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Observations #1: Tin Ears Disease is Spreading

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There will be many who refer to boomers as outdated, churlish, cynical people.   I would like to think that we look at things with a more experienced eye, with larger information banks from both life’s vicissitudes and having known and dealt with many more people, of all ages.  Then again, I may just be a cranky geezer.

CHICAGO, I love you, but you have, collectively, a tin ear.    What passes for a pop or rock concert today is of such execrably bad sound that it should drive the patrons from the venue at the start of the concert, not the end!   Standard of comparison?

In the late 1960’s I attended over seventy rock and pop concerts in Chicago.   They were big names:  The Doors, Cream, Rolling Stones,  Temptations, Supremes, Four Tops, Simon and Garfunkel, Miles Davis, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Blood, Sweat and Tears, Wes Montgomery, Dionne Warwick, the best that Motown and Atlantic had to offer.   Even Ephemera like the Fifth Dimension, the Association, Ides of March had their very exciting moments.

They all had one thing though:  a venue that didn’t wreck their sound.    The sound at such venues as Auditorium Theatre and the Opera House was incredible. Even the late, unlamented Coliseum had its moments.  Now you let them sell you tickets at grossly-inflated prices for a barn like the United Center where, if you did not have the Rolling Stones lyrics memorized, you would not have understood a single word sung.  The sound was so bad up in the cheap seats I spent the second half working my way down to the sound board only to see, to my horror, that this incompetent had the meters pegged all the way in the red.  Those of you who had sound systems designed to lure chicks (the only kind worth the effort) know that your sound sources and amplification had to stay within boundaries.   The needle on the meters might occasionally drift into the red for a moment or two but you did not allow it to stay there: harmonic distortion is at least a bit harmonic but intermodulation distortion is a killer to good sound.   

Yet everybody emerges from the “concerts” smiling with their chachkis (tchotchke) to prove they were at the concert.  With all of the cell-phones held up continuously, the attendees seem desperate to prove to their acquaintances that they were there, rather than enjoying the music.