Concerts, complaints return

Publication Date: Friday May 24, 1996

SHORELINE: Concerts, complaints return

31 complaints called into police after opening concert

A new concert season is under way at Shoreline Amphitheatre, bringing with it a smattering of noise complaints.

Palo Alto police received 31 complaints after the opening concert by performers Tim McGraw and Faith Hill on May 11. Another 14 complaints were called into Mountain View police.

"It's kind of business as usual," said noise fighter Jim Lewis, spokesperson for the Abate Shoreline Amphitheatre Noise Coalition.

However, Wednesday night's Moody Blues concert drew zero complaints.

"It was a little cooler and windier, and I think that helped break up the sound waves," said Palo Alto Police Communications Coordinator John Bush, who's in charge of the department's Shoreline complaint hotline (321-1317).

Palo Alto police registered only 314 complaints last year, compared to more than 1,700 in 1994 and more than 2,100 in 1993.

"We were always suspicious that 1995 had only a few hundred complaints because Bill Graham Presents (Shoreline's operator) was trying to get approvals for amphitheaters in other cities," Lewis said.

"Or maybe, 1995 was an aberration weather wise," Lewis said, referring to the notorious inversion layer that bounces noise waves into Palo Alto neighborhoods miles away.

Shoreline has 28 more concerts scheduled, with more to be added as the season progresses. Next Thursday, the featured acts are Lynyrd Skynyrd, which drew a bevy of complaints the last time the band performed, and the Doobie Brothers.

According to a court settlement agreed to by Palo Alto, Mountain View and Bill Graham Presents, representatives from the three agencies must sit down and talk if five or more concerts draw at least 45 complaints.

In 1993, eight concerts exceeded the 45-complaint threshold, and 1994, 12 concerts broke that barrier. After that, Palo Alto city officials went out and bought $25,000 worth of state-of-the-art noise monitoring equipment.

--Peter Gauvin 

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