Oh, so I wake up in the morning and up and out for coffee and the local paper and hey look, there is a show review as the quite often is. Hey, wait a minute, that's not nice! Seems our little reviewer friend has an ax to grind with Anthony and at least in my opinion comes off as a bitter woman spitting spikes cause she wanted a bit more attention from him, it reminds me of a guy that asks a girl out and when she graciously declines he walks away muttering "bitch" under his breath, except she did it in pen in public. But hey, all good, as I guess it is a reviewer's job to stir up some controversy. Or wait, maybe it is a reviews job to be in touch with the pulse and sensation of truly being there and connected to capture the experience into words and to share it with the people that were unable to attend.
Hmmmm, well, I was there and I don't know where she was but I was surrounded by euphoric fans with loud voices singing and dancing and radiating so much thrill it gave me goose bumps at times. Anyway, what concerns me more is the sound comment that touches on some frustrations I have been facing for the past two shows. Then I get a text message from someone close to the band who read the same review online. "They are talking about sound issues and it is not you, you ought to go set the record straight, they are posting comments."
Hmmmm, well my first reaction was that each person is entitled to their own opinion and though I may disagree, fair enough but then I started thinking about it more in depth. What were the issues? What caused them and how can they be solved and it dawned on me that perhaps to respond and clarify could illuminate the issues that could be solved, and so I did, I write an email comment in response to the moderated forum.
Nothing happened, oh well, I figured perhaps my words were not compatible with posting. Nothing happened that is till the newspaper's fact checking editor emailed everyone at Rat on our contact page, got confirmation and printed my response as entertainment headline news that is.
Oh jees. What have I done? Hopefully what I have done is created enough momentum and focus that the venue will get sonically tuned up. Arena's are not great sounding things to start with so to get acceptable audio in them is a challenge indeed so having a venue that completely disregards acoustics is really a bummer. Just out of curiosity I now do a quick internet search on Vector Arena Sound, curious to see if there is a history and it reveals that I am not the first to point out it's sound issues there has only been one other gig at Vector and it was called "opening ceremonies!"
Well, very cool, I hope they fix it, I hope I helped, I am home and I hope I did not piss anyone off in the Peppers camp with my antics, though I doubt it. And then comes an email, and another and another. Uh oh! Oh no! Now this is where it gets good, "Hey Dave, I just saw them talking about you on New Zealand TV National News on Channel 3, talking about sound at Vector Arena, here is a link"
And though the TV news invariable bumbles things up a bit, hearing a serious newscaster read some Dave Rat sarcasm I found really amusing.
So it all seems to be settling down and other than the phone call I got from a New Zealand radio station, it seems to be done from my end at least, well except I am getting emails now from other bands headed down there wanting to know how the arena is to work in sound wise. As far as the New Zealand fans, stay on them till they finish the room. And to the Venue folks, I highly recommend getting the room acoustically dialed in, no reason to have a less than stellar venue in such a wonderful place because isn't the whole reason of having the the big new arena to attract great bands and happy fans? Very good sounding, well laid out and wonderful to work in arena's have been popping up worldwide for quite some time now, the knowledge and know how exists, it is not like building a decent sounding arena some revolutionary concept.
Good on you Dave. All too often the sound engineer gets critiqued incorrectly. Though the audience are there to listen, that doesn't give them a right to suggest that problems can be fixed in easy ways ("...the faint zing of reverb that might have been masked had someone simply turned up the volume"). I for one as an audience member at anything try to avoid being quick to criticise: how to i know the venue, I've only just come to this performance. Also, how do I (though not in your case it seems) what might have gone wrong minutes before the house is opened.
I know that at the end of the day the sound engineer is performing a service to the paying audience however we know that the sound engineer at any gig is trying their best. The quality of sound although sometimes limited by poor engineering skills (for example when I'm trying to mix!) is more then often limited by the venue's acoustics and equipment used; both it not being good enough for the task and also it breaking! It annoys me greatly when people think they know everything there is about sound just because they have a bose sound-system at home, and can make their own MP3s... everyone is still learning about 'sound' and how to control it but, some know a little more then others. All too often we humans think we know everything about everything but, should we not realise that there is going to be someone who knows more then you do?
I for one applaud your stepping out and explaining things. I wish I had the way with words that you do. Maybe it will make some people think a little more about their brash comments although perhaps the sort of people that make these comments are the sort of people that wont listen to anyone, even a sound engineer of your calibre.
Keep up the blog, its a great insight into what happens on major tours and has given me an added boost to get properly into the industry, maybe one day I'll be writing some blog about a tour (though, lets be honest, I don't think I'm even close to being good enough to get on anything major!)
Looking forward to the next blog post!
I read that review at the airport on my way home from Auckland, and my immediate reaction was "was this lady even THERE?!" I have no idea what she is talking about with regard to the band's "complacent mood" because I didn't feel that vibe in the slightest.
And when I saw your email being quoted on the 6pm news, I nearly fell off my chair! I think it's great that you took the time to give some professional feedback in the hope of improving the sound at the arena for future shows. Rockstar Supernova was the first band to play there (followed by that opening ceremony thing) and the sound at that concert got the thumbs down. I guess the problems didn't get fixed in time for the Chilis shows...
Thank You David! Appreciate you taking the time to comment and I will keep them coming for now though the spacing is a bot longer to make room for moving. But Big Euro tour is coming right after Japan trip #3.
I have an email from you in my "to do" box that must be months old but not forgotten. And yes, sorry, I will turn it up and make the reverb go away next time. Or how about "if it sounds like shit, go find or make big poo, mic it, flip phase and mix the opposite of shitty sound it in at the right level and it should cancel out all the crap sound. Problem solved."
Can I just say...this blog is the best excuse imaginable for not doing any work. I've been sat at my desk all day pretending to look busy but all the while getting sucked into a much more interesting existance. If you hadn't spoken up about Vector I would never had known about Roadies in the Mist, so thanks. Its my new favourite.
I've never jumped off a bridge, and maybe I never will, but I have flown a glider. That was a different kind of cool. You should try it. But be careful - if you hit a thermal your stomach will be in your oesophogus. Maybe that's what it felt like before you stepped off the bridge...before the endorphins kicked in? Mmm endorphins...
I went to the Saturday concert (seems like years ago now) and loved it. I would have paid twice as much and flown twice as far just to be in the same room as those guys. I was insulted to learn that Vector management knew that the arena wasn't finished but did a patch up job - and are now reassuring the New Zealand public that it will be ready for, ahem, Guns'N'Roses! What the...? Excuse me? No offence to G'N'R fans but come on! Priorities people!
Happy trails to you Dave. Hope you all come back to NZ soon. Five years is unacceptable - will you tell the guys? But next time come to Wellington and play our stadium instead. February/March would be nice. No Antarctic winds ruining the concert. Although, when Bowie played the stadium and it poured with rain he promptly put on a parka and kept going. What a trooper!
Take care of yourself - don't do anything dangerous.
We went to Sunday nights show & thought it was awesome could hear the songs good but
not the band talking to the crowd. Was awesome hearing crowd singing along to so many songs,where we were sitting looked down on where your sound gear was set up must say looked dam impressive I also wouldn't have found your blog without your email to the herald.Hope you & the Chilis are back here soon.
keep it up!
hey i went to the saturday sho (i no this comment is quite late) but i thought it was amazing, my friend and i were about 2meters in ront of John for the etire show and loved all of it. was one of the best nights ever, u guys did a really good job thank u so much for coming to new zealand (you should come down to dunedin next time 2!) keep up the awesum job. ;-)
Kia ora Bro,
A few things firstly that venue sound issue
I worked on the first gig "Supernova' at the Vuckter Earinger right from the word go we all knew it was going to be hell.
To much steel, a warped shaped roof (as a matter of interest the building was delayed because they had to alter the roof structure which ultimately changed the acoustic for which they may not have taken into serious consideration) way to much glass and a floor that must have been manufactured from some Antarctic Iceberg shavings 50ft thick.
Anyway, after the show venue guys were patting themselves on the back when one of our crew guys passed them by and remarked on the poor sound due directly from the make up of the venue. â€œThe band were to loud, the venue stood up to itâ€, was the reply...ahh ok what ever, like what do we know except that we have been the local roadie crew for over 15 years together, (12 of us in total) and worked in every venue in NZ and most others around the world and know bad shit when we hear it.
We just did Pink in there and guess what, a little progress, the venue have used a local staging company to drape over all the exposed glass panels around the venue, what next carpet on the rink, duvet covers hanging from the load points?
Any way point two, pointing the finger
I was on the Slayer gig the night of the RHCP Sat show and was a little surprised to see a few of the boys make their way up to our gig rather than be down at the Arena, I got to have a break just after change over and went for a typical roadie coffee and scones and have a catch up with the boys to see how the load in went for you guys. I had heard some rumors during the day that some of your team was â€œconcernedâ€
All of them were moaning about the sound quality of the venue and couldnâ€™t handle it and decided to come on up to the St James which is nearing a 100 years old and hang out with my crew and enjoy what a venue should sound like (at one point every piece of steel embedded into the concrete walls were vibrating aahhh quality rock, quality venue, the audience didnâ€™t even notice) A couple of the boys were feeling for you and your crew bro and they could see the frustration that was being well suppressed and really felt embarrassed about the shambles. Kiwi roadies take pride in every gig we work on no matter what the job role is and enjoy hearing and seeing the results and seeing a visiting crew lapping up the good vibe, we hope that in two weeks time when we rock into GnR things have moved a little further, but two weeks in my opinion wont be enough time to fix the problem, a problem not caused by the acts and there crews.
Final point NZ Reviewers
Only want to meet the bands