AC/DC was loud (3 tours), but they should be...though the cannons in whatever show that was (Razor's Edge?) were a bit excessive, but cool!
Metallica was on verge of overly loud (Justice tour) but still a good show.
Kinks at the small college venue ('91) was the first time I ever thought a concert was WAY too loud. I walked out halfway through and enjoyed the rest of the show at a very decent volume outside the hall.
These days, definitely prefer either outdoor venues, or small, more acoustical shows/venues. -- Don't Lie - Be Kind - Realize your Potential
My first concert was to see Boston at Copps in Hamilton. Way too loud, ears rang for about a month afterwards. Never again. The outdoor concerts have always been okay, but perhaps the venue doesn't want their patrons losing their hearing.
It is just that in the out door venues, the sound does not bounce around... -- Brian
"It drops into your stomach like a Abrams's tank.... driven by Rosanne Barr..." A. Bourdain
My first concert was to see Boston at Copps in Hamilton. Way too loud, ears rang for about a month afterwards. Never again. The outdoor concerts have always been okay, but perhaps the venue doesn't want their patrons losing their hearing. -- If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough. - Albert Einstein
It's not just concerts. It seems like that's what young people like. At my cousin's wedding last year, the band was so loud it was painful to me after a few minutes so a stuck cotton in my ears for the 5+ hours. Everyone else's ears were all ringing when the party was over.
My sister is getting married in a few weeks and using the same band and I recommended they don't have it that loud but her and her fiance thought the volume at the other wedding was fine even though they both had ear ringing afterwards.
They just don't seem to care about the damage they are doing to their hearing.
ya but The Brat Stop is like the perfect venue for concerts imo for indoors
House of Blues Chicago is even better, I've seen Queensryche and Ted Nugent there and the sound was stellar!
Much better than The Aragon Brawlroom, The Vic, The Auditorium or that dismal dump in Rosemont.
The UC isn't the greatest, but all the shows I've seen there had good sound engineers.
UIC was decent, back in the day, when I saw The Kinks, Billy Squier, Def Leppard and others there.
Outdoor arenas, I think is another thread altogether! -- Hopefully the Ministry Of Truth and Thought Police can sort this whole thing out. »twitter.com/Bink63 »www.legacypcs.com Frank Shoemaker would call this noise GO Cubs GO!!!
I've been going to concerts for a long time. When I was in my teens my dad would always bug me about wearing ear plugs. I thought it was lame to wear plugs to concert.
Then I saw Soundgarden plan at the PNE Forum in Vancouver in 1996. Holy Crap! It was an awesome show, but I literally couldn't hear anything after the show for a few days. I'd ringing ears before. This was different, everything sounded like cracking static. I couldn't make out what people were saying. The friends I went with seem in similar shape.
After that show I heeded my dad's advice and started wearing ear plugs to concerts. I'm a big fan of concerts and go to alot of them. If I hadnt done that, I imagine I'd have some pretty bad hearing issues right now (I already have mild tinnitus if there is no background noise).
I've noticed alot more people wearing plugs to shows these days. Maybe its because I got to shows where the average age isn't 20... lol. People with concert experience probably tend to wear them.
I also remember forgetting them for Metallica in '98 in Toronto. That did a number on my ears as well. Not as bad as Soundgarden at the forum though.
I've been to many concerts over the years, mostly hard rock, metal and thrash, and every show has been loud, but not overbearingly so, and just about all sounded great. The loudest was AC/DC back in 1983. My ears were still ringing 24 hours after the concert. That might have been from the cannons being fired off in a small arena though. Priest and Megadeth were pretty loud back in '87, and sounded killer.
^There aren't enough 'approval' options available for this post.^
I've been gigging for almost 40 years and damaged my hearing at a young age by standing in front of amps turned up way too high. That's what garage-bands / bar bands did in those days. No local venue had a sound system like most do today, so we had to shlep our cobbled-together PA from gig to gig, dance to dance, party to party. We didn't have the capability (or the gear, or the money) to mic the amps to keep the backline quieter - besides, we were Rock and Roll Animals!
Still gigging, but much smarter now. Good monitors, smaller stage amps (no more Marshall full-stacks & Sunn 2x15 reflex bass cabs), reinforcing the backline thru the PA with a good sound engineer.
I gave myself a touch of tinnitus, a mild 'hissing' in my ears (not constant, but frequent enough), and I don't want to make it worse or cause damage to our couple of fans.
Sarah is spot on - wear hearing protection or at least have it with you. Spend a few extra bucks for plugs specifically designed for music instead of sticking your fingers in your ears. Every big-box music store (Sam Ash, Guitar Center, all the rest) and most mom & pop music stores carry them - their employees wear them constantly, especially on Saturdays, when every wank-wizard feels the need to play 'Crazy Train' or 'Stairway to Heaven' with their amp and axe dimed. It's a special level of Hell.
Don't give up on experiencing live music, just take the good advice of Sarah , and others here, to use protection, just like in another area of mutual human pleasurable interaction (both of which coincidentally(?) involve at least some degree of timing, coordination, friction, vibrations and maybe even some humor, and often are enhanced by each other.. ).
Buy at least two sets of good earplugs made specifically for protection and enjoyment of music, and keep at hand (and clean, in their own little cases).
Having been to literally hundreds and hundreds (thousands) of musical events, both amplified, acoustic, and mixed, of all most every "type" of music ((actually, as Duke (Ellington), I think, said, there are only two types of music, good and bad...;)) from completely acoustic solo, chamber, orchestral, symphonic, 'Eastern', old-time, bluegrass, jazz, rock, reggae/ska... , punk, hardcore, and their myriad of wonderful interminglings, in venues as varied as living-rooms/garages/barns/backyards, quads, lawns, parks, stores, street corners, bars, churches and other places of 'worship' (both consecrated and 'converted'- 'Revival' anyone?), warehouses, tents, boats, and small through large concert halls, ('dinner') theaters, clubs and arenas and stadiums, farms, ski resorts (a few winners: The Main Point - even after it's expansion to around hold a whopping175 including standing room, The Academy of Music, The Fox, Alex Cooley's Electric/Agora Ballroom - though they often had their upper-mids horns mixed too high, The Great Southeast Music Hall, The Moon Shadow, Denver's Ebet's Field, J.C. Dobbs, and of course Red Rocks) all usually as front/center as possible ....two things became _painfully_ clear:
The first was that size does matter - smaller is almost always way way preferable, with good site lines and sound apparently much easier to obtain (though by no means assured - and if one somehow manages to get in the best seats/spots for even large venues, shows can be quite intimate); The second was that fellow attendees (and performers) were in fact suffering temporary to permanent progressive hearing damage.
While I began using protective earplugs relatively late, fortunately, it was before too much damage was done, though some probably did occur (also possibly by small aircraft cockpit noise).
Even paper (clean bar napkin, t-paper) can help give protection in an emergency (sacrificing clarity for long-term hearing).
As mentioned by others above, besides the particulars of the venue's acoustics, the sound reinforcement system physical set up, EQ, balance and overall loudness, your proximity and orientation to the speakers, other factors which come into play are both the overall length of time of exposure to different frequencies and their persistence.
For amplified music (shows, or movies), whether it's Tracy Nelson, Social Distortion, Lucinda Williams, Michell Shocked, Sonic Youth, or Wild Flag, it's all in the mix, and not just a question of overall dB level (so long as it is not sustained at damaging levels), as, for one instance, even with the air in ones lungs vibrating along with Phil's Lesh's bass, front and center at Red Rocks, the proper sound presentation (low distortion, good EQ, reasonably loud levels) made for a magical, _safe_ experience!
The worst offenders (horrendous EQ/sound pressure levels that caused pain) that I personally experienced that quickly come to mind were:
Al Di Meola, Atlanta, GA. It was so absurdly loud, with horrendous EQ, at our seats, we tried moving way way back, and then even tried the balcony, all in vain, and so we left.
Hot Tuna: Alex Cooley's Electric Ballroom, Quarter-Beer Night?, front row table. When Tuna ended their "Electric" set, no one that I could hear, or see, made more than the most perfunctory efforts at the universal encore demands - the crowd was apparently happily suffering from a combination of musical euphoria and serious ear-ringing - 'Earblood Bedlam', and was simply too exhausted, and deaf, to submit to any more. It was a wonderful performance, but at a price of hearing loss, which, fortunately, at least in the case of myself and those I knew at the show, was only temporary, with recovery occurring over the the next two days. Hopefully, everyone there similarly effected, also fully recovered.
Little Feat/ Traffic: The Omni: The mix was so bad (EQ, reverberation, sound level way too _low_), in a musically terrible venue, that so many people were yelling that they could not properly hear the music, that S. Winwood apparently though they were being booed, and walked off stage.
[EDIT: 1) I noted another post, while composing this one, referenced the Dead's great use of sound. 2) It is increasingly common for musicians to employ custom fitted wireless earpieces that provide both protection, if they don't set them too loud, and their personal monitoring mix.]
The notion that rock has to be loud to be good is pretty lame. Too many 'bands' (and amateur 'sound engineers') replace talent with volume. Their 'fans' eat it up, headbanging, devil-horning - not much more pathetic than a 50-something with a Motorhead t-shirt living in Mom's basement because his dream of becoming a Rock God just hasn't panned out yet. I see these guys all the time; when the band sucks, they just crank it up louder. It's really funny to watch...
Some of the best shows I've been to (and there have been hundreds since '72) had the best sound-systems and the best mid-range volume. The Grateful Dead had, in the 70s, their 'Wall of Sound' PA system (pictured above). They understood that it wasn't volume that was important, it was clarity of the music and the vocals. Unfortunately, at a Dead show, that could be a blessing or a curse, depending on the night...
Seriously, this whole 'if it's to (sic) loud, you're too old' thing is just silly. Even bar-band musicians like me know enough to keep our amps quieter in the backline (the amps behind the band) to save our own hearing, and have a sound engineer that understands the properties of the room to mix us in the frontline (the PA) so we're legible and the music is mixed properly for the people who come to see us. That's just 'Band-101' stuff.
If you decide to get earplugs, it's worth getting special music earplugs (I use these) instead of the plain foam ones. The foam plugs take out all of the treble, but the earplugs meant for music have a flatter frequency (not perfect by any means, but much better). Plus, they are much more reusable than the foam ones so the price works out in your favor... and they come with a little case to keep them clean in your pocket.
I used them at the Secret Chiefs 3 concert where the music was so loud it was making the straw in my cup bounce around, and if I put the drink down it would crawl/vibrate across the table of its own accord due to the vibrations from the sound system. Standing in the front row leaning on the subwoofer... no pain, no tinnitus, no problem... -- Join the DSLR Kiva team!
This concert was Our Lady Peace in Ottawa at the Bronson Centre, which is a fairly small venue (900 seats I think).
The loudness was absolutely ridiculous. So loud that the highs were distorted. I don't think it was the speakers distorting, it was my ears that were distorting due to the excessive loudness. It was bordering on painful.
I think those of you saying it may be a venue with bad acoustics or a bad sound engineer may be right. I had a hard time hearing the vocals over the music. The sound was just bad, too loud and not EQ'd correctly.
To those of you saying "if it's too loud you're too old", or "check inside your pants", grow up. If you don't care about being half deaf where you're older, go ahead and keep blasting your tunes 'til your ears bleed, but personally I have very good hearing and would much rather keep it that way for as long as I can. Since when is permanently damaging your own body a "manly" thing to do? Ridiculous.
I will definitely bring along some earplugs if I ever end up going to another concert.
ahhh, J.Geils band long time ago in a small venue of 1000 people i think. They had it cranked up so much you couldn't understand a thing til you got out to the concession area. 4 Eight foot cone speakers cranked to 11 in a small theater setting. Some of the biggest speakers i've seen. I think they hired the homeless guy on the corner to run the sound system...
Molly Hatchet was awesome there tho, so it wasn't the venue.
On the other hand and more recent... KISS at 10000 person arena, the vocals were too soft for a fair part of the show and the video displays were messed up. Setup FAIL