Crowd Roars in Disapproval for Staples Center Sound System
Robert Hilburn’s review of the Bruce Springsteen concert at Staples Center was right on the money (“Rockin’ in the Heart of Opulence,” Oct. 19). I attended Monday night’s show, and Bruce and the band were excellent, as always. No other band rivals their showmanship, enthusiasm and sheer length of play.
Despite all this, the overall experience of the concert was a huge disappointment. The only seats I could get were in section 303, and although they were sold at the premium price of $67.50, they were the worst concert seats I have ever had. My family and I were nine rows from the top, and about as far back from the stage as one can get.
Hilburn commented on the state-of-the-art sound system, but from where we were sitting, it was muffled and impossible to hear what Bruce was saying. I had the vague feeling that I was on a hilltop watching a wonderful party going on down below but that I was too far removed to really be a part of it.
What really ruined the evening was the crowd in our section. My sister and I stood to dance and were rudely told to sit down. If you are not ready to stand when Bruce Springsteen is introducing Clarence Clemons, then you should not be at the show.
Apparently Hilburn was sitting nowhere near the third tier where I watched, not heard, Springsteen. From the first song there was an audible murmur regarding how we couldn’t hear. The sound was muffled, words were garbled and there was a noticeable hum whenever the band was playing full sound.
It was so thoroughly frustrating and disappointing, especially since it seemed Bruce was his awesome self. Next time I want to sit with you, Bob, only let’s have it be somewhere besides Staples.
When I first arrived at Staples Center for the Springsteen concert, I was in awe of its modernity and thought it was an architectural wonder. When I reached my seat, which was in the first row of the upper level, I wondered why the restraining wall was only 2 feet high, composed of 15 inches of concrete and an additional 9 inches of glass. This was shocking.
It is not a question of if but rather when someone will fall to his or her death, be it a drunken teenager at a concert, a 70-year-old man who accidentally loses his balance while standing to cheer the Lakers or someone who is accidentally pushed over in a fight one row up.
The sound might have been great on the stadium floor, but it was anything but on the deceptively labeled “upper mezzanine,” really the third level above the sky boxes. My wife and I paid the top price of $67.50 for seats that were just a few rows from the ceiling and at the opposite end of the building from the stage, so we couldn’t see a thing. (I am wondering where the cheap seats are located--on the outside of the building, perhaps?)
We at least expected to hear everything clearly. Instead we got a bass-heavy muddle. Even Springsteen’s spoken remarks were difficult to decipher. We had to read lips on the very small video monitors to get any of the spoken words at all.
BRUCE R. FELDMAN
We were out of the arena and in our car inside of 10 minutes. It took 15 minutes to get back home. Hurrah for the traffic engineers. The arena itself, meanwhile, is still a work in progress.
ED and CINDY MORRIS
As as cynic of public transportation, I was pleasantly surprised by my ride on the Blue Line from Long Beach to Staples Center. The $2.70 fare was more than reasonable, and the joy of not dealing with traffic jams or paying $20 for a parking space made for an enjoyable ride.
It appears, however, that the MTA just didn’t think. The Springsteen concert ended at 11:30 p.m., the Blue Line stopped at 11:27 p.m. Oops! Just when I thought L.A. had made it into the realm of feasible mass transit, they botch it all up. Major cities like New York, Chicago, Atlanta all have incredible mass-transit systems. The one thing they all have in common is that they run late on nights of events.
From where I sat, 12 rows behind the mixing station, the concert sound was a muddy roar ringing off the concrete walls of the premier suites. I used to have similar sound in my teens when I would blow out the tweeters of my car stereo.
Also, would it kill you to send somebody objective to the show? Hilburn could have written that review without going; probably had most of it in his computer for 12 years.