On June 25, the Hollywood Bowl unveiled its ballyhooed new shell at a gala concert. It was a disaster. Sure, the shell was more spacious and better equipped than the old one, but the sound was terrible, so bad that the first Bowl recording, from 1928, had more bloom and honesty than the tubby, tinny lackluster results heard that night.
The problem wasn't entirely the fault of newfangled towers of power -- loudspeakers stacked one atop another practically to the clouds. There was also the issue of dead spots in the cavernous shell, and in the cavernous amphitheater itself, that needed a sonic spark of life. In the rush to open the facility, no time had been allotted to test anything properly. But as the summer progressed, chief sound wizard Fred Vogler's skills on the soundboard began to provide significantly higher fidelity.