Photos credit: Stefan M. Prager
Folk balladeer Passenger crafts delicate songs that tell stories. In his trademark raspy warble, he sings in vignettes, delivering lyrical beacons of truth within immersive narratives. Known off-stage as Michael David Rosenberg, the English musician began writing songs at around age 14, leaving school at the age of 16 to pursue a music career by busking in the streets of England and Australia. Passenger was initially the name of Rosenberg’s band, but when it dissolved in 2009, he kept the name for his solo work.In 2012, his career took off with worldwide hit single “Let Her Go,” a bittersweet ode to moving on from a relationship. In addition, Passenger began touring with good friend and fellow English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran. With seven albums under his belt, Passenger released an eighth this fall, titled Young as the Morning, Old as the Sea.
Now on tour in support of his new album, Passenger is relying on support from a Meyer Sound LEO Family reinforcement system provided by UK audio hire company Major Tom Ltd. The majority of shows are in large auditoriums and smaller arenas, where the system employs main hangs of 34 LEOPARD line array loudspeakers with bass support from eight 1100-LFC low-frequency control elements.
For the largest venue of the tour, Amsterdam’s 17,000-capacity Ziggo Dome, the main hangs comprised 12 LEO and six LYON line array loudspeakers, with the LEOPARD loudspeakers re-configured as side hangs. Completing the Meyer Sound roster are four M’elodie line array loudspeakers, four JM-1P arrayable loudspeakers, four UPA-1P loudspeakers, and two Galileo processors.
FOH Engineer and Production Manager Simon Kemp, who has worked with Passenger for the past two years, chose LEOPARD in part because of its attention to detail. “My show is all about hearing every phrase Passenger sings. His fans are there to hear his storytelling and anything short of perfect clarity won’t be accepted,” he explained. In addition, LEOPARD provided him with the necessary sonic impact while still being a manageable size.
“With LEOPARD I can achieve amazing audio coverage and maintain a 100db average in 5,000 capacity rooms and my PA system fits in 17 feet of truck space,” said Kemp. “I’m not aware of anything else that comes close to that accomplishment.”
For a full production show like Passenger’s, with lights, sound and video elements, saving space in a packed semi-truck is a must.
In fact, LEOPARD seems to be up to just about any task Kemp and the rest of the sound crew, including System Technician Ian Hamilton and Monitor Engineer Charlie Bryson, put it to. “Every time we throw a new challenge at LEOPARD it just sucks it up and we move on to the next one,” said Kemp. “You really have to hear it to believe it.”
Hamilton has found the system to be consistently easy and quick to rig and fly. “Due to its compact size and weight, we have been able to fly more elements, more often, which has meant the coverage has been spectacular,” he said.
“We’ve been consistently impressed with its power and ability to reach the far corners of the venues. It has certainly lived up to its ‘fierce’ reputation. I love working with this system.”