To commemorate 25 years since the collapse of the Berlin Wall, German Chancellor Angela Merkel led rock legend Peter Gabriel and the Staatskapelle Berlinorchestra in a celebratory spectacle that drew more than 100,000 people to the Brandenburg Gate. To provide utmost clarity for the music and speeches at this monumental milestone, the event organizers chose the most powerful loudspeaker technology available today—a Meyer Sound LEO large-scale linear reinforcement system.
"LEO has a slim profile, yet it has a massive sound and incredible output," notes Marcus Mechelhoff, production manager for Berlin-based event management company mediapool, who designed and coordinated all lighting, video, and pyrotechnics for the event. "It was the perfect tool for every requirement. Speeches were clearly heard everywhere, while rock, pop, and classical music were perfectly reproduced. I received only positive feedback about the sound quality from the FOH engineers for very different musical artists."
To cover a crowd spread across a 150-by-500-meter area, four arrays of 12-each LEO-M line array loudspeakers and 34 1100-LFC low-frequency control elements were configured. Four delay towers comprised a total of 16 MILO and 16 MICA line array loudspeakers, with 12 UPQ-1P loudspeakers as near fills. Twelve MJF-212A stage monitors and 12 CQ-1 and four UPA-1P loudspeakers provided onstage foldback. A Galileo Callisto loudspeaker management system with one Galileo AES 616 and four Galileo Callisto 616 array processors supplied system drive and optimization.
Sound system configuration and equipment supply were handled by POOLgroup of Emsdetten, Germany, a full-service production provider that has supported other high-profile events including two German visits by President Obama and a G8 Summit.
"With such a massive crowd, LEO's extraordinary long-throw capability was much appreciated by the production," says Tim Humpe of POOLgroup, who served as project manager for the event. "LEO once again proved to be the ideal solution for a high-caliber multimedia event."
POOLgroup also provided a DiGiCo SD7 and two Soundcraft Vi4 digital mixing consoles, 16 channels of Shure UR4D wireless microphones systems with KSM9 handhelds, and 14 channels of Shure PSM 1000 in-ear monitoring.
Audio reinforcement specification for the tender was commissioned by mediapool to Ivo König and Til Schwartz from Berlin's IT AUDIO. Schwartz also served as audio coordinator for the worldwide television broadcast.
As part of the program, Peter Gabriel sang David Bowie's "Heroes" in front of video footage showing the fall of the wall, and the Staatskapelle Berlin orchestra with conductor Daniel Barenboim performed "Ode to Joy" from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. The ceremonies also included speeches by Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit, former Polish trade union leader and president Lech Walesa, and Mikhail Gorbachev of the former Soviet Union.