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Will Everybody At Concerts Shut Up


Last summer I wrote about the Conor Oberst gig at Summerstage where I was harassed from the front of the stage by four people who spoke right over the concert, so I left the front and made my way backwards where again and again I couldn’t find any place where I could listen to the concert in peace, I went from the front to the back row and nowhere was their people simply catching the gig. I ended up very close to backstage where even Jenny Lewis was talking over the concert.

Then just Thursday night I was at Neil Diamond performing at the Barclay Center, sitting between two older women on one side of me and a middle aged couple on the other side of me, and between the four of them they spoke right through the show. It was so bizarre as to be insane, they would certainly start having a loud conversation and some personal stuff as though theyw ere sitting in their living room. Why? Why pay a coupla hundred bucks to see Neil Diamond if you don’t want to listen? Why go to all the trouble of a night out if you have no urge to go to a concert.

I seldom go to concerts with other people, but if I do and you start to talk me about anything other than the music, I won’t reply. I fell in love with one of the great romances of my life when we went to a Paul McCartney concert and she didn’t say a word throughout it. We’d spoken all through dinner and she was smart enough to stop and let the concert hold the evening in its sway.

Helen tells me I go to so many shows that I don’t react to a concert the way other people do, and she may be right, but I also pay serious attention when I am at a concert. I don’t really clap or dance or do anything much but pay attention. That might make me a jerk (and bad mannered audience members sometimes ask me why I am not dancing… because I don’t want to) but at least I listen. Years and years ago I was at a Springsteen concert and this big time Bruce fan was knocking back drink after drink and ended up passed out sometime during the third song AND HE SAW MORE THAN HALF THE AUDIENCE AT CONOR.

The rule of thumb is, if you at a standing room only gig and you are near the stage shut up, if you’re in the back, well, ok, we can live with it. This is no longer the case. This is reaching epidemic proportions, silence please. A concert is not the time or place to discuss Daddy’s operation or Mary’s divorce so shut up and let me watch the show in peace.

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