Despite several international stars recently turning the gig down due to growing political unrest in the area, Anastacia ignored the media slur and became the first major artist to take to the stage in the very off-the-map location of Kyrenia, northern Cyprus. She went on to belt out an hour-long set of her hits to an extremely appreciative 1,500-strong crowd through a super-slim K-array line array system, writes Paul Watson.
Kyrenia is an idyllic setting located at the very top of northern Cyprus, an area that is under Turkish rule. It literally doesn't show up on the map, yet many of its inhabitants are British ex-pats, who favour the town for its friendly vibe. The gig venue was like no other: a stage located in a port, within the grounds of a five-star hotel, surrounded by bars, restaurants, and the most enormous of swimming pools. Very nice.
Lotus Technology – K-array's exclusive distributor for many regions including Turkey and Cyprus – and rental company Park Technical Productions provided the sound system. Four K-array KH4s hung per side with a KH15 included as downfill at the bottom of each array; two KS4s per side were deployed to provide sufficient low mid range; and eight 2x21-inch Ko70 floorstanding subwoofers were positioned along the front of the stage.
Tony Blanc ran 46 channels from a Midas H3000 analogue console at FOH position; and monitor engineer Becky Pell was up to her maximum channel-count on her DiGiCo SD8 at stage left. Blanc had never used a K-array system before, and was suitably impressed.
"The K-array is actually brilliant; it wipes the floor with a MILO," insists Blanc. "You can't hear the processing either, which is often a problem with other smaller line arrays in the market. Everything's inside the box and it's not drawing much current - it's surprising to hear how loud it is."
Park Technical Productions' Ilymaz Yeniyol, production manager for the show, says that, in his experience, all engineers who work with K-array for the first time have a similarly enthusiastic reaction to the system.
"K-array is a revolutionary product," he enthuses. "The engineers just don't expect this kind of power and coverage. For me it's great because it's very light, so it's very easy to hang; and of course it's nice and loud."
Using a Smaart Live audio analyser, Yeniyol says he was able to achieve different levels of dispersion and an overall perfect coverage in what he describes as "a complicated area to work in".
"I walk around the venue with Smaart Live, which helps me fix any difficult acoustic problems," he explains. "It sounds the same up on the balcony as it does by the stage; and the K-array works so well because there is no phasing issues whatsoever, unlike many other speaker systems."
Turn it down!
Yeniyol opted for a cardioid sub arrangement which he says reduced SPL levels by approximately 30dB at the back of the stage; and the PA out front was running at 105dB, a level that Blanc found more than loud enough.
"I had to turn the system down actually, so there's still plenty of headroom available," Blanc reveals. "It's funny – everybody seems to have this fixed concept that if you go to what can appear to be a less-established country, the gear's going to be sub-standard; but the equipment is incredible, and the knowledge these people have is probably better than we get back in the States."
Owner of Lotus Technology, Oktay Karasoglu, says K-array's capabilities stretch further than providing for 1,500-capacity venues; and that rental companies will warm to the system once word gets round.
"I have seen a small K-array line array tested against 20 MILO boxes and there was no contest," he says. "The only problem with KH4 at the moment though, is that it's not yet on the technical riders. Once it is, it will be so easy for the rental companies – the active DSP, the plug-and-play element, the amazing size; and all in a box the size of a 55-inch plasma TV!"
The whole band was on Sennheiser G2 IEMs; and Anastacia took to the stage clasping a Sennheiser 5200 wireless microphone with a 935 capsule. She performed 12 songs including her big hits Left Outside Alone and I'm Outta Love.
Post-show, Canadian-born promoter Mark Zrevinsky was optimistic about bringing more international artists to northern Cyprus, and not letting political differences stand in the way.
"The first is always the hardest in anything, but now we've done it and it's been a great success," he says. "I would not be a supporter of this if the concerts were segregated as a result of politics or religious differences; we welcome everybody and anybody – and I think this could be the start of something fantastic."
Zrevinsky says that some of the next artists being lined up to perform at Cratos Hotel include Seal, Diana Ross, and three-tenor star Jose Carreras.