The Hollywood Casino Amphitheater in Tinley Park is lit up by thousands of tiny iPhone flashlights, the Australian band 5 Seconds of Summer blasting through the outdoor space. My sister and I are running to our seats because we showed up late, and as their song titled ‘Disconnected’ ends, we push our way down the row of teenage girls and finally reach our designated spot. When we look up at the stage, frontman Luke Hemmings has reached the end of the long catwalk where he is still at least 70 feet away from us. This is the closest we have ever been to them, and probably ever will be, at a venue this size.
Big acts draw big crowds, and it makes sense that artists would choose to play large venues in order to accommodate as many fans as possible (and let’s be honest, make a bit more $$$). With tons of people and extremely loud music, places like Tinley Park can either be a paradise or just annoying. Here are some pros and cons of big-ass venues:
Pro: You almost always have a guaranteed seat! If you’re like me and obsess over presale codes and getting tickets the minute they go on sale, you can usually snag a few decently priced tickets, even for some of the most popular people.
Con: The band loses intimacy with the audience. After all that work for those tickets, the venue only has a handful of spots close to the front. You are extremely lucky if you can even see the performers’ facial expressions on stage. The views are all kinds of obstructed. Not to mention there are many rows of seats in front of you that you’re practically at row ZZZ. The big screens help, but it’s nowhere near as good as having the real thing in front of you.
Pro: You can be outside! Venues like Tinley Park have a great lawn section where you can bring a blanket, sit in the grass, and just chill with friends while listening to good music.
Con: You go deaf. Or you at least feel like you’re under water for the next day or two after all the shouting and blasting speakers. Big venues crank up the volume with more speakers. Popular bands tend to play at big venues, which means more fan-crazed, screaming people that will pierce your poor eardrums.
Pro: They’ll play all of their hits! With a big crowd, artists will definitely play their most well-known songs so that everyone can sing along. Plus, more people equals more noise! If you love those moments when the crowd drowns out the singer when shouting your favorite lyrics, the largest crowds tend to knock this out of the park.
Con: There is no such thing as an encore. They pull the fake one, leaving the stage and then coming right back out to play their most prevalent song, even though it may not be their best and there’s always one song you want to hear that they never play live because it’s not popular enough.
No matter the venue, if you love the artist you are going to have fun, so even though those huge venues aren’t my favorite, I’ve never had a bad time because of the size of a venue.