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Club vs. Stadium

I have a pretty big birthday later this month and Heather is flying in to celebrate with me. I've been thinking of things I want to do while she's here on her visit...and one of the things that made the list is a club show with Firehouse headlining.

There are definite positives and negatives to club gigs. There are also major positives to stadium shows. I honestly don't know which I prefer.

Stadium shows are better during the work week because the shows end earlier. I've been out until 5 a.m. at club shows and I just can't do that on a work night. After all, I'm old.

With stadium shows, you're usually guaranteed a major act. These days, shows are packaged to the hilt, so you might get as many as ten bands as the case with Crue Fest or three awesome bands like the Pop Evil/Whitesnake/Judas Priest tour.

Club gigs are way more intimate and let the fan get close the musician. You can always talk to bands after they finish their gig in a small club. You don't get that chance in a stadium show. You also don't (usually) need a hundred dollar ticket to see a band at a club. Of course, clubs are GA so it's hard to find a seat when no band is playing and that sucks, but it is what it is I guess.

I suppose if a crazed Glam lunatic held a gun to my head and said "Choose! Club vs. Stadium show" I would choose...stadium.

What say you?

For the record, some of my best concert memories come from clubs, but that's usually because of things that happened between me and my friends long after the music stopped. Going to shows is a complete experience, at least for me: dinner, getting dressed up, seeing friends, rocking out - the whole nine.


Reader Comments (16)

I prefer clubs. I do think it's really cool to be in a packed stadium with thousands of fellow rockers, but to be able to get up close to the stage and have a chat with the band afterwards is even better.
August 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSnoot
I prefer club shows, nothing can beat that. Arena shows are expensive, too crowded, you are too far away from the band, T-Shirt prices are too high.

Here in Germany ending times of club gigs and arena gigs are the same and they usually end before midnight.

I just love small gigs. I always try to get into first row. It's such a great experience to be so close to the band, nothing can beat that, especially when the musicians like to interact with the crowd. It's also a lot better for taking pictures when you are so up close.

And meeting the bands later on after the gig beats the big shows too of course.

If I had to choose I would always choose a club gig, but some bands don't do those gigs of course. I did skip Metallica and AC/DC this year, because they were too damn expensive. I was able to go to so many club gigs just because I skipped those two, it's crazy.
August 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterXandra73
Whoops I forgot to add, that the seat problem is not an issue where I live anyway. Most gigs - club or stadium are GA and standing is normal for a rock/metal concert. Sitting feels all kinds of wrong in my opinion. But I'm European, we don't know it any other way. Lol. If you want to sit, you can sit on the ground. Are you sure you wanna go to Download next year, Allyson? It's a cool festival, but there is only GA and you will have to stand for days.
August 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterXandra73
There is nothing better than a club show. I love it to be in first row in a club and chat with the bands after the show.Autographs and pictures included.

Arena/stadium shows are stressful. You never know if you find a spot with a good sight and they are a bit expensive.

I prefer to support unknown bands by buying their albums and going to their concerts. It give me a good feeling and the bands are usually very grateful.

Bands like Tesla and Queensrÿche are not very well known here and usually play in small clubs in front of about 300-500 fans.

Alyson, you say you need a place to sit between bands. Really? I mean you're a young woman and should be able to stand a few hours without getting problems. How are you planning to survive Download? There is no way you can sit anywhere there. At least not near the stage. You can sit in the mud, urin and other body liquids but seats?

There are no seats at festivals and most of the indoor venues in Europe. We have some big arenas with seats. But usually they're far away from the stage. In my opinion GA is the only way to rock!


August 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterFrank66
In my opinion, glam bands are tailor-made for big arena shows -- lots of pyro, crazy stages, pianos descending from the rafters, etc. I've seen a number of huge 80's glam bands play smaller shows and something gets lost in the translation to a tiny club.

That said, I've seen some absolutely huge bands (notably Pantera & Metallica) play clubs during the prime of their careers, and it's hard to beat the energy of a packed room of sweaty diehard fans.
August 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBryon
I stopped going to Stadium shows a long time ago. I just don't like the higher prices, sound quality is usually poor, there are way too many people, but the main issue is intimacy with the band... Sure, some huge acts can put on incredibly over the top shows but I've also seen bands that put on the most awe-inspiring shows in a total stripped down club atmosphere.
Besides, if you can't rock a club and make the walls sweat then you've got no business in a stadium anyway.

But then again, maybe I'm old...
August 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterValentine
I prefer Club shows all the way! There's nothing like a big Arena show or even a Stadium show from time to time but if I had to choose, I'd certainly say CLUB shows are my favorite to go to.
August 5, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkari
Absolutely positively hands-down CLUB! I am totaly blind so all the pyro and sets and all that other crap mean nothing to me. In the end, it's all about how well the band plays and sings. It's much easier for a band to mask their lack of musical ability at a stadium gig because they can hide behind theatrics and bad sound systems. Plus the stage banter at stadium gigs seems so scripted and fake. At a club gig you can either bring it musically or you can't.
August 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBob
Bob hit the nail on the head. I'll take clubs ANY DAY.
August 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKenny Ozz
My town is so dry as far as concerts go, I'd be happy with ANY show... :)

I've been to both, and have to say that while my legs hurt badly after club shows (here, they are standing room only and I have lymphedema in one leg), the problem--at least around here--is that nobody knows how to allow for the concrete walls in and around our stadiums and thus we always have sound bounce-back.

I have to admit, though, that sometimes it depends upon the band. Winger sounds better in a club rather than at a stadium; I got to compare shows in 2002 when they were on the Rock Never Stops tour and then their own tour. Virginia Beach-stadium show--was nice, but not many people were into them. Baltimore--club show--was more intimate, and the audience was more lively. However, I can't see TSO ever doing a club show--not with the "frickin' lasers" (thanks to Chris Caffery for that expression!), fireworks, and huge lighting rigs. Kiss would never be in a club either. Bon Jovi--same thing, never in a club. Queensryche is a band I've only seen in a club, but watching Operation Mindcrime 1 & 2 made me realize they can perform just as well in a large theater/arena.

But like I said...I'd be happy with someone just showing up where I live. OK, I have to give the 'Ryche credit, they did come last month into a nearby venue that's kind of like a club (an old renovated movie theater). TSO of course will be at the Coliseum in November. Couldn't / can't afford either until I'm working again.

That's another thing too. $15 for me to see Winger on stage in a club...$50 for me to see TSO in an arena. Go figure.
August 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChessie >^..^<
CLUBS!!! Arenas are cool for Pyro etc. but Stadiums suck too big too far from the band and the sound usually isnt good. Also there arent to many stadium tours except shitty bands like U2, Bon Jovi etc.The AC/DC stadium show was pretty good but rather seen them indoors.
August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterFitz
I think over the years, I've come full circle. Back in the day, when I was a youngin' I really liked the club shows. Then I seemed to kind of "graduate" to the big stadium tours. And now I feel like I've come back to liking the club shows more. More intimate, not as expensive. The stadiums are just too big, too crowded, too expensive, besides, most of the bands I want to see no longer do the big stadium shows anymore (except of course for Crue & some form of GnR!).
August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEddieLongHair
This is why stadium gig owns,
August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterVince
I love club shows. Can't wait to return to Dayton and see Firehouse!!!
August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHeather
A stadium or festival show can be great fun if there is a large crowd. Then it becomes a true event. But it has to be an indoor arena for good sound.

However, for musical quality and set list, you are more likely to get something special in a club.

I was at the Pink Floyd show before the one recorded for Delicate Sound of Thunder, and the total stage experienced can not be touched by any band. Then again, that was Floyd, master of spectacle.

I was also at the Tesla show before the one recorded for Five Man Acoustical Jam. No effects, no lights, no machines. Just 5 guys Makin' Magic. Best concert experience ever.

Thinking about my other top experiences, most are in clubs. Shinedown this spring, Tesla acoustic in '05, Alice in Chains, Queensryche Mindcrime 1&2, Damn Yankees.

Clubs, with the intimacy and sound quality, especially on acoustic songs or ballads, wins out.
August 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenternirVrana
I managed to see Motley in a club on Sunset blvd. Damn good night (although, yeah, it got out at like 1am. But there WERE two opening acts).
Since it was GA, some random guy pulled me through the crowd (I'm 15, so..all the help I can get to get through the massive people in my way..), and so I got really close to the front, nearly got a pic, and was basically deaf for two days.

I also saw Motley in a stadium. TBH, it wasn't as fun. I wasn't really close to the front, the sound wasn't as earth shattering, and..yeah, just not as great.

Although..the club tickets were about 100 bucks, where as the stadium was around 60. v.v
October 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commenter:D

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