Fresh from producing Neil Young’s best album in 15 years, the vividly atmospheric Le Noise, Daniel Lanois has undertaken a new multimedia performance and temporary installation that employs more than 100 Meyer Sound self-powered loudspeakers.
Located this past weekend in Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square, ‘Later That Night at the Drive-in’ is part of the annual Scotiabank Nuit Blanche celebrations. Lanois’s creation incorporates layered video images, lighting effects and a specially-composed soundtrack of live and recorded music that combines to evoke - in the producer’s words - “an enchanted forest of sound”.
“I’ve been dreaming about this for years,” said Lanois, whose countless credits include the production of Bob Dylan’s Time Out of Mind, Emmylou Harris’s Wrecking Ball and Peter Gabriel’s So, as well as a number of acclaimed solo albums. “At some rock shows, if you’re not in the lucky first 30 rows you don’t get full fidelity sound. Here, no one gets a bad seat.”
Audio design for the all-night event was entrusted to Lanois’s long-time engineer, Mark Howard, who also mixed sound through a 28.24 system. Working in close consultation with Meyer Sound Design Services, Howard devised a distributed, tower-borne layout utilising 12 CQ-1 loudspeakers, plus a total of 60 UPA-1P and UPJ-1P VariO loudspeakers to create 24 “sound pods” scattered throughout Nathan Phillips Square. Low-end was provided by 20 650-P and eight 700-HP subwoofers, with system drive from a Galileo loudspeaker management system including five Galileo 616 processors. All Meyer Sound equipment was supplied by the Toronto office of PRG.
In addition to specially-composed music, Lanois’s Nuit Blanche event also featured performances by Trixie Whitley and Black Dub, as well as four songs from Le Noise.
Coordinating Nuit Blanche on behalf of the City of Toronto was Julian Sleath, who said it was “terrific that Meyer Sound has jumped on board with the Lanois project, and we appreciate all the company has done to ensure it will be a great success. Once again, Meyer has shown why it is my favourite audio manufacturer.”