The city of Salem’s noise ordinance forced the band to play at an unsatisfactory volume – according to many fans – during the sold-out show in the L.B. Day Amphitheatre.

“You could barely hear the lead guitar player playing,” said 38-year-old fan Scott Dave of Salem.

He was sitting in the first row of the yellow section – the second of four sections in the 9,000-capacity amphitheatre. Fans kept yelling for the volume to be turned up.

The city enacted a noise ordinance limiting volume to 100 decibels when the open-air theatre was built in 1985, a Salem code enforcement official told Pollstar. The official noted there was an older residential neighborhood nearby and levels approaching the limit had been known to cause windows there to rattle.

“The decibel level that was in the contract and signed by the city was 100 decibels. We had Clint Black, Pat Benatar, the Doobie Brothers and other concerts each night of the fair. All of them stayed well within the (decibel) variance. Clint Black averaged about 97-98 decibels, and that’s with two of his speakers spiking at 122 decibels,” code enforcement official Paul Thornton told Pollstar.

“The band’s manager knew [about the ordinance] well in advance; everybody knew it, except, I guess, for the band members themselves. It was unfortunate that Def Leppard felt it was unreasonable because I really felt they could have just gone with it and had a good show.

“Instead, they chose after each song to complain about the variance and really get the crowd incited and upset. It really wasn’t good for anybody,” Thornton said.

Fair spokeswoman Lin Wolfe said September 3 that the band members had not been informed prior to the day of the show of Salem’s restrictions on noise levels at the amphitheatre.

The band made a fair-authorized announcement before they started playing, stating that guests who thought the performance was too quiet could get a refund on the $20 concert tickets.

Def Leppard and the fair shared the $14,000 loss, Wolfe said. Refunds were given for the first 55 minutes of the sold-out concert.

L.B. Day Amphitheatre officials didn’t immediately return calls from Pollstar for comment.