Worst Concerts You Have Attended ??

I just left a remark about a favorite band of mine back in the day - April Wine - that I saw in concert and was disappointed. Could have been that it was an off night for them, or maybe they were never good in concert. Maybe the lead guitarist had too much to drink? April Wine was not the worst, however. I remember Neil Young in the 1990's who was on his one-man acoustic show type of tour that many artists were taking advantage of (perhaps for financial reasons) during that time. While a friend of I had near front row seats at Desert Sky Pavilion (now Ak-Chin) in Pheonix, the crowd was just roused up into a frenzy by the warm-up band (James) and here comes Neil and his guitar/harmonica. Wow, what a sonic letdown. I remember getting up and leaving and feeling Neil's glaring eyes on us as we ushered out. I think, to this day, he probably still remembers me. We all can remember the great live concerts we attended, but what were the worst and why?
I can imagine U2 being the worst even if the acoustics were good. Bono is such a bore.
U2... the were the first event in Jerryworld (Dallas AT&T stadium). The sound was better outside the arena than inside. I know because I left in middle of the concert. 
I don’t blame U2. The arena wasn’t designed for acoustics and the echoes were horrendous 
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Motion City Soundtrack in Bloomington IL. Can’t remember the name of the venue. Whoever was running the soundboard that night was either a rookie, tone deaf or absent. 
Big Joe Bonamassa fan. Wife and I have seen him 5 times but the last one 4 or so years back at the Fox Theater in Detroit was just too darn loud and that ruined it for me. So loud you could not hear the music. Add the cost of front row seats and I’d have to say it all added up to be the worse I’ve attended.

I know you didn’t ask but the best took place on August 15-18, 1969. Sound was less then to be desired but the fun factor..OH the fun factor.
Drunken, drug impaired, lousy performances.

I’ll save the grief, $$ and listen at home.

The worst I ever saw was Boston opening for Black Sabbath and BOC  whoever paired them with those other two bands was a world-class moron.  Secondly, the sound Boston created in the studio was something technology had not yet caught up to in Live PA systems at that time (early 1980's)  They got  (Boston) booed off the stage.
The My Bloody Valentine reunion tour in Portland Oregon a couple of years ago. Their music is a wash of feedback with melody underneath, transcendent. Except there was no melody, nothing to hear that identified any of their music, just feedback at 110db.
The wife has three Colnagos. Two carbon, one aluminum. All Campy. Loves them to distraction. I've had two. An aluminum Dream in Mapei colors, and a steel Master Extra Light. I loved that Mapei dearly but I got rid of it in a fit of downsizing my life.  As for the Master Light, it just weighed too much for this weight weenie and I didn't keep it much more than a  couple years. Now I'm a happy happy camper with a Bianchi Infinito.  Designed specifically for the cobbled classics, it's the perfect racing bicycle for somebody getting on in years.  Soft as a feather bed. Relaxed angles but still precise as hell.
Afraid I've no idea what an electric 'Nag could even be...?
Many (many) years ago I acquired a Master Light frameset. Only other Colnago frame in town (Indianapolis) was something, story told, that Ernesto had built for the Russians and wasn't particularly all that nice and it's tires never touched the road.

For a couple years, I was the only rider in town straddling a Colnago. Slowly they started popping up in the region one by one. Picked up a C-40 some 20 years ago. It remains main primary road ride. In a position now that I could have pretty much any bike I might want, but I just can't let go of the C-40. Fits perfect and just feels so damn good. Very 'old school' now by appearance, but really don't care. Always Campy. Love Dura-Aces ergonomics and endurance, and quite fond of the Sram Red set-up on our tandem, just thinking Ernie might be a little disappointed were his machine not all Italian...
Did have chance to meet Mr. Merckx at the Atlanta Olympics, but would loved to have also made Ernesto's acquaintance as well.
@ecolnago -- I gotta ask. Are you honoring Ernesto (who I had the opportunity of meeting once)? Or are you committing an unpardonable sin by contemplating/constructing an electric 'Nag?
Funny, and good, that everyone's different. As goodlistening64 referenced in the thread's opener, I, too, saw Neil do has solo act at Deer Creek Ampitheatre, Indianapolis, late 90's. Beautiful fall evening with a full moon. To this day, his rendition of 'Harvest Moon' that evening is the most memorable musical experience I've had to date. And I've been to a show or two. Having a very cute young lady's head resting on my shoulder might have had added a little something to it, but it was just a wonderful experience, regardless. When he laid into 'Like a Hurricane' on the pump-pedal organ...YUM. 

Always fond of CSN&Y. Had chance to catch CS&N at Deer Creek as well. Expectations were perhaps a bit too high. Michael Hedges opened. I'd never even heard of him before. And he just killed it. Simply mesmerizing. CS&N came out sounding/looking dreadful. Weren't even close to being in the same game. Still's should have just come out and said 'sorry folks, we simply can no longer give you what he (Hedges) just gave. Good nite.'

Indy put on an outdoors Jazz Festival downtown late 90's. Broad range of serious talent. Richard Thompson did a short solo set on acoustical guitar. Somehow, and I'd never heard this before or since, they had his guitar in 2-channel stereo over the PA system. Confess I've never really been a big Thompson fan, but whoever was running the boards and however they dialed in the mic-setup was epic. It was a broad, open, fairly expansive chunk of lawn. Nothing intimate about it at all. But i've never heard any PA'd concert acoustics that have ever come close to that since. Outstanding. Wish more attention were devoted to dialing in the acoustics. Makes all the difference in the world. 

I don't attend, (just watch them on TV as a curmudgeon viewer) but the annual Grammys. The performances get worse as I get older.
I attended numerous shows at the Fillmore East in the late sixties and always experienced a great show there with respectful audiences. In later years It was difficult to enjoy shows that cost many many times more money with the rudest selfish people in the audience standing on chairs in front of you, constantly walking up and down the isles and talking loudly over the music and awful sound systems. I gave up large venues for rock music a long time ago and for many decades I enjoyed small Jazz clubs with the top Jazz musicians and I have never heard bad Jazz set. I enjoy my audio system and concert dvds when I feel the need. 
Led Zeppelin July 1977. The second show at the Oakland Coliseum after the fight with Bill Graham and Security. John Bonham was arrested the next day for assault. We waited over 90 minutes for them to come out and they mailed it in.

Close second was Diana Ross at Saratoga Mountain Winery. Opened with her daughter, then Ms Ross came out and sang for less than an hour. I’d paid over $400 for a pair of tickets and felt ripped off.
Two particularly  bad shows for more for different reasons.
Hall and Oates as they opened the Fillmore in Philadelphia. As they took the stage at 8 walked off the stage at 9:30 .  including  3\minutes of Daryl promoting his TV show . For the home-town boys this was the worst christening of a venue in Philly on record!  No second set - maybe they had to go put their make-up on and got lost in the new building.....
Springsteen at the LINC in Philly - great 3 hour show that was marred by me being  two rows from the top and the sound reverberating all night long . I should have paid more to be down on the floor. 
A third bad experience was going to see Marshall Tucker , The Outlaws and I think Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet band at the Spectrum . Rear-ended on the Schuykill expressway on the way down. Someone selling glow sticks accidently breaking one and spraying the liquid on my face -  I was in stinging pain in one eye for nearly an hour . and ...the person behind me throwing up on me during the show  ..........seriously the Trifecta. 
The show was great and I stayed to  watch it all  
Dwight Yoakam April 16, 2016 Pikeville, KY. What a letdown. The sound was so bad when he talked between songs you couldn’t understand him. Not one word. Since I pretty much have his entire catalog committed to memory I could make out which songs he was playing but only barely.  I thought maybe the whole audience was on the MTV show Punk’d. Sadly we were never let in the joke if indeed we were. This was my 9th or 10th time seeing Dwight and all times before the sound had been sublime but not here. And to beat it all it was his hometown and he had family members in attendance. Best show Pearl Jam September 5, 2000 Pittsburgh, PA. They kicked the show off with Evenflow, to my knowledge the only instance they’ve played it as an opener, and it was buckle your seatbelt from there on. I personally feel that they were at the peak of their power on the 2000 tour, I saw them in multiple venues that year but the Pittsburgh show reigns supreme. It was truly a religious experience. It was outdoors in an amphitheater and the sound was still fantastic, although the boys threw down so well that night I think it would’ve sounded good on an old Sears tape recorder. I’m 95% sure the official bootleg of this show is available on iTunes. I highly recommend checking it out. Runner-up and another religious experience was Fugazi April 5, 2002 in Huntington, WV. These guys were amazing live and that’s all I can say. It was life changing. 
Worked at the Tinley park world theatre first year it opened.
   Grateful Dead was ok.
my friend and I bought some pb&j sandwiches from those damn hippies, little did we know, they were not normal sandwiches.  
 We put o n our African shirts with the V neck design, used our badges to get into show.
 Had a blast, not including the cruddy surprise from those darn sandwiches.  Went to his house, watched “best of the best” blitzed on whatever was in those sandwiches. Drove back , put work shirts on, and punched out after traffic left, we did this for almost every good rock show the opening season. 
 Had a blast and made a 30 year friend to boot!
      Show was good, I was used to the music being a fan of the band.
   The Dead were a good live jam band.


I thought I answered this but got distracted and did not submit my response. 

Worst: The Cars on City Island in Harrisburg, PA for the Heartbreak City tour. Now I have come to really love the band over the years but this particular night was not good for them. They did not seem to want to be there. This was in July 1984. Contrast this with Asia in August of 1983 at the same venue. While the turnout for Asia was not as good, they put on a great show and even played some Yes and ELP as they really only had two albums at the time. Also, I think they felt the real fans are the ones who showed up. For some reason the The Cars did not even address the audience once. One other show that was not so great for me was Yes at Starwood Amphitheater outside Nashville. My friends loved it and I was bored to tears for some reason. Love prog but never really got into Yes.

Best: There are two I will list here. (1) Genesis at the Capital Center in Landover Maryland. This was a cold snowy night in January 1987. The snow on the roof made it where the Showco Prism system could not be flown due to the weight. Something about this night was special. Loved it with fond memories of better days. (2) Pink Floyd at Vanderbilt Stadium on The Division Bell tour. This show opened with Astronomy Domine and was fantastic as well. This tour is a benchmark that will never be replicated. There are great tours since but this one sort of stands on its own. 

The band I have seen the most is Rush with a show in Nashville on the Hold Your Fire tour being the single loudest event I have ever been to. When the downbeat of The Big Money kicked in it blew you into the back of the arena. Unbelievably off the charts loud. The U2 360 tour at Vanderbilt was also too loud so I will ding them on that. I has hearing issues for several years after that show and have not been back to a live concert since. 

The being said I am tempted to fly over to O2 area for Genesis's "The Last Domino" tour if it can happen later in the year. 
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That's too bad, I've seen Chris 6 times and he's always been outstanding. It sounds like a bad situation.
I'm a big BB King and the first two times I saw him, he was really great, even at this advanced age.  The final time, though, the Thrill Was Most Definitely Gone.  He played snippets of his own song, interspersed with about a dozen renditions of "You Are My Sunshine," while flirting semi-coherently and quite embarrassingly with a woman in the audience.  It was clear his band was milking him for a few more paydays before he checked out completely.

About as bad was an outdoor Chris Isaak show at local winery, which was interrupted by a lightning storm.  Venue operators completely unprepared and about 2,000 people crammed into space designed for about 200 (others went to cars, busses, etc.).  They tried to address an increasingly unruly crowd but no one new how to use the internal PA system.  Tried to use a bullhorn but instead triggered a loud police siren.  Once in the room, they wouldn't let people leave, because walking to the cars would be unsafe.  When they finally admitted that the should won't not, in fact, go on, they tried to keep people from retrieving their belongings (which we'd been instructed to leave behind in the rain) from the concert area -- that didn't last long.  In short, we saw about five songs during a frustrating 3+ hours, got soaked, and generally had a miserable night.
Never went to a bad one of the 2,000  Classical concerts I have gone to ,    Sorry.
Pink Floyd, Oakland Colusium, 1994

Had to cup my ears to hear, 2 rows from the top. But the visuals WERE astounding 
Yanni at the Gorge in eastern Washington. It rained the entire concert, and we had no umbrellas because it’s always warm there. The music however was great!
Wow great thread! Thanks all for sharing. Worst for me was Pearl Jam at Red Rocks in 95 I believe. I thought Vedder sounded terrible. Not sure if altitude had anything to do with it but between the heat and having all our alcohol confiscated entering the venue, we were all disappointed. I have to agree with above comments regarding King Crimson. I have seen many shows from the early 80’s to most recently a few years ago with a multitude of line ups and they never disappoint. Robert Fripp is indeed a gentleman and one of my favorite musicians. Pier in NYC in 84 and Paramount theatre in Denver in 95 with California Guitar trio are two of my favorites.
Well since you mentioned Van Morrison, 6/10/2005 at Red Rocks. He had no energy, was arrogant, never said a word or looked at the audience. Phoned in the whole thing. I had the same experience some of you had with Aerosmith in 1978. Just terrible. Messed up. Way too loud. Couldn't understand a word Tyler said. David Byrne was a real treat! Engaging, funny, very original and a great time. One last thing. Saw BB King at Red Rocks in 1990. He played well. He stood the whole time and had good energy. Saw him about 10 yrs later and it was the 30 second riff and all talk. Total let down.
I was so glad to hear goodlistening64 response regarding the 1990s Neil Young's solo performance. I also saw that show and felt ripped off. I remember yelling “PLAY A SONG WE KNOW”. I’ve told people over the years how bad that show was. Feels good to express my displeasure even after all these years
ssobel - The "acoustic" tours that artists were taking up during the 90's was a financial windfall for everyone involved but the audience. Those concerts should have been held in small venues where intimacy is palpable and the music (usually one instrument and one voice) can be at it's fullest. Had it not been for the rousing music of James (the lead singers body shaking was impressive and a crowd favorite!) that preceded it, I would have felt completely ripped off. Surely Neil knew better. There are scant few artists who can command attention from an audience of 20K while sitting on a stool with flat vocals with just an harmonica and guitar. Feels good to have commiserated with another on bad things that have happened in concert life!

Thank you everyone for the responses as they are revealing. Let's just say that Bob Dylan and Aerosmith concerts should be attended only after receiving free tickets and an early escape plan.

I have seen Springsteen three times with the last time being for free because my neighbor could not get anyone to go with him and was desperate. Held at that time in Philly's new Eagles stadium, we were as far away from the stage as possible on the upper tier - on the south side. The music came and went with the breeze. A fair amount of it was not audible. We trekked down to stage level and the sound was great. Stadiums and arenas do not always make for a good concert; where you sit matters. As some have stated, there are venues that are made for sound and to a fair extent will ensure a good sounding concert - barring that the artist can stand up and see straight. It is interesting that perhaps the venue should be the first choice, with the artist you are going to hear not being the priority. Fly to Toronto first, then get to whomever is playing that night. :)

Thank's for participating. I have read all of the posts and hopefully more people will post bad concert memories. Lol. 

Worst concerts for me have typically been stadium shows.  Went to a Guns and roses, Deep purple and Aerosmith combined concert in Meadowlands stadium.  The sound was awful, the performers seemed uninspired and during Deep Purple's smoke covered water someone lit a huge fire in the stands which caused a huge commotion. 

One of the best was shocking to me.  Elliot Yamin, who was a contestant on American Idol, put on a show at a great club in Toronto called the Mod club.  I like his music but didn't expect much and really only went for the wife.  Let me tell you, it was smoking.  The band was incredible and tight, the acoustics were great, Elliot has a great voice and the crowd was really into it.  I had a great time. 
aside from my jr. high and high school band performances, i am reluctant to use the term "worst" when referring to amateur musicians putting their heart and soul into playing as best they can, however clumsily in the grand scheme. a 1992 performance by the st. paul police band, in the great mall of america, comes to mind. god bless 'em but their timing and pitch/intonation were all over the map, but still they put out an enjoyable performance for those of an open mind, something about the acoustics of the place [an open court surrounded by lots of masonry] added more "there" to the band, solidified them and gave them more gravity than they'd have had otherwise. 
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Sir Elton John in Wilkes Barre, PA "performed" without a band but with recorded fill. It was a kiss the ring sort of show. It seemed he could not have cared less and was, by then, making bank on his Disney tunes. God awful show.
I was so glad to hear goodlistening64 response regarding the 1990s Neil Young's solo performance. I also saw that show and felt ripped off. I remember yelling “PLAY A SONG WE KNOW”. I’ve told people over the years how bad that show was. Feels good to express my displeasure even after all these years.
This could be best....or worst - you tell me.
saw Dexter Gordon at 7th Ave South, got there early, no assigned seating so I sat A1 dead center first row. This venue is kinda tiny, there is no bad seat but I wanted to improve on the situation with up front seat. Slowly place filled up, packed house and the last seats to go are all the seats around me.  dexter starts playing sax emotionally and I got spit on all night long.  Some regulars were joking they were tempted to warn me. I don’t know, if I was a teenager and it was the Beatles I would never wash again.

had tickets to see Jefferson Starship at a local military base.  They canceled due to health of one of the members. All the non military ticket holders like me didn’t get notified and the venue was set up. Opening band didn’t know either so they said may as we’ll play if we are already here. They had run of the house for 3 hours , did mostly covers and the few there casually sang along and called out requests. Being a military base, they don’t just put on a show, they feed you. Great platters of simple American food.  At the end  a guy in uniform apologized and said to stay tuned, the show will be rebooked and our tickets will be valid.
2 months later I came for the rain date show....and the band missed the flight earlier that day. So once again the opening band played, we ate and were promised when the show does finally come about our tickets will still be good.

by the way, before “frampton comes alive” I had no idea who he was. In fact, I don’t know ANY non live or studio work of his.

my friend used to sneak into the fire escape back door of the Fillmore East regularly so he got to see so many more shows than he could afford.
I have to say Earth, Wind and Fire in 1978. Some guy grabbed my ticket out of my hand and I never got to attend. Rough crowd at that show. Best concert was Bob Marleys last show ever at the Stanley Theatre in Pittaburgh. 
Worst? I’m not sure worst, but a huge disappointment. The Grateful Dead with Bob Dylan in the mid 80’s @ the Akron Rubber Bowl. Tom Petty opened. Jerry was terrible, Bob was terrible, and when they sang together, it was twice as bad. No matter how good the rest of the band was, that marred the afternoon/evening for me. A couple days later I learned that Jerry was in the hospital on his death bed in a diabetic comma. I’m sure that accounted for his performance, but Bob’s?

As a somewhat post-Deadhead, that did it for me for a while. I didn’t go see them for a few more years. I saw Bob again in the late 90’s, Natalie Merchant opened. I actually went to see her, and she was fantastic, but Bob and his band blew me away that night. A redeeming concert for Bob after what I witnessed 10+ years earlier.

The good thing about that earlier concert was Tom Petty. Didn’t really care, but he was fantastic, and made a fan out of me for years to come. The silver lining....and Jerry recovered....for a few more years.
Two worst shows. Aerosmith 1977 with opening act Nazareth. Nazareth killed it. Incredible performance. Aerosmith was too loud, too drunk, incapable of performing.

The Who. Apr 28, 1980 in St. Louis with The Pretenders opening. Chrissie Hynde. Awesome performance. This was my third Who concert. Keith Moon had passed in 1978. This was not the Who. Totally bummed. My faith would be renewed when Simon Phillips joined in 1988. Phillips put in a performance that was absolutely incredible. Phillips played Kieth Moon. Phillips owned this night. -
Ben Folds with yMusic, at Live on the Green in Nashville, maybe 2017?  It was apparently his birthday, so he could be as drunk as he wanted to be.

Also, Five Iron Frenzy in 2019 at Exit/In in Nashville.  I had such high hopes for a high-energy show despite them not having played in a while, but Reece couldn't remember the words and had a guy holding an iPad down front with cue cards.  Barely tried to hide it.  I didn't find it amusing.
Worst.. Boz Scags at the beacon, the entertainment was watching stage hands hand him a different guitar after every song.... The Stones at the Meadowlands, Jagger paced left to right on stage  and shouted the words to every song without changing pitch....Van Morrison at the Apollo, drank between every song, belittled his own band, included anti Semitic slur that the crowd went crazy with positive applause.
best moments: took my 12 year old son to PNC for ELP, Deep Purple (Steve Morse was superb ) and Dream Theater. My son was 2 years into drum lessons and he got to see Carl Palmer, Ian Pace and Mike Portnoy - they all delivered but you can’t beat youth. Portnoys energy made everybody pay attention.
22 years later my son returned the deed and surprised my by taking me to Radio City Music Hall to see King Crimson. They performed with 3 drummer s and played every song true to every note - oh so classy. They even dressed in black/white formal.

So many candidates for worst of the worst.  I see with many posts already in that nobody named Zappa & the Mothers!  Of course, how could anybody who ever saw Zappa live say that?! Only "awesome" when that meant 'full-of-awe'.  
In 1999 Santana and crew played in Minneapolis at the Target Center.  Into the second or third song the new Gov. Jesse 'the body' Ventura slid onto the stage and stood in the back and slapped at some drum they gave him.  I wanted to puke.  It was like watching Ted Nugent trying to upstage Wayne Kramer and MC-5.  Kramer is still great.  Ted still sucks and I saw him when it was still the Amboy Dukes.  Santana peaked at Woodstock.  Jessie 'I got no brain' Ventura made it all the worse.  In 1999 in Mnpls. he should have been playing with Otto's Garage!  
Bob Dylan, Olympic Stadium, Detroit, 1978.  On stage with an electric guitar backed by a female chorus dressed in glitter.

Dylan: "like a rollin' stone"
Chorus: "ooo - ooo - ooo"

(The late and lamented Olympic stadium - a horrible place for a concert but best ever for hockey.  Love the octopi.)
Worst concert was probably Eric Clapton at the Spectrum in the early 70's.  It seemed like every song turned into a jam session that went on endlessly.  It probably didn't help that we had seats in the crow's nest and the weed smoke was so bad that we could barely see the stage.  
Best concerts  -
1.  Paul McCartney at the Hershey Park stadium - played for 3 hours non-stop and was outstanding.
2.  Elton John at the Spectrum right after the release of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.  Great all around performance.
3.  Doobie Brothers right after release of the Captain and Me - they sounded incredibly good.

And I am more than a little jealous of the people who saw the Beatles in concert, if even just for the historical significance.  Really enjoyed reading everyone else's experiences by the way.  
I don’t know if this counts. Aerosmith didn’t even show up for their show in ‘77 or ‘78. “Plane caught fire in Boston” was the excuse, but we were told only after opening band Golden Earring played a 17 minute version of “Radar Love”. It got very ugly, very quickly.
The Black Crowes might have been a good show but no one could hear them. They were way too loud for the venue and I had a toothache, so that was a long night.
My wife is a lifelong fan of Barry Manilow. I got her tickets for his show at SPAC in ‘11. She would agree that it was the worst concert we ever saw together and she loves the guy. Talk about phoning it in. Complete lack of connection with the audience.
The worst show I ever saw was Heart in the mid ‘80’s when they went pop. Uninspired, choreographed, boring. They sucked and I was really disappointed.
Buddy Guy. Early 70s, there was a place north of Boston called Lenny's on the Turnpike. He came out, did a great show, took a break and when he came back, was too high to play. Kept stopping and breaking down laughing. I figure he still owes me $5. 
I never realized until today, reading these comments, how common that was/is, I thought it was a just a bad thing he did. Apparently I was lucky it didn't happen other times, given how many shows I attended.        
1extreme said:
" Add to that the fact that most modern bands can't reproduce their studoo album sound in a live concert setting it's rare that any rock concerts are worth going to."

Stupid comment.
While I never had to walk out of a concert, the Dallas Symphony was scheduled to perform the music of Schubert. I flew a private plane from where I was staying while I was still in the Air Force to Dallas to attend. When I arrived at the concert hall the ticket agent told me the symphony had been cancelled and replaced with an "Up With People" pop music festival because a mob of protesters thought symphonic music was too elitist for failing to come down to their level. I did not attend.
Years later my wife and I attended a wedding reception at a very expensive country club where there was a band shouting ever and again "Shake a tail feather," while all the very rich people were getting so drunk they were falling down on the dance floor and demanding "Shake a tail feather" be played over and over again. We left early.
@mapman  - Agreed. Even a bad concert would be OK about now......

Interestingly, we have 2 new indoor/outdoor concert venues opening downtown this summer. One is in Cincinnati at The Banks and the other about a mile away in Newport, KY (across the Ohio River). We already had a pretty good music scene for a Mid-Size market IMHO. Will be interesting to see what doubling the number of mid-sized venues is going to do for local concert bookings. New capacities - 2700-7000.