World’s Quietest Concert

Mick Fleetwood thinks it’s “hip to hear” and thinks kids should too – unless they want to end up like he did after about 40 years in front of concert amps, barely able to make out conversations beyond a few feet away.

The Fleetwood Mac drummer kicked off the “Hip to Hear” campaign with the “World’s Quietest Concert” April 11th at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. About 1,200 concert-goers donned headphones during a set by Eagles of Death Metal for a demonstration of eardrum-sparing methods to cope with potentially high-decibel environments.

“Having spent my career behind a drum set, I know how hazardous noise – including music – can be to your hearing,” Fleetwood said. “But musicians aren’t the only ones affected by hearing loss; there are millions of baby boomers who have experienced some form of damage. That is why I’m encouraging people to listen to loud music responsibly, so they can hear it for years to come.”

Fleetwood, a 1998 inductee into the Rock Hall, said many rock musicians now wear ear protection or monitor their music electronically, but he questioned whether quiet concerts would catch on.

“Who’s to say? Could you see 18,000 people someday listening to Pink Floyd on headphones? Maybe, with a weird magic wand,” he said. “What I’d hope this does is make the point that you can wear ear protection, such as earplugs, at concerts and still enjoy the concert.”

Fan reviews at the “World’s Quietest Concert” were mixed at best. During two songs played with no amplification and sent over radio receivers into headsets, fans reportedly smiled and bobbed heads to the music.

When the Eagles of Death Metal cranked it up to 11, though, many in the crowd jumped up to dance.