Pamela and I went to the first concert I’ve paid for in years. Having worked in the business for years, it’s hard for me to actually pay to see a show, but after seeing John Mayer on Soundstage on PBS I was willing to pay the $35 a ticket to see John. You can subscribe to Soundstage to get alerts on shows.
We arrived right as doors opened and got a great place on the lawn in the center where we had a great view of the stage, and I hoped the sound would be the best. I have to say, they’ve done a wonderful job upgrading the sound system. I was impressed how crystal clear everything sounded, and you could still feel the kick drum in your chest. I can’t say enough how impressed I was with John’s performance, he’s one of the best guitarists I’ve seen live and that’s saying something with all the shows I’ve seen. The mix was flawless – I certainly would have been challenged to do as good a job. John is also “good people”: he’s a modest intellectual who plays guitar like it is an extension of his soul.
Then Sheryl came on stage. The mix was a little rough. The vocals were excruciatingly loud. I mean LOUD! Frequently when she sang, it made my teeth grit from my built-in 120db alarm (my ears are sensitive to whenever a 1K-5KHz signal passes 118db – Pain.) Not to mention her vocal was so much louder than the music – I was unable to hear what the band was playing. We were treated to a song where John joined Sheryl for a song, and THAT was incredible, but the loud vocals ruined the overall experience. It was the first time I left a concert early in my life. By the time we left, the stringed instruments on stage were too loud too. I know I could have mixed this one much better than it was, but alas all I could do was during a lull I screamed ” for the love of God please turn down the vocals.” No one around me argued..
As I was walking to the car from the show, it occurred to me that I couldn’t imagine a professional sound person would ever mix that poorly unless they were told to do so by the talent. I just doesn’t makes sense. If I can track down who mixed the show, they will be getting an email from me about it. If I get a response I’ll post it here.