In December my wife dragged me to a concert for a band called Airborne Toxic Event at The Disney Concert hall in downtown Los Angeles. It's a new venue, but it was built for concerts and is the home of the Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra, so the acoustics were great. In a few more days (Jan 27th) we're going to see the same band perform at legendary The Troubadour on Santa Monica in West Hollywood, which is a nightclub and a completely different feel. To tell the truth I'm looking forward more toward the upcoming show, because I really want to see them in a more intimate setting.
I have seen the Rolling Stones both at a an outdoor stadium (Sun Devil football stadium in Tempe, Arizona) and in an enclosed field house (Ford Field house in Oklahoma City, where their pro basketball team now plays) and I think I liked the enclosed field house better. Then there was Bachman Turner Overdrive outside at the football stadium at the University of North Dakota, but on the same campus I saw Arlo Guthrie in a small concert hall and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in the university hockey arena (field house) and Devo at a bar in the same town when they were first starting out. I saw Areosmith at an enclosed hockey arena in Kalamazoo, Michigan and a few years later I saw Queen there too. Then there was John Prine in an old classic refurbished movie theater also in Kalamazoo. A few years later I sat under the stars and watched Crosby, Stills and Nash at (what used to be known as) The Blockbuster Desert Sky Pavilion (won backstage passes to that one!). Great shows all!
All had their pluses and minuses. Still, when it comes right down to it, I think that the more enclosed and smaller the venue, the more I enjoyed the show. Sure some acts are meant to be writ large with lots of pyrotechnics and light shows and flash powder and Frisbees and balloons tossed and batted from fan to fan and the ever present cloud of pot smoke wafting through the air (esp in the enclosed venues). That said, I still feel the music and meaning and the feel of the performers better at a smaller venue.
How about you? If you had a chance to see the Stones in a massive show in Dodger Stadium or see them at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go on the strip, which would you pick? Does the act matter most? If you could see Bob Dylan at The Rose Bowl or The Hollywood Bowl or The House of Blues, which show would you want to see the most? I have a feeling that I'm going to enjoy watching Toxic Airborne Event at The Troubadour even more then at The Disney Concert Hall, just because of the venue.