On Sunday Elysha and I went to the Blondie/Elvis Costello concert at Mohegan Sun. I’m not an Elvis Costello fan, but Elysha loves him, and the tickets were a gift from me.
And I like Blondie.
Of all the venues where we could see a concert, Mohegan Sun is one of our least favorites. The arena itself is fine, but needing to walk through a smoky casino in order to reach the arena is not fun, and exiting the arena at 10:00 to find parents dragging small children between slot machines and craps tables is not the way I like to end an evening of music and frivolity.
The concert had one other distinction:
It was the loudest concert I’ve ever attended. Blondie’s volume was fine, but Elvis Costello was offensively loud. In fact, he was so loud that Elysha told me later that she had considered leaving for a moment. As a person who has never liked Elvis Costello very much, I had intended on spending the show listening carefully to his music and looking for things to like.
Instead, I couldn’t discern a single lyric, and the more closely I listened, the more my ears hurt.
I saw Guns N Roses at The Orpheum in Boston in 1988. That was a loud concert.
I saw Motley Crue at the Worcester Centrum in that same year. Also loud.
But 64-year old Elvis Costello was the loudest of all. Considering that Elysha and I were two of the youngest people at the concert, maybe Costello was playing for an older, slightly hearing-impaired crowd.
Otherwise why play so damn loud?
While attempting to withstand the wall of sound, I found myself wondering:
What is the worst concert I’ve ever attended?
The answer came quickly:
In June of 2000, I saw Creed with some forgettable opening acts at the Meadows Music Theater. It was an awful concert.
First, it was Creed. While they admittedly had some enormous hits in the 1990’s, they were never my thing. Overwrought lyrics packed with Biblical imagery and hints of Christian rock was never my jam. That really should’ve been enough to keep me away, but a girl wanted to see the band, so I agreed to go.
But it wasn’t the music that made it the worst concert I’ve ever seen. It was lead singer Scott Stapp’s decision to spend enormous amounts of time between songs talking to the audience through a sound system that often made him incomprehensible. Stapp was already a questionably charismatic lead vocalist, seeming a little too preachy for my taste, but being forced to listen to him offer his thoughts between every song was too much for me.
The Meadows - now the Xfinity Center - is also an open air area, and it was oppressively hot that day.
Worst concert ever.
The concert that I expected to hate but surprisingly didn’t was New Kids on the Block circa 1989. I did not like the band at all but agreed to take my sister to the concert to make her happy.
I entered the arena planning to despise everything about the concert, but damn if I wasn’t caught up in the band’s energy and showmanship. I didn’t end up liking New Kids on the Block, but for about two hours that night, I loved those guys.
What was your worst concert ever?