Tracker

1980

A New Beginning

New concepts were on the drawing board, and the new TURBOSOUND system – codenamed UHQ for Ultra High-Q – which was to take the world by storm was in some ways a step forward to a more directional, more efficient, and better sounding box, but also, conceptually, a step back to the modular design of the mid 70s Festival System – the system with which the TURBOSOUND story had begun.

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Roger Waters was asked in an interview after the last of Pink Floyd’s Wall concerts in the early 1980s if he would ever perform The Wall again. His reply was ‘No, never – unless the Berlin Wall came down…’ Well, of course it did, and the historic concert was the very first outing for TURBOSOUND’s prototype UHQ system, or FLASHLIGHT as it was then known because of its extremely narrow directivity and astonishing projection.

FLASHLIGHT, partly through TURBOSOUND’s symbiotic relationship with Britannia Row Productions, rapidly evolved into the system which was used for the tours of Depeche Mode, Dire Straits, Cliff Richard, Simply Red, The Cure, Oasis, Robbie Williams, Peter Gabriel, and Pink Floyd.

Sizeable inventories of FLASHLIGHT soon sprang up around the world, with a global rental company network stretching from the USA right across Europe, the Far East, and as far as Japan and Australia. Based on the simple concept that every system was in essence turnkey – comprising identically sized three-way mid/ high and sub-bass enclosures, fully loaded amplifier racks and loudspeaker management system, plus all the attendant cables and flying hardware FLASHLIGHT facilitated world concert tours

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by allowing productions to put together an arena sized PA system locally and achieve consistently high performance by eliminating variables.

In June 1992, The Cure took to the road with Jon Lemon at FOH on an extensive world tour, the first of their large US shows taking place at the 60,000 capacity Texas Stadium in Dallas. The local crew’s reaction to Britannia Row’s 48-pair FLASHLIGHT PA and modest delay tower was incredulous: “surely this isn’t all you’re using.” But when Jon Lemon fired up the sound check the stares of disbelief turned to grins of amazement. According to BRP’s Bryan Grant coverage was so strong all around the stadium that it was decided for future shows to dispense with any TMS-3 side fills and the small FLASHLIGHT delay system. Instead a small array of V-2 loaded HF enclosures was used behind the mix riser to reinforce the extreme high end.

This concept was later the inspiration for an HF-only FLASHLIGHT cabinet, dubbed ‘the Lemon’, that could be flown at the top of a FLASHLIGHT cluster or used alone as HF reinforcement.

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Later that summer Red Square was the scene for the first ever rock festival, a multi-band extravaganza ranging in scope from classical and folk right through to Euro-pop and rock’n’roll. Moscow’s Orion Service Co had invested in a large 72-pair FLASHLIGHT system, which had just been shipped from customs direct to Red Square. On arriving on the morning of the show, TURBOSOUND’s crew were amazed to find the PA almost completely rigged with only few angle adjustments to make – an amazing testament to the logical design of the flying system and Orion’s understanding of FLASHLIGHT’s fundamentals.

This was followed just a week later by another musical extravaganza of a very different nature. The ‘Red Square Invites’ spanned five classical concerts led by a memorable performance by José Carreras, and for this Orion’s FLASHLIGHT PA was flown in a central cluster with Britannia Row providing TMS-3 front fill and delay towers.