I took Owen to a Wallflowers concert tonight. I'm not sure exactly what he thought about the whole experience, other than that it was too loud! Which I agree on. I guess this puts me squarely in the old fogey camp, but really, I've never liked ear-damagingly loud concerts. I'm not sure if the bands themselves make these decisions, or the sound guy that The Barrymore hires is deaf from too many years in the biz, but I've had that experience in that venue many times. It feels like the sound is cranked so loud that one cannot actually hear the music. At first Owen & I were in the fourth row, and the bass notes were physically throbbing in my abdomen. Before the opening act was done, we decided to move back and ended up in the farthest back balcony row. It wasn't gut-wrenchingly loud there, but still uncomfortable. And I still could not hear the music for the noise. As we went out at intermission to get some air, one of the security guys gave us some earplugs. They keep a bowl of them on the concession counter.
I've been to a lot of shows over the years, from bands that came to the college town where I grew up, to big name acts in big venues, to smaller shows. I don't remember ever thinking any Grateful Dead show I saw was too loud. I did think The Who in 1980 (same tour when people were crushed to death in a stadium with non-reserved seating) was way too loud: my ears were not right for a week later. But even the mellow folkie acoustic types are cranked up to loud at The Barrymore. It should have come as no surprise that a rock show would be too loud to enjoy.
Here's the really cool part: we had gone to the lobby, where we could still hear plenty, and were preparing to leave early. Owen was tired and I think not enjoying it, but not wanting to admit that either. The Wallflowers were playing Josephine and messed up. Some young'uns close to the stage apparently were being snide about this and Jakob Dylan asked if anyone in the audience could do a better job singing it. An 18 year old kid named Matt volunteered and was brought up on stage. And he sang that song like HE was channelling Jakob Dylan. He completely nailed it. The keyboard player missed a cue, but they patched it up and went on. The audience loved it. The band loved it. It was a truly cool concert moment. We left after that.
And now its late. And tomorrow is another day.