WOW! I Bet you had a BLAST!!! Sounds like a great group.
I'm wondering if the earplugs they had were actually In-ear monitors? They now have wireless in-ear monitors that many bands use instead of, or in addition to floor wedge speakers.
On the other hand, some musicians play so loud that they wear earplugs to protect their hearing. I don't.
Normally the band I'm in has a comfortable stage and front-of-house sound level.