By Kyle Huber
LSU football returned to the capital city for its home opener Saturday versus a clear underdog Sam Houston State team.
While the game got out of hand very quickly, the new sounds and sights at Tiger Stadium were enough to grab the attention of a record setting crowd.
LSU unveiled the new addition to the south end zone, which added suites, club areas and seating which, according to LSUSports.net, brings the capacity of Tiger Stadium to 102,321.
Also within the south end zone addition are two 40-by-70 foot video scoreboards at the top of the southeast and southwest corners.
While LSU fans were introduced to the new visual additions to Tiger Stadium, they were also introduced to new audio additions as well. Starting this season, SEC schools will be allowed to play music from their sound systems in between plays.
LSU Director of Fan Experience Jason Suitt plans to take full advantage of this rule change.
“We will now have the ability to supplement what the band does, especially on defense, and allow our fans to get into the game at appropriate times,” Suitt said.
With the band playing in between many of the downs, Suitt assures fans, “The band will pay their traditional down cheers, and we will supplement what they do.”
LSU is also following the lead of other SEC schools that have placed microphones near their bands to amplify them through the stadium sound system.
Using microphones for “the band only enhances what the band already does,” Suitt said.
Anyone who has gone to an LSU home football game has a tough time explaining the feeling one gets when the Golden Band from Tigerland strikes up the first notes of pregame.
While the band is a large component of the great experience of LSU football game day, in-game music from the sound system in Tiger Stadium can add just as much excitement to the atmosphere.
So how does LSU balance the playing of the band and music?
“We give the band the first choice if they want to play in their traditional spots,” Suitt said. “However, if they play and there’s time left in a timeout we usually pick it up and play something.”
The songs played in game are picked depending on the situation within the game. When it comes to picking the songs Suitt said, “it is probably the toughest part about playing music in the stadium.
“There’s such a large demographic in our stadium, music that is more mainstream now was not mainstream with our older demographic of season ticket holders in the stands.
“Obviously you are trying to appeal to in certain situations to everybody, so that makes it tough to pick which genre or songs to play. That’s why we try to hit as many genres as we can.”
Currently the only speakers for the stadium sound system are housed in the north end zone scoreboard.
LSU Senior Associate Athletic Director Eddie Nunez said the speakers were installed before the 2013 football season. They were designed by Baker Audio and are Danley speakers.
There are a several problems with having speakers only in the north end zone.
Fans who sit in the north side of the stadium complain of the noise being too loud, and fans sitting on the south side complain about not being able to clearly hear public address announcements, videos and music.
Also, fans have complained that when the stadium is not full, such as Saturday night mid-way through the third quarter of the Sam Houston State game, an echo goes around the stadium whenever music plays or an announcement is made.
According to Nunez, speakers were installed around the stadium, but will never be placed in the south end of the stadium because the sound would bounce off the sound comingfrom the speakers on the north side.
“We are constantly working very hard to get the sound and speakers calibrated enough so everyone in the stadium gets even levels,” he said.
Whether it was the first game of the season in Death Valley, the dominant performance the Tigers put on against the Bearkats, the unveiling of the new south end zone or the sounds of the LSU band and music, Tiger Stadium was roaring Saturday night.