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Country star Kenny Chesney aims to fix U.S. Bank Stadium's acoustics

Forum News Service file photo U.S. Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings and host of the 2018 Super Bowl.

MINNEAPOLIS — The first five concerts at U.S. Bank Stadium have earned decidedly mixed reviews in terms of the venue's sound, specifically issues with the inevitable echo in a room filled with hard surfaces.

Kenny Chesney plans to fix those problems.

The country music superstar, who is booked to headline the stadium May 5, sent members of his production team to Minneapolis on Monday, Oct. 23, to meet with local staff, test the sonic capabilities of the stadium and devise a plan to meld the technology that's in place with Chesney's equipment to create high-quality sound for everyone from the floor to the nosebleed seats.

"I think tying in with the systems we're going to bring in — I don't think, I know it'll be a good experience," said David Haskell, president of the Nashville-based Morris Light and Sound.

Haskell has worked with Chesney for 21 years and said the star has exacting standards for his live performances.

"Whenever there's a new stadium, we'll always make a visit," he said. "We were here six or eight weeks ago looking at how the trucks get in, where are the dressing rooms, how hot are the showers."

Monday, however, was all about the sound.

"We can do prediction models with our software to get a pretty good idea about what the building is going to do and how it's going to react with our systems," Haskell said. "This place has one of the most technologically advanced speaker systems I've ever seen. We have the ability to go to each cluster and say, 'Yes, I want that one, I'd like it at this level, I'd like it at this (equalizer) setting, I'd like it at this delay time setting.' You want to make sure everything gets to the ear at the same time. That's the biggest trick, how do you time everything."

Morris engineer John Mills spent Monday walking through the stadium, determining how to deliver the best sound to every seat.

"A lot of (public address) systems are more like a floodlight," Mills explained. "I can use laser-beam focus. If I need a little more level, I can do that digitally, where with other systems, you have to physically move speakers, which you can't do during a show."

Mills said engineers will be on site during Chesney's concert, walking the room and making adjustments as needed.

"After walking through today and listening and (knowing) the control I have, I don't have a question that it's going to be good," he said.

Haskell said his goal isn't just to make Chesney sound great, but to share knowledge with the staff and other touring acts so future concerts can benefit as well.

"It's not about wanting our show to sound better than the next one," Haskell said. "When you're working at this level, everybody knows each other. Everybody wants to share that experience and knowledge with the next guy."

Tickets for Chesney's May 5 concert are priced from $290 to $27 and go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday through Ticketmaster.

The Pioneer Press is a Forum News Service media partner.

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