Jason Aldean: Riding the Night Train in 2013

Jul 1, 2013 9:00 AM, Mix, By Tom Kenny


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Jason Aldean and band at Sanford Stadium, University of Georgia

Jason Aldean and band at Sanford Stadium, University of Georgia

Jason Aldean puts on a rock ’n’ roll show. The roots are in country, but the approach and delivery is straight-up guitar-bass-drums, with wide dynamics and big sound. It wasn’t that long ago that long days in a van were followed by shows for maybe 100 people in a club. But since his rise that began in 2009 and exploded in 2010 with My Kinda Party, he’s been a sold-out headliner. On this month’s cover, taken in late April 2013, he played to 68,000 in the first-ever music event in Sanford Stadium on the University of Georgia campus, not far from his hometown of Macon.

“There’s a joke on the tour that the only thing country about this band is Jason’s hat,” says monitor engineer Evan Richner, a Cleveland native who has been with the crew since a fortuitous call from a former roommate and subsequent move to Nashville in 2005. “We have a bass player with tattoos coming out of his sleeves! It is very high energy.”

“This is a real band, playing together, and they have been for a long time,” adds FOH engineer Chris Stephens, who joined the team in the summer of 2009, right before going out as an opener for the Brooks & Dunn farewell tour. “Jason is a great singer, but the energy of the show comes from the whole band and the way they interact. There are no tracks on this tour. Everyone in the band is incredibly talented and that makes my job much easier.”

The core of the band—Aldean, guitarist Kurt Allison, bassist Tully Kennedy and drummer Rich Redmond—have been intact for a decade. They play together in the studio and on the road, having developed a rapport that comes across onstage. They are known to make Platinum-selling records with only a few days of tracking and a couple of weeks to mix.

Getting Big

Aldean started his first real headline tour in January 2010, and by the second night, looking at the speed of ticket sales, they knew they had to bring in a larger P.A. immediately. Tour sound provider Spectrum Sound of Nashville was providing a d&b audiotechnik J-Series rig, so they just made it bigger. Today, the arena dates on the tour (way larger for football stadiums, slightly larger for Wrigley Field, Fenway Park) consists of (40) J8s for the main hang, (32) J12s side hang, (16) flown J-Subs, (18) ground J-Subs, (8) Q10 front fills, (74) D12 amplifiers. Control is via Lake LM44 speaker processing and distribution.

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