Elton John wants you to use headphones in his final Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour so you can have a “better listening experience.” Yes, the world is going to Black Mirror hell fast.
As Music Week reports, the Rocketman has partnered with audio start-up Peex, which makes a special set of headphones that combine a signal receptor with an app that allows you to fine tune live music using a five-channel mixer.
Their selling argument is that, by using Peex rX — as the company calls its headphones — you can create your own “better listening experience.” Instead of listening to the sound over the air as the Gods of Rock intended, you will listen to transmitted audio tracks through the in-ear buds. By using the mixing board, you could do something like boosting the vocals and keyboard, while leaving the bass, guitar, and drums flat, for example.
The company also says that the in-ear buds will isolate you from the people singing around you — one of the things that make concerts special in the first place. Never mind the weirdness of having a mix sounding over the air and another one in your ears (I have my doubts about how effective the noise cancelling can be when Sir Elton John is blaring Be-be-bennie and the Jets!).
If the idea of sharing a concert with a bunch of zombies listening to live music using headphones and watching the performers through their tiny phone screens (as they record it to share it on Instagram) is not a pleasant one, don’t worry, you are not alone. It sucks. It’s dystopian at best and ridiculous at worst.
A concert is, first a foremost, a communal experience. You go there to watch your favorite musicians perform live using your own eyes and ears and share the moment with thousands around you. Your eyes can see in high definition and your ears can hear the music fine, just like the artists’ audio engineers intended it and without having to use your own damn personal mixing.
Instead of using Peex’s headphones, go see Elton John live for the last time and experience him in full by singing along, clapping, and jumping like you should be. Because concerts are for having fun with others the same way Saturday night’s alright for fighting.
The tour started on September 2018 and will play in over 300 shows across every continent but Antarctica until 2021.
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Jesus Diaz founded the new Sploid for Gawker Media after seven years working at Gizmodo, where he helmed the lost-in-a-bar iPhone 4 story and wrote old angry man rants, among other things. He's a creative director, screenwriter, and producer at The Magic Sauce, and currently writes for Fast Company and Tom's Guide.