I had the good fortune to see The Police in concert again last night, here in San Diego. I'd previously seen them about a year ago up in Los Angeles. What a difference a year makes! As always, they played fantastic but last night's concert really fell flat compared to a year ago. The problem was the sound system -- they were practically unhearable. I think the problem is their speakers.
I'm pretty sure they're touring with their own complete PA setup, speakers and amplifiers. So the sound problems are probably their own fault rather than the venues; fyi - Cricket Amphitheater still sucks! I think The Police are trying to make it through the end of their concert schedule without replacing any of their speakers, even though they're totally worn-out. It's kind of a rip-off, if you ask me. Theirs has been by-far the most successful concert of the year so I know they can afford to replace $100k of speakers.
I try not to let technical problems like this bother me. But seriously, the sound system was completely overloaded and distorted throughout the entire performance. The audience was forced to 'intuit' the notes and with only partial success. Many MANY times I saw the band hit the chorus of a song and then stare in wonder as the audience failed to react -- because we couldn't hear any change in the song! I'm sure things like this also demoralize a band and bring down their performance level.
On another (funny) side-note: You know how the stereotypical concert experience used to be for everyone to hold their lighters up, sort of create a field of 'candlelight' ? Well people don't smoke like they used to. Instead, the new candlelight is created by everyone holding their cellphone-cameras aloft, creating a field of LCD-display-candlelight (and visible only to the audience behind them).