Music & Nightlife

Going to Elton John’s Charlotte show? You might want to consider renting one of these.

Elton John performs at PNC Music Pavilion on Saturday, June 14, 2014.
Elton John performs at PNC Music Pavilion on Saturday, June 14, 2014.

If you were lucky enough to score tickets to Elton John’s long-sold-out upcoming concert at Charlotte’s Spectrum Center, you either have quick reflexes, deep pockets, or well-connected friends.

At any rate, the last thing you’d probably want is for a mediocre sound mix to ruin the night.

So how to make sure the quality of the listening experience is worth the hundreds of dollars you dropped on the seats? Well, for $15 more (or $12, with the right coupon code), you can rent a first-of-its-kind wearable device that some say will pretty much guarantee the show sounds great — in a way that’s more tailored to your liking than ever before.

It’s called PEEX, and it consists of a set of earbuds and a small gadget that connects to your smartphone via a Bluetooth connection and allows — through an app — an enhanced five-channel mix of the live concert sound that syncs perfectly in time to what’s going on on stage.

But the most revolutionary aspect of the technology is the ability to adjust the levels of any of the five channels, meaning you can, for instance, bring down the volume of the guitars or the drums or the bass or the keys and just focus on the vocals. Or any configuration you choose, at any time, during any song.

Wired’s Christopher Null recently raved about PEEX, writing in his September review: “At risk of sounding too much like a fanboy, there was simply no time in the three-hour concert that I found the experience of listening to the concert without the Peex earbuds to be an improvement.”

Piet Levy of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel also tested out the tech, writing last weekend that “it made John’s show the richest sounding concert I’ve ever attended.”

John and his husband are minority investors in the company, and at present, PEEX is available exclusively during John’s “Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour,” which stops in Charlotte on Wednesday, Nov. 6.

Fans attending the show at Spectrum Center will be able to try the PEEX experience by renting the device at the venue or pre-booking it via PEEX’s website. The regular rental price is $15 per show, but there’s a rent-one-get-one-free offer available via the website using the coupon code ELTONBONUS.


Théoden Janes has spent 12 years covering entertainment and pop culture for the Observer. He also thrives on telling emotive long-form stories about extraordinary Charlotteans and — as a veteran of 20-plus marathons and two Ironman triathlons — occasionally writes about endurance and other sports.
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