Please note: This is going to be a “music update,” and may cause discomfort and irritability in some patients and, more rarely, apoplexy. Proceed with all due caution.
I’m sure we’ve covered this subject before, but it’s been a while, so I’m going to do it again… I was wondering, what are the loudest concerts you’ve ever attended?
I’ve been lucky enough to see a lot of bands play live during my ridiculous life, and plenty of them were LOUD. Including the usual suspects: Motorhead, Ramones, Metallica, AC/DC, etc., but three shows stand out in my mind as the loudest of the loud.
The first was Cheap Trick, at the old Charleston Civic Center (just a big cinderblock room), in 1979 or so. Budokan had just been released, and hadn’t yet exploded, so the place was half-empty, or half-full, depending on your point of view.
And sweet sainted mother of Kelly Bluebook, was that shit loud! It felt like we were literally inside a jet engine. There was no way to discern one song from another, it was just one gigantic roar.
Rick Nielsen, the guitarist with the Gomer hat, had a stepladder onstage, and kept dropping guitars down it. As it hit each step, there’d be a soul-shaking THUD! Just for the sake of it, I guess.
The whole thing was an extreme exercise in excess, and I can’t really say I enjoyed it. Oh, I remember it… I remember it real good. But it was too much. My ears rang for a week, and that’s not hyperbole. For a full week I heard mosquitoes and dog whistles in both ears, and I’m not really a fan of it.
I saw Cheap Trick again, a few years later, and they were just as loud. Apparently that’s one of their things? But the second time wasn’t as bad, because I was mentally prepared. That first go-round almost took my head clean off.
Also shockingly loud: King’s X. Remember them? I never liked ’em, but they were opening for someone at the Omni in Atlanta. Possibly AC/DC? And they were so over-the-top it felt like my central nervous system was about to shut down.
Yeah, it’s bad enough when something is overly loud, and you actually like the music being played… But King’s X was excruciating. Every song felt like it lasted for two hours. When the audience started stomping for an encore, I screamed, “Noooo! Please God, nooooooo!!” But, of course, nobody could hear me, because every eardrum within a city block had been destroyed.
And the third show was Dinosaur Jr. at the Cotton Club in Atlanta. Again, every song sounded exactly the same: like holding a stethoscope to a blender full of rocks.
What’s the point of so much volume? I love Dinosaur Jr., but that show was outrageous. It was a tiny club, and I think they had stadium amps in there. I’m unclear on it. All I know is, I nearly had a seizure.
I’ve been to hundreds of shows, almost all them pre-1996 (when our first kid came along), and those are the three that stick out in my mind as the loudest. What about you? Do you have anything on this one? Use the comments link below.
And I’ll be back at ya tomorrow.
See you then!