NPR logo Suffering for Art; Big Venues and Music

Suffering for Art; Big Venues and Music

Last night I and small group of others from NPR Music went to see/hear Radiohead at the Nissan Pavilion, about an hour outside of Washington, D.C. The band was as amazing as I hoped they would be, but the venue nearly killed it.

Nissan Pavilion is one of those big, outdoor venues, with a partially covered section. It's one of the worst venues I know of to get in to and to leave. I could have driven three hours to a show in Philly and been home sooner. An hour and half just to get out of a parking lot is outrageous, (and for some it was much longer) as was the two hours getting in to it. (many including our producer Robin Hilton turned around and gave up after many frustrating hours.)

There was a torrential rain last night and the crowd in the pavilion... well, we were all drenched and freezing from the cold, stormy wind. But we were the lucky ones; we didn't have lawn seats.

The night air was filled by a band playing remarkable music to a very uncomfortable and dedicated crowd. The lights were great, the sound was just okay. There were two encores. (Here's a clip from the show someone posted on youtube):

I love this band as much as anyone, but I felt myself hoping the encores would stop so I could get in my car and go home and get out of my cold, wet clothes.

Article continues after sponsorship

When I finally did get in my car, we all sat there shivering and wondered how many other bands we would do this for. I had trouble thinking of anyone other than Radiohead.

Understanding that suffering is, of course, a relative term here (this isn't Myanmar), what's the most you've endured to see your favorite band?

And big venues, do you avoid them or love them?

and this just in from a band that clearly cared and felt bad for the crowd last night.