Bid to cut sound at stadium gets nod from neighbours but leaves Sam Hui fans cold

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 December, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 17 December, 2007, 12:00am

Neighbours of Hong Kong Stadium, notorious for making noise complaints when concerts are held, were not disturbed by yesterday's show by Canto-pop legend Sam Hui Koon-kit, the first commercial show at the venue since 1994, but many fans in the full house were not so happy.

Organisers had made new arrangements for the sound system to reduce the risk of disturbing neighbours, but fans complained the sound was blurry and had a strong echo. Some even left the show as much as 90 minutes before the end, unhappy with the sound.

A spokeswoman for the event said smaller speakers were installed at intervals facing the audience to control the noise level, rather than having large banks of speakers. But as well as blurry sound and echoes, some fans complained the music was too loud.

Margaret Ku, who sat in the HK$400 area, left 90 minutes before the end because the music was too loud. 'It actually felt better when I was outside the venue,' she said.

C.K. Lo, who was in the first few rows with his son, said the echo made him uncomfortable.

Event organiser Clifton Ko Chi-sum, who spoke through a public relations agency, acknowledged such problems occurred but said they were rectified soon after the show started. He said organisers had received no complaints.

Whatever the problems for fans, residents were happy. Oliver Legg, who lives on the 18th floor of a nearby building, said the concert was not disturbing. 'There was noise but it didn't disturb me. It is an activity on a Sunday. As long as it's good music. It's fine,' he said.

Amy Lee, who was visiting her grandfather at Tung Wah Eastern Hospital, said she could not hear any noise when she was in the ward.

An Environmental Protection Department spokesman said a number of complaints were filed before the show and the department had sent officials to the homes of complainants to monitor noise during the concert. Results could not be made public yesterday because they had not been fully analysed.

Since it opened in 1994, the city's biggest stadium has been in the limelight annually hosting the Rugby Sevens but rarely for concerts, other than a few charity and special events. Neighbours thwarted attempts by international stars such as Michael Jackson and Elton John to do shows there. In 2003, a show to raise money for Sars victims also met with vocal criticism but went ahead.

Yesterday's show was the first commercial concert since Alan Tam Wing-lun's concert in 1994, which met with hundreds of complaints.

'It is definitely a great place for shows,' the spokeswoman for the Sam Hui concert said of Hong Kong Stadium, adding it would be a waste to leave it idle.