Q’s With A Pollstar Live Panelist: Laurent Vaissié, CEO North America at L-Acoustics

 Laurent Vaissié
– Laurent Vaissié

Laurent Vaissié, CEO North America at L-Acoustics, will offer insights into the latest concert production technology when speaking on the Production Live! panel “Bells & Whistles & Shiny New Toys: The Hot New Stuff in Sound, Lights & Video.”

Production Live!, the production component of the Feb. 11-13 Pollstar Live! conference, takes place Feb. 11 at The Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. The 2019 edition of Production Live! features programming curated by Jake Berry Production CEO Jake Berry.

Vaissié will be joined on the “Bells & Whistles & Shiny New Toys” panel (4 p.m.-4:45 p.m.) by Eventric – Master Tour’s CEO Paul Bradley, Clair Global’s VP of Business Development Shaun Clair, SoloTech’s US President Mickey Curbishley, Bandit Lites’s Production Director Dizzy Gosnell, and Production Resource Group’s SVP Tim Murch. Paul Korzilius of Bon Jovi Management and OVG Consultant, is moderating the panel. 

With more than 400 team members and offices in Paris, London, Los Angeles and New York, L-Acoustics is the market leader in professional sound reinforcement technologies. The company is focused on solutions that elevate the audience experience, with research and development in the areas of acoustics, applications, mechanics, electronics, signal processing and software development.

L-Acoustics technologies can be heard in venues such as the Hollywood Bowl, Phoenix’ State Farm Stadium and the Philharmonie de Paris, as well as on tour with artists including Adele, Pearl Jam, Lorde, and Depeche Mode.

Ahead of Pollstar Live! Vaissié answered a couple of questions about the conference and his favorite live shows.
Pollstar: What are you looking forward to about your panel? 
Laurent Vaissié: It is always great to share ideas and experiences with industry peers. This year’s panel includes the three largest touring production companies (Clair Global, Solotech, PRG) and top manufacturers so we are sure to get a great picture of what matters in today’s entertainment technology. 
Live entertainment now has to compete for fans with many alternatives, including more compelling home entertainment solutions. Technology, therefore, has to keep up and continue to provide exciting and unique experiences to bring people out to shows and serve the artist’s performance. I look forward to sharing our insight into the rise of live immersive audio with Pollstar’s audience and learning from my peers.
What aspect are you most looking forward to at this year’s Pollstar Live! Conference and why?
Pollstar Live! is a unique platform to get the pulse of the industry and connect with decision makers. There is simply no other opportunity to get all major live entertainment stakeholders in one place. Keynotes and panels are always insightful and fun. 
I look forward to the discussions about festival trends, venue opportunities, and technology impact on entertainment. We also look forward to the awards show. 
Many of our clients, tours and venues are nominated this year so we are proud to be a small part in their success.
What was one of your biggest recent accomplishments?  
Laurent Vaissié: 2018 was a ground-breaking year for L-Acoustics and L-ISA. We kicked off the year with Lorde’s Melodrama tour, the first tour featuring L-ISA hyperreal sound technology. The arena tour won praises and changed everyone’s assumptions about how good and intimate a pop show can sound in an A-type Arena. 
The tour was followed by Childish Gambino’s This is America tour in the fall and several amazing immersive shows in arenas, clubs and stadiums, with Ennio Morricone, Deadmau5, Bon Iver, and the world’s first full surround live stadium concert for 12,000 people with Alt-J in New York.
We also announced an exciting collaboration with Aerosmith and THX for their upcoming residency in Las Vegas (Deuces Are Wild), and finished the year on a high note with Lady Gaga’s ground-breaking residency in Las Vegas featuring a full L-ISA immersive hyperreal sound system with over 200 speakers at the MGM Park theater.
L-ISA has now been part of over 600 shows for 2 million people, and won industry recognition with no less than three awards at NAMM a couple of weeks ago including a Parnelli award for “Indispensable Audio Technology of the Year,” ProSoundWeb Readers Choice award for “Best Sound Reinforcement System,” and FOH magazine’s “Immersive Technology of the Year.”
What was the live show or shows that most changed your life and why?
Tough question! So many I can think of. The first one is the ODESZA show with L-ISA at the Santa Barbara Bowl in Fall 2017. It was the first time L-ISA was being deployed in North America for a live show and we were all a little nervous. 
ODESZA had spent some time in our studio in Westlake Village and was excited about the wider soundscape and immersive features of L-ISA. They were a great group to work with and the show was nothing short of mind-blowing. 
ODESZA’s music was bigger, wider, spatially and sonically detailed. They put up an amazing performance. I remember our team and clients, including some very experienced touring pros, looking at each other nodding in disbelief about the experience. At that point, we all knew L-ISA was a game-changer and, even if it would take time to get everyone to experience it, live sound would never be the same.
The other one is bittersweet. It is the last live show by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at the Hollywood Bowl. The Bowl has been using an L-Acoustics system for 14 years so we have a close relationship and I got a chance to hear many wonderful concerts but this one stands out for the experience and circumstances. 
It was a Monday night, and I remember hesitating about going to the show after a long day at work but this was just an amazing experience. Tom Petty and his band put up such a great performance, you could feel he was genuinely thrilled to be there and wrap up their tour with one glorious send-off. The atmosphere was unlike I had ever felt at the Bowl, everyone having a great time including the band. 
I remember telling my wife, “This is pure greatness, remember this!” I then remember standing in disbelief a week later when we learned about his death. Memories of this night though will last a lifetime.