Stevie Was Half-Wonderful

Bad sound keeps half the crowd from clearly hearing music legend. Plus: The best social media.

A thousands-strong crowd gathers at Dilworth Park Wednesday afternoon for a free Stevie Wonder set.

A thousands-strong crowd gathers at Dilworth Park Monday afternoon for a free Stevie Wonder set.

Turns out Stevie Wonder played two shows at Dilworth Park on Monday afternoon.

At one, Wonder showed up, bantered with the crowd, received repeated cheers for his remarks, sang some songs, and left most people happy.

At the other, muffled sound kept the crowd from hearing anything but an approximation of Wonder’s music and remarks, leaving many to leave early rather than endure more frustration in the wilting heat.

The problem? Both were the same show!

Of course, the “show” wasn’t a full show, but a promotion. Wonder played D.C., Philly, and New York on Monday to announce the final leg of his tour for the 1976 album Songs in The Key of Life. He’s scheduled to play the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Oct. 7.

If you were directly in front of the stage, and thus directly in front of the speakers, it’s likely you had a good time. I base this on the fact that the crowd cheered and was responsive to Stevie Wonder’s musings.

If you were stage right — like me and at least 1,000 other people — the sound was so muffled that one of music’s greatest figures sounded like an adult in a Charlie Brown cartoon. The music carried through a little better, but not enough to satisfy.

The goddamn news helicopter didn’t help anything, either.

Which is too bad. A free Stevie Wonder show? Just blocks from the office? Should’ve been one of the best summer days ever in Philly. And for a good chunk of the crowd, it probably was. Too bad for those of us in the other crowd.

Life #AWonderMoment #StevieWonder #MusicMonday

A video posted by Love Faces (@faceslovejoy1113) on

A wonder moment. #awondermoment #steviewonder @dilworthparkphl A photo posted by josh pincus (@joshpincusiscrying) on