The JBL arrays were powered by a combination of Crown MA3600 and Crown MA5002 amplifiers. Additional JBL enclosures were used as front-fills for the VIP audience seating zones. Signal processing for system management included dbx DriveRack 480s and a BSS FDS-366.

“The Lionel Richie concert was an interesting blend of vocal ballads and a powerful rhythm section, with rich low-frequency reproduction requirements,” notes Khalid. “We drove the JBL VerTec subwoofers with an auxiliary bus feed to increase separation control and improve very low-frequency sound quality. This proved to be very successful, and even gained us a mention from the local newspaper the following day, referring to the ‘more advanced sound system’ which reproduced ‘every tone of Lionel Richie’s husky vocals, like melting chocolate.’ Our system and our crew performed flawlessly.”

“JBL relies on professional, regional firms like Sun Light & Sound Productions to help uphold our worldwide reputation for premium fidelity and concert-quality sound reinforcement, through the correct application of our products in the field, and to meet the needs of international artists who specify the use of our products worldwide” noted David Scheirman, Vice President, Tour Sound for JBL Professional. “Tariq Khalid and his team do an excellent job of both.”

Sun Light & Sound Productions can be reached via e-mail at [email protected]. For more information on the JBL gear, visit Get your touring update at