MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Football fans find it fabulous, but some concert-goers have been quite critical of U.S. Bank Stadium.
Complaints over bad acoustics continue to dog the massive, new stadium in downtown Minneapolis.
Last Friday, tens of thousands of people flocked there to hear the band U2. Afterwards, many of them expressed disappointment. Not with the band, but with the quality of the sound inside the stadium.
WCCO’s Angela Davis looked into the challenges the stadium faces as a concert venue.
It was built to be the home of the Minnesota Vikings. A place for football games, where fans could unleash their purple pride.
But U.S. Bank Stadium is also a concert venue. Acoustics specialist Steve Orfield worked as a sound consultant at the Metrodome.
“This space has a slanted wall on one side that gives a perfect imaging reflection. And so it has the potential to create echoes and anomalous sound,” Orfield said.
He says U.S. Bank Stadium has very little sound absorption because of its large glass panels and its enormous size.
“This building has a huge reflector built into it that’s throwing sound in certain ways, causing strange sounds,” he said.
Stadium officials shared a written statement with us when we asked about the criticism from concert-goers.
Lisa Niess is the U. S. Bank Stadium marketing and communications manager. She wrote, “The acoustics of each concert are greatly impacted by the sound engineers who travel with the tour. Acoustics will vary due to several factors including the equipment brought in by the tour, the genre of music, size of the production and the artist. Each tour has a different production layout, which impacts the acoustics across the different seating areas of the stadium.
“The venue is one of many pieces in the overall acoustical equation. We provide the services of our in-house sound technicians and a sound consultant to support the tour’s sound engineers and provide recommendations in working with our in-house sound systems. We also provide draping in the upper level to help all concerts with their acoustics. Our team works to support the tour as closely as possible in order to provide a best-in-class experience for all of our guests.
“We appreciate feedback from our guests so we can better the experience for future events in all areas of stadium operations, and we’ve received several positive comments about the concerts as well. We’ll continue to work hard to provide great quality, diverse entertainment for all Minnesotans including concerts, sporting events, family shows and more.”
If you want to diminish your chances of hearing echoes during concerts, Orfield suggests getting seats closer to the stage.
“The further you get back, the more reverberation you get rather than direct sound,” he said.
Orfield says there are solutions to improve the acoustics at U.S. Bank Stadium. But they require time, analysis and money.