I went to the Western Idaho Fair in Boise last night, and took in the Gary Allan concert. For a while. Not my best concert experience.
The concert was slated to start at 7:30 PM, and almost made it, starting about 10 minutes late. We had planned to arrive around 6:45, take in a bit of the fair, then hit the concert. It's a good thing we left early because all roads into the fairgrounds were jammed. Traffic advanced slowly, but did advance. We parked in a grass field roughly a quarter mile from the entrance. No charge for parking.
Fair admission is $7 for adults, which includes parking and admission into the concert. We got in around 7:10 or so, milled around briefly, then went into the grandstand (which is the horse track grandstand). The band was set up in the race track. There were virtually no seats left.
Allan came out without a warm up band, and he started a pretty energetic set. Unfortunately, I could not understand what he was singing. The music was WAY loud. They shouldn't let some guy who sits in front of the speakers at every concert set the sound level, since he's probably already got hearing loss, and apparently determined to share it.
The chief problem, I'm guessing, was the sloped metal roof over the grandstand. It reflected the sound back down, which seemed to clash with what was coming from the speakers. Result: Allan's vocals were incomprehensible. I could hear them - boy could I - but could only make a word out here and there. "ssccgghhuurrrgghhh Love wwaassggiiibbbbnnntt we zzzzzyyyuuuurrrrccchhh dog". Like that. Not so good. We left after 6 or 7 songs, which is unfortunate because my sweetheart really likes Allan, and I think I would, if I could hear it. Some of the instrumentals came through, some not so much.
There is standing room right in front of the band. The sound was probably cleaner, possibly louder, there. As we were leaving, we noted that they had stopped admitting folks to the concert. If you go to the Chicago concert, park a long way away, as we did, and you'll get out of the parking lot quicker. Go early, get into the stands at least a half hour before the concert starts.
If you like to drink a beer during the concert, the lines under the grandstand were much shorter than out in the general fair area. Beer is very expensive. $7 per 20 oz glass. Lots of food choices available.
All in all it was fun, but the concert was a disappointment.