Pearl Jam is playing Chicago’s Wrigley Field in a few days, and they’re probably going to play some songs from their just-announced new album “Lightning Bolt.”
But if you think it’s worth it to see a band, no matter how big, in a sports stadium, you’re lying to yourself. Here’s why:
The acoustics are atrocious
Think of the optimal acoustics as being in a recording studio, something like Pittsburgh’s Grammy Award-winning Audible Images:
Studios like this have the following that stadiums inherently lack, according to fell studio gurus Gold Clam Machine:
1a) Besides the instruments and musicians themselves, there is nothing else inside for the music to reverberate off of. Compare this with stadiums or arenas, which have 20,000 or 40,000 plastic seats, rafters, scoreboards — basically, a lotta junk that will warp the sound quality.
1b) It’s temperature controlled. Sound can be refracted by changes in air quality and density. In a large venue, this is much harder to control.
1c) The optimal recording room is bound by obtuse angles, because 90-degree corners trap sound. Indoor arenas are filled with 90 degree angles, and by the time sound reaches the upper deck at a 40,000 seat baseball stadium, it will have gotten tripped up by jutting private boxes, support columns, and additional sound towers whose physical placement ends up interfering with the original soundwave signal even as it amplifies it.
1d) Those curved wood panels you see are designed to further reduce reflections and refractions. You’re unlikely to find these at stadiums.
The sight lines
When you’re watching sports, you’re watching the action. You may not able to pick out an individual player if you’re far away, but you can watch the mass of players move together to follow the play. A rock concert is to varying degrees a completely static event. If you leave the concert having trained your phone on a screen…
…Instead of the stage, you’ve missed the point (twice over, in fact).
Given arguments #1a-d and #2, what exactly are you paying for? Pearl Jam’s tickets originally cost between $52 and $77 dollars. If you appreciate Matt Cameron’s impressive time signatures (as we genuinely do), that may be in your wheelhouse. But those tickets are long gone, and if you were not committed to going the moment they went on sale you are now looking at a minimum of $330.
Bottom line: Expensive, hard-to-see acts, with terrible acoustics. Don’t subject yourself to it.
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