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When the Wheels Came Off

According to an insider who was at REO Speedwagon’s Harrah’s Rincon’s Pavilion show on October 2, hard-of-hearing band members torpedoed their performance.

“The guys are so fucking deaf,” says the insider, “they demanded that the front-of-house speakers be turned up to excruciating levels. It was the loudest indoor show I have ever seen in my life.”

The insider says that many of the 700 paid customers who saw the 40-year-old band were so uncomfortable with the loud volume, “…They started clearing the house soon after they started playing.…

“If you hold a snare drum up to your ear and hit as loud as you can, that’s about 95 decibels,” says the insider. “They were between 110 and 115.”

The insider says the excessive volume was the fault of the band, not Harrah’s Rincon. A spokesperson for the band said she would look into the matter but did not respond with a comment.

Another insider says Anita Baker had a remarkable stage moment at her September 27 Pala Casino Events Center concert. Allegedly frustrated with her onstage sound mix, Baker is said to have fired her own sound tech in the middle of her show.

“She’s famous for firing people on the spot,” says one insider who also alleges that Baker chastised Pala’s production staff for not giving her a three-sided curtain backdrop that she claimed was in her contract. “She wanted [the backdrop] to surround the whole stage. All she got was a kabuki [a curtain that dropped at the start of the show], and she was not happy.”

A request for a comment was made to Baker’s agent and to the Pala entertainment director. No one responded.

– Ken Leighton

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According to an insider who was at REO Speedwagon’s Harrah’s Rincon’s Pavilion show on October 2, hard-of-hearing band members torpedoed their performance.

“The guys are so fucking deaf,” says the insider, “they demanded that the front-of-house speakers be turned up to excruciating levels. It was the loudest indoor show I have ever seen in my life.”

The insider says that many of the 700 paid customers who saw the 40-year-old band were so uncomfortable with the loud volume, “…They started clearing the house soon after they started playing.…

“If you hold a snare drum up to your ear and hit as loud as you can, that’s about 95 decibels,” says the insider. “They were between 110 and 115.”

The insider says the excessive volume was the fault of the band, not Harrah’s Rincon. A spokesperson for the band said she would look into the matter but did not respond with a comment.

Another insider says Anita Baker had a remarkable stage moment at her September 27 Pala Casino Events Center concert. Allegedly frustrated with her onstage sound mix, Baker is said to have fired her own sound tech in the middle of her show.

“She’s famous for firing people on the spot,” says one insider who also alleges that Baker chastised Pala’s production staff for not giving her a three-sided curtain backdrop that she claimed was in her contract. “She wanted [the backdrop] to surround the whole stage. All she got was a kabuki [a curtain that dropped at the start of the show], and she was not happy.”

A request for a comment was made to Baker’s agent and to the Pala entertainment director. No one responded.

– Ken Leighton

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Comments
4

This was an interesting blurt. Just to note, since I once did a story on sound engineers at concert venues, holding a drum and hitting it next to your ear, is actually around 125 dBs. The sound of 90 dBs is actually like hearing a train whistler from 200 feet away. Anything above 95 dBs, after continued exposure, can damage your ears.

Oct. 15, 2008

More on the Reader blog about local concert sound and potential hearing damage:

Profiles in Sound -- Soundmen Sound Off, Concerts Are Making You Deaf, and Horn If You're Honky - Car Horns and the Honkies Who Love Them. http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/bands/2008/mar/21/sound-guys-sound-off-concerts-make-you-deaf-car-ho

Oct. 16, 2008

Interesting? More like inaccurate. This alleged "insider" doesn't know what he/she is talking about. I was at that REO Speedwagon show at Harrah's Rincon, and the sound was no louder than most of the indoor concerts that I've been to over the years. I've seen other bands in venues about that size, and walked out with my ears ringing so bad, they were still doing it the next day. I had no problems with my hearing after this show, and I was standing right at the stage with my friends during the whole show.

And this "insider" also obviously doesn't know what he/she is talking about when they stated that '“The guys are so f--king deaf,” says the insider, “they demanded that the front-of-house speakers be turned up to excruciating levels.' First off, all of the members of REO Speedwagon wear in-ear monitors so that they can hear what is being played and said. They don't rely on stage monitors to hear what is going on, on the stage.

Secondly, I have met all of the guys in the band several times over the past few years, and none of them, in both group and one on one conversations, has ever shown me any sign of being deaf. I've never seen any of them asked anyone to repeat what they said during a conversation, or appear to not hear what someone said to them, and always carry on conversations with everyone speaking in normal tones.

I think you need a new "insider."

Oct. 16, 2008

Jay, thank you for posting that. It really was interesting reading. I'm not arguing that loud noise, rock concert levels in particular, can lead to permanent hearing loss. And as a woman who has been going to rock concerts for 30+ years, and I am aware and concerned that my love for live rock shows could lead to serious hearing loss.

My issue is with the alleged "insider" referred to Ken Leighton's story and with Mr Leighton's quoting of this "insider's" words to make accusations against the character of, and supposed physical limitations of, the members of REO Speedwagon, and reporting them as fact.

As I wrote before, I was at that show at Harrah's Rincon. Was it loud? Sure, what rock concert isn't? Was it anywhere near one of the loudest indoor shows I've been to? Not even close. Did the volume of the music clear the house soon after they started playing? I can't say if anyone left for that reason or not. I wasn't interviewing them in an exit poll. I was busy having a good time at the show with my friends.

But I will say this: Casino VIP's are given free tickets to shows. I used to be a Casino VIP, so I know. Many times these tickets are only picked up and used because they are free, and they think there is nothing to lose by going...they didn't have to put out the cost of tickets, so why not check it out, and if they don't like the show, well it's no big deal to head out to the casino. I've seen it happen at many casino shows, and did it once myself. All I can say, with any certainty, is that there sure was a heck of a lot of people in that room when the show ended.

Oct. 17, 2008

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