Hello hello, my name is Dave Rat, I have worked for the Red Hot Chili Peppers as their sound engineer for 17 years now and mixed nearly every show for them during that time frame. Additionally, over the years I have mixed other bands including Rage Against the Machine, The Offspring, Blink 182, The Foo Fighters and many more.
It may also be interesting to note that this is the first time I have ever commented on a concert review in a public forum and that the reason I am doing so is because I am hoping that my comments will have a positive impact on something that can and should be dealt with regarding the Vector Arena.
First, I would like to preface by saying that all of "us" that includes the Chili Peppers band and crew, absolutely love New Zealand! We love the people, the beauty, the attitude and how it feels to be surrounded by and in such a wonderful place. I know this because that is all we ever say whenever we travel to your wonderful country. Everyone with us glows and smiles.
Also, I think it is awesome that there is an arena now that is in the size range that will attract more bands and more music to Auckland. It is an expensive and logistically complex endeavor to bring a large rock production to a far away place and it usually requires air freighting in tremendous amounts of gear and now with a venue in this size range it makes it more feasible for many cool and not-so-cool bands come your way.
I must admit that I was a bit taken back by this show review as it did seem to be quite out of touch with both what the audience was experiencing and an off-base summarization of the event based on what I have seen in the hundreds of Peppers shows I have been to, but hey, each to their own opinion, fair enough. The shows were unique and the band made them special, so I felt a bit sad when I heard the "oh, can't they just play the same old songs". But all of that is neither here nor there, just another opinion to toss into the mix of viewpoints that make live shows so interesting
As far as the sound quality of the show, I rarely offer my viewpoint as I prefer to leave it up to the people experiencing the show to derive their own perceptions and that is the nature and beauty of the beast.
Today, though, I will make an exception to my sonic commenting silence and agree with many if not all of the people commenting. My take on the sound of the shows is that the sound quality and intelligibility ranged from quite good to quite poor depending on where you were sitting. And though there should not have been any sold seats in areas not covered by speakers, there were many areas where the room reflections were significant enough to mask clarity and intelligibility due to room reflections. That said, I would like to point out that the reviewer's statement: "the faint zing of reverb that might have been masked had someone simply turned up the volume" is inaccurate.
There was a significant roar of reflections that increased substantially with distance from stage that would easily categorize this new venue into the lower depths of not-so-good sound, to put it nicely. Unfinished is what comes to mind. A curved roof with no acoustic panels? What were they thinking? That is about as smart as having 10,000 kids on a floor as slick as an ice skating ring. Oh wait, we had that too! I saw people dropping like flies and many did not get up so fast as they appeared a bit less functional than they were before they smashed on the concrete. Ouch! Turning up the sound louder in a highly reverberant room will not reduce the room reverb, it actually will increase it as the sonic reflections will get louder right there with the volume increase.
So, now for my main motivation behind posting here. You have a wonderful new arena that will up the anti for the diversity and quality of live music headed to Auckland. I have traveled the world many times over and mixed sound on all levels from clubs to stadiums. I know arenas and I know them well and this Vector place is an echo chamber that can be greatly improved if adequate sound treatments are added to the reduce sound reflections. I say this as an audio professional and sound engineer and I say it in hopes that somehow the people reading this have the desire and power to inspire the powers that be to solve the sonic issues in Vector so that it is closer to par with even the mediocre sounding venues throughout the rest of the planet. I also say this as a sound engineer that looks forward to returning to beautiful country and so many truly warm welcoming people.
If you would like to comment to me directly or are curious to know more Peppers live sound and shows, try a Google search on Dave Rat Peppers Blog.
I just got home today and I miss you already!!