|Posted on June 25, 2014 at 12:35 AM|
We routinely send out letters to prospective clients introducing our company and the services we offer, and one of the lines in that letter says, “Whether you are interested in concert hall sound or movie theater video...” I came up with that line, and I used to love it, as it created a visual that everyone could relate to. But now as I’ve gotten a bit older and gone to several concerts and movies, I’ve come to realize that this visual might NOT be the experience that people actually want.
The truth is, what we offer people in their homes is oh-so-much better than this experience. And now nine times out of 10 I’d rather have watch the performance or film on a Blu-ray in the far greater comfort of my living room and I imagine our clients would as well.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the *idea* of going to concerts and movies, and when I *think* about going to see a show, I picture how great it will be. I mean, what is better than a live performance of a band you love?! When I get there right before the show starts, I love the buzz and energy of the audience and the expectation of a great performance. And then the lights dim, the bands walks onto the stage, the sound system fires up and my enthusiasm slowly starts to wane after those first communal cheers start to die down and over the evening it eventually drops to the point where I start thinking, “Why did I want to come here again?” *
Most concerts are insanely crowded with personal space reduced to the thin layer of cotton you and the people around you happen to be wearing. You are left standing in a crowd of questionably hygienic people, engulfed in a strange mélange of odors that makes you kind of envy Third World countries, in what often feels like a protest that is about to go seriously south, as people – and I’m going to use this term in the broadest sense possible – “dance” around in a variety of contortions and convulsions. Honestly, if I wanted to feel like I’m about to be smothered to death in a crush of unwashed and what-is-that-smell? bodies, I’d opt for purchasing a subway token.
Further, I have to wonder why so many people choose to pay good money to go to a concert only to spend the majority of the show talking to the person next to them about everything BUT the show. And when I say “talking” I mean standing about a foot away and screaming into the ear hole of the unfortunate person standing next to them. “DUDE! DUUUUDE!!! I HAVE TO TELL YOU ABOUT THAT THING THAT HAPPENED AT THAT PLACE TO THAT GUY THAT TIME!” These are also usually the people getting so hammered on $12 Budweiser’s – actually an enthralling and engrossing mini-three-act play in itself, as you watch them carrying two hands worth of these oversized beers high in the air through a heaving crowd of people wondering just who is going to get a beer dumped on them and how they will react to the sudden golden shower – that I have to imagine the show is only a vague and hazy recollection the next day.
Also most shows seem like the guy running the sound board feels like he has something to prove to the crowd. Almost as if he’s not-so-secretly angry at all of us for coming and he wants to punish each and every one of us under a blistering and withering wall of sound; turning all his dials and sliders to 11 and producing devastating SPLs that constantly flirt with the edge of distortion while he exacts his revenge for some unknown slight. Or perhaps he is actually a Samaritan, feeling it is his job to perform sonic lithotripsy on the audience; using massive and unrelenting overdriven bass waves to cure the population of kidney stones one show at a time. Either way, after the first few songs, I’m generally starting to worry about how much damage this “fun time” will do to my permanent hearing.
* Lest you think I’m just some old curmudgeon yelling at the kids to take a shower and turn it down, here is a write-up from a terrific show that I recently went to, Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers with Edie Brickell.