Is this not what you expected to see?

You’ve no doubt gathered this by now, but it should be known that I have a pretty serious addiction. While some go the predictable route and get hooked on chemical substances (though it should be noted that, since turning 21, mere alcohol thrills me slightly more than ‘not at all’), my main snag has been concertgoing. I’ve been trying to keep a list of just how many shows I’ve been to and how many different acts I’ve seen, but it’s already gotten far too out of hand. In the past month, for instance, I’ve seen (by my quick count) 14 bands at 4 different venues. And believe me, it’s been a kind of slow month.

With each new concert experience, I’m constantly intrigued to see how similar even the most seemingly opposite shows turn out to be. Both Fujiya & Miyagi and Primal Scream failed to draw more than just a slight crowd to the Trocadero. Patrons of the Tin Angel fretted over there being an opening act before their seeing either Fountains Of Wayne or The Bird And The Bee (there was an opener for both). Fans of The Ting Tings swarmed the Starlight Ballroom (easily the city’s most godawful place to see a show) and thrashed about inside as if The Beatles had landed. No matter what each band is like, the people who make up the audiences at the shows I go to are, for the most part, exactly the same.

It could be the shared destiny, the obvious similarities in musical taste or the overpriced yet freely flowing booze, but people are far more outoging at concerts than they might be otherwise. It’s like a little vacation. For about three hours (or more, depending on how proggy the band is that you’re going to see), everyone around you is your best friend. Your ever-patient and forgiving best friend. Say you’re dancing along to the band’s number one summer hit and you “accidentally” bash your elbow into the bespectacled fellow next to you. You might apologize by letting the guy know that you know you hit him, and you might limit your flailing to a more controlled radius. Or you could not break your dancing and let the incident be a benefit of the anonymity that is often granted at shows. Either way, no harm is done to you, and the guy you hit will probably forget about it by the next song.

Unless, of course, the bespectacled guy you happen to strike is me. Maybe you didn’t hit me or elbow me or step on my toes, but you and the crowd surrounding you decided to shove yourselves against the other half of the crowd in an effort to…to…actually, I’m still not sure why half of The Ting Tings‘ crowd partly-lunged their way onto the other half, but it was an unwelcome move at a show that was cursed from the start. In the event that you are the kind of person who likes to make a ruckus at concerts, fear not, because there are more people who are like you than are like me. Unfortunately for people like me, who like to go to concerts to actually hear live music (as opposed to get slammed, literally and figuratively), the only places where we are assured that we won’t be jostled about against our will are stodgy theaters with stiff ushers and loud, confused old people (reading that back, I find it to be redundant).

Luckily for me, my taste in music is eclectic enough that I can see many different kinds of bands on a regular basis, and the great concerts always outweigh the not-so-great ones. I don’t pay for most of the concerts I go to, so that always makes them an instant net gain. I know what you’re going to say, that since I get in for free, I should let the people who paid have a good time and just shut the hell up. You’re probably right, but that’s why this is my site and not yours.

Enjoying a show can take on many forms, and I respect that. What I don’t like is how my idea of enjoying a show is not (and cannot be) respected by someone who isn’t part of the band dancing drunkenly six inches from my face. If you’re going to freak out a show, do so by all means, but leave a little space for the picture-taking and attention-paying types. You probably won’t remember your obnoxious behavior, but everybody else sure will.

Just think, though, if you were to let someone taking pictures at a show just do their thing without crashing into them, you could claim to have a part in something like this by not having disrupted it:

You can thank me (and yourself) later. Also, this post will be continued with more stories of strange occurrences at concerts, so stay tuned.

E.

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~ by E. on March 31, 2009.

One Response to “Is this not what you expected to see?”

  1. Aha! I was right! It’s NOT an “old guy” thing!

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