The first issue I have is that I bought tickets in the Mitre10 stand for a reason, they directly face the stage, and with the Mitre 10 stand full the echo off the west wall shouldn't be noticable. (at least it was't at Elton John). So, when we arrived at our designated gate and were handed replacement tickets and told we were being "upgraded" as they had closed the stand, I wasn't overly impressed, but I sucked it up and tried to look on the bright side, I was getting more expensive tickets at no extra cost.
Now, I don't know what to blame, it seems to me the bands were playing well, but the opening acts were so loud and the top end so piercing, it almost hurt listening to them, and there was no distinction between instruments and vocals, with everything melding into (almost) white noise. Then Aerosmith came on, and I thought the sound engineers would jump on things pretty quick, but, no! It seems they adjusted the levels by pumping up the bottom end, washing out the top end and creating a rumbling reverb throughout the stadium. I thought it may have been the area we were in so we moved from one end of the Speights stand to the other, trying pretty much every aisle along the way, with little noticeable difference, other than the echo off the west wall being much less pronounced as we got closer to the stage. The echo at the far (west) end of the Speights stand would have to be about a quarter second delay after hearing the original sound and is annoying and off putting.
I guess there are a bunch of things that could be to blame...
1. Equipment: Was the equipment Aerosmiths or some local contrator's? Perhaps, if it's a local contractor's then it may not be up to task?
2. Sound engineers: Were they drunk, deaf, incompetent, lost is Dunedin somewhere, so unfamiliar with the contractors equipment that they just couldn't get things right?
3. Environment: Perhaps we could blame the stadium for poor acoustics? (I don't believe it's the stadium, I've got audio on my iPhone recorded in the stadium that proves the sound quality can be great)
I thought about all of these things as we endured the openening songs and reached the drum solo. The drum solo actually sonded OK, and I thought 'Yeah! they've finally got it under control!' Then Joe Perry was introduced and greeted the audience. His initial greeting was perfect and again I was hopeful they had sorted the levels out. Then we continued to speak and they cranked up his volume and washed out every syllable, making him as unintelligible as the rest of the concert. Surely this points to the engineers? Lets give them another couple of songs, surely they can get on top of this disaster! Surely..., right? Nah! Epic failz! First time I've ever walked out on a concert!
I've enjoyed seeing bands play in numerous indoor stadiums. AC/DC at Wembley Arena London, Guns n Roses Westpac Arena Christchurch, Black Eyed Peas at Westpac CHCH, various others in CHCH, Auckland's Vector arena, Sydney's Olympic Park and Elton John at Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium and all sounded pretty great. The B52's and The Proclaimers were fabulous and played in a basketball stadium, it usually takes a song or two to settle things down, but I've never experienced poor sound for long. Other concerts such as Bon Jovi, Joe cocker and Meatloaf which were in open stadiums were also great, (sound wise at least, Meatloaf himself, was dreadful live).
I just hope this concert is not a sign of things to come, if pay $300 to go to Fleetwood Mac and have the same experience it will be the last concert I attend at Forsyth Barr Stadium.