Monday night I got to see (or should I say "hear") the Elton John show at Bridgestone Arena in a very different way. I listened to the show through headphones. I know. Pretty weird at a concert right.
But here's where it gets very Nashville. The headphones let you remix the sound of the show, the way you like it. How many people in Music City are musicians, producers, roadies, or sound engineers? Most of us.
The Elton John tour has been working with the people at PEEX to let you hear the show in a whole new way. You wear special ear buds that get a feed directly from the soundboard of the concert. Then you control the sound with an app on your phone.
Want to hear the guitar more during that solo, bring it up in the mix on your phone. Less piano, but more lead singer? You can make that happen by adjusting the mix on your phone. The Peex tech takes a special feed from the concert mix and sends it to the special device you wear and sends it to the earbuds. The earbuds allow in ambient sound, so you're not isolated from the concert experience of the crowd. You can still carry on a conversation with your friends. Even though it's on your phone, it doesn't interfere with the use of other apps (like your camera).
But how does it sound? Sitting right up near the stage, it was impressive. For me it was the vocals. It felt like his microphone was wired directly to my brain. As I was walking up the stairs to try Peex out in different parts of the arena, a man stopped me to see if they work. So I put the buds in his ears. His review: He just mouthed a giant "wow".
For my money, Peex shows it's stuff when you're in the 300 level far away from the stage. At that point, in an arena designed for hockey, you're getting strange acoustics (echos, slight delays, etc). Wearing peeks let's you filter out those unwanted acoustics. You may not see the band as well up there, but you'll hear it perfectly.
There were a few 1/2 second dropouts of the ear bud audio from time to time, but I feel that bug will be worked out.
Peex is talking to other artists, but right now they're just focused on the Elton John Farewell tour. In the near future, I can easily see this as something you rent at certain concerts (for say $20) to enhance your experience. For your favorite artist, well worth it.