As many people know, the Spice Girls recently got back together after 20 years for another tour. The excitement among fans was unimaginable. However, things soon took a turn for the worse as their gigs have been plagued by sound issues, and not just once either. Their first two performances experienced a number of problems with fans complaining and even walking out! So what’s behind all this? Industry experts have commented on possible reasons behind the cause of these issues. The most probably causes are the venues, the crowds, and ridiculously high expectations.
One of the most obvious reasons for fans not being able to hear the band properly is because of the crowds. While microphone technology has come a long way in recent years, it can’t work miracles. Imagine 80,000 fans all screaming and cheering at the top of their lungs, remembering the good old days. The poor sound engineers have to try and amplify the microphones to be louder than tens of thousands of people, which simply isn’t possible with that many people in the stadiums. It’s no wonder the people further back were experiencing intermittent sound.
While some people may suggest turning up the speakers more, it’s not that simple. Certain venues will often have sound limits imposed by the local councils. Going past those limits would be in violation of the agreements, which isn’t good for anyone.
The Spice Girls are one of the most iconic bands in modern music history and lots of people would expect perfection from them. However, a lot has changed in the 20 years prior to their reunion. Everyone has got used to hearing crisp, sharp music through the latest headphones played on their iPod. However, with live music, especially with large crowds, this simply isn’t the case and music sounds significantly different.
The third reason why the sound may not be up to scratch on the first two gigs of the girls’ latest reunion tour is the venues they were playing at. Dublin’s Croke Park and Cardiff’s Principality Stadium were the first two stops on the tour and were where sound issues were found. According to Willie Williams, a stage designer who is most famous for his work with the O2 arena, says that these stadiums are notoriously bad for sound and music.
Sports stadiums aren’t built for music so playing in them does have some downsides. In an auditorium that’s purpose built for sound, the majority of the surface are soft and absorbent. However a stadium is built to reflect such sounds to make a more exciting atmosphere for the crowds. This doesn’t work well for music gigs though, as the fans found out. It is possible to reduce the effects though by hanging drapes around the stadium. However, in a touring world, this isn’t time or cost effective as the turnaround between venues is so quick.
Despite all the disappointment thus far, the third venue has no sound issues at all, to fans’ delight. It’s not all fun and games though as anyone who paid to go to the first two venues are sorely disappointed at what happened. That’s just how music gigs go though, isn’t it? Sound will always be a bit of a gamble, especially during tours.