Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’ Hypnotic Eye Tour Production Profile

TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERSEscondido, CA — On Aug. 3, 2014, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers kicked off its Hypnotic Eye tour in support of the group’s new studio album of the same title. The tour was a mix of mostly arena dates, with a few festival appearances, along with a number of outdoor performances, including legendary venues such as the scenic Red Rocks and The Gorge amphitheaters and Boston’s Fenway Park. The two-and-a-half-month tour concluded with two dates at the revamped (and reborn) L.A. Forum in mid-October.

From a sound reinforcement viewpoint, this could have been just another typical rock tour, yet for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and opening act Steve Winwood, this particular outing was far from the usual. It also proved a little outside the norm for soundco Sound Image and FOH mixer Robert Scovill, as this was the first major tour outing for EAW’s new Anya Adaptive Performance line array. Although Anya had been through a number of earlier outings on a beta basis, including the Coachella Festival, this high-profile tour using totally new technology was definitely a high-stakes leap of faith.

“We analyze, watch and develop evolving technology closely and we strive to remain at the technological forefront in the touring industry,” said Sound Image president Dave Shadoan. “When Robert Scovill came to us with the concept of using Anya for Tom Petty, we knew that it was time to pay attention as we had been monitoring the Anya system as well. It will also be a great opportunity for Sound Image to show the system to other engineers that are curious about Adaptive Performance technology, allowing them to see how it can be used with their clients moving forward. It is an exciting project to say the least.”

Eventually, Sound Image made the Anya investment and after rehearsals in Los Angeles, a 54-box system went on the road. “Making that kind of change is like working without a net,” says industry veteran Scovill, who this year celebrated his 20th year of working with Tom Petty. “I was very firm about wanting to use that Anya P.A. system, and I put my reputation on the line with it. I had done some offline mixing with it earlier in the year, and wanted to get it out into some arenas and find out if it was as real as I thought it was. Dave Shadoan at Sound Image also put his butt on the line — it was a big purchase and I had asked him to make a sizeable K1 purchase three years ago, so my credibility with him was at stake, as well.”

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