Friday, November 30, 2007

Sounding Off At The O2

So yesterday I made my third visit to the big smoke this year – and once again it was Destination Dome. I headed to the O2 to see Take That.

Visit 1, secret launch night - saw poor organisation but great gig.
Visit 2, Scissor Sisters - saw improved organisation but poor gig.

Visit 3… straightaway arriving at the O2 things were much better. The staff know what they’re doing now and guests movement flows much better. The restaurants weren’t as packed as previous visits – everyone who wanted to eat could. Also at the end of the night the stampede to the Underground was much smoother. It was still a crush but it didn’t feel like a dangerous crush.

As for the gig I can now say that after 3 visits to the O2 there’s definitely something not right. The O2’s website makes claims of the best quality sound no matter where you sit. Apparently the arena has been designed with acoustics in mind – if that’s the case then the designer was tone deaf.

I first noticed it when Tom Jones hit the stage at the first gig – everything was very bass heavy, almost muffled and although I love good bass it shouldn’t be at the expense of vocals. The simple fact is that every time I have been to the Dome the vocals seem to get drowned out by very heavy bass. Compare that to the MEN Arena where everything sounded perfectly crystal clear and balanced – the bass was still there but the vocals surfed it perfectly.

The Scissor Sisters was the worst – I was at the back of the O2 arena for this gig and you could hardly hear what they were saying.

After three visits it’s now at the point were this is frustrating and for future gigs The O2 will be at the bottom of my list of preferred destinations. (Thankfully I have tickets for Kylie at the MEN next year which is probably my favourite arena.)

The gig itself was superb, I’ve never been a member of the Take That fan club. Sure Back For Good’s a nice song but as a Teen I found them all quite smug and annoying. Shine though caught my attention, I love it – it’s a near perfect pop song. (Though my suspicions that it’s similarities to ELO’s excellent Mr Blue Sky are deliberate were confirmed at the gig by them mixing it into Mr Blue Sky.) Anyway the interaction with the crowd was brilliantly relaxed and chatty unlike Scissor Sisters who felt a tad patronising. I was also extremely impressed with the excellent ‘Never Forget’ set piece featuring some very, very clever video synchronisation.

So Take That I you’ll be pleased to know I’ll now be shamelessly buying your album.

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