T.H.E. Show Bounces Back and Then Some

T.H.E. Show VP Emiko Carlin (left) with Pandora Pang of On A Higher Note (right)

As one of the first US audio shows to reopen as the pandemic seemed to be winding down, T.H.E. Show’s attendance figures had no way to go but up. Thanks to some good PR and the excellent choice of a new venue, The Hilton Costa Mesa in Southern California’s Orange is the New Red County, attendance exceeded expectations. Saturday, for example, was so packed that I couldn’t get into a number of rooms on floors 2 and 3.

Attendance also exceeded initial logistical preparedness. Early arriving attendees wandered around the lobby, wondering where registration was taking place. This press, who decided to take advantage of opening day’s 10–noon press hours, reached the lobby at 10:25AM to discover absolutely no signage. Nor did the folks at the front desk know anything. Because the show guide lacked floor plans and only listed exhibitors in alphabetical order, I had no idea where many of the rooms were. I spent my first 45 minutes encountering exhibitors still in the throes of set-up, unaware of press hours and unable to explain what was going on.

Eventually I found escalators to B1 and spied four large signs with floor plans. I took photos, but they got buried as I began my work. I was determined to start early with Gryphon, but directions from a woman at the front desk that Gryphon was down the hallway, down the stairs, and through the double glass doors failed to reveal any double glass doors. Once I found the room on try 3, it was already 11:25.

When I emerged from Gryphon, I encountered a line of eager registrants so long that it snaked down the hallway, down the stairs and back again. Unfortunately, when the front desk people told people to line up that way, they did so without consulting folks from T.H.E. Show who had hoped to separate folks with advance Eventbrite tickets (fast) from those paying cash (slow).

With no floor maps in the registration area or show brochure, I’ll bet I wasn’t the only person who missed Evolution Acoustics’ speaker launch in the lobby’s very-far-away Bristol 3. Hey, how could anyone without psychic powers know that Bristols I-III were in a very different location than Laguna Beach I-III?

Registration snafus are not uncommon on first days in new locations. T.H.E. Show personnel learned fast. Next year, they’ll make sure that someone at the front desk doesn’t sign for boxes of Stereophiles and then transport them to a different holding facility, where they sat until an email from Jim Austin impelled me to ask T.H.E. Show personnel to hunt them down. Happily, once they were retrieved, Day 3 attendees grabbed them almost as fast as they were placed on the front lobby registration table.

I also expect they’ll end T.H.E. Shows at 4pm. Attendance is slow on Sundays, and most exhibitors ignored the printed closing hour of 5pm and shut their doors early.

Triumph over adversity/Goodies to come

Hitches aside, T.H.E. Show 2023 was a huge success. The hotel was good, with decent food and lots of restaurants nearby, and it was but a short free shuttle ride from the airport. Most exhibitors knew how to handle difficult acoustics, and those in large air-walled exhibit rooms sometimes cooperated with each other to ensure that their music didn’t drown out their neighbors’ music. Needless to say, rock fared better than string quartets in such an environment.

It would be churlish to not acknowledge that T.H.E. Show’s ultimate success represents a major triumph over adversity. Show President Maurice Jung, who took over from his dear friend Richard Beers after Richard passed in 2016, had spent the last months struggling with complications from a simple foot infection that progressed to the point that he was threatened with possible amputation of his leg. Instead, he got through with a double bypass and partial toe amputation. How his wife, T.H.E. Show VP Emiko Carlin, managed to hold everything together, continue her work on her Andrew Jones documentary, and perform Saturday night hints at superhuman reserves.

There were also some exciting announcements. Additional T.H.E. Shows in Nashville and Las Vegas are on for 2024, and T.H.E. Show Denver remains in the works. A new record label, T.H.E. Music Group, will promote new artists and offer artist development, distribution, marketing, promotion, and tour services. A new radio show, T.H.E. Radio Show, will, according to the press release, “provide an engaging and immersive experience for listeners. Set to air weekly on Thursday evenings at 8:00pm PST on KWSS 93.9FM and 99.5FM, the show promises to be a sonic journey, showcasing the hottest tracks from the label’s artists, offering insightful interviews, behind-the-scenes stories, and HiFi audio news and content.”

With so much good energy, hopes for the future are high. Here’s to all T.H.E. Shows, old and new, and to new frontiers. See you next year in Costa Mesa.

Click Here: st george illawarra dragons jersey

Leave a Reply