Elvis Said Don’t Be Cruel; Don’t Be Rude Either

Warning: this is a rant.

Some of you may know that we’ve been on a little bit of a concert binge in recent months checking out favorites ranging from Bruce Springsteen (on Broadway) and Paul Simon to David Byrne and in November Elton John.

Many of these shows are part of “farewell tours” which has played havoc with our psyches because our favorites are getting old—and I guess that means we are too.

But as a glass half full optimist I’m also happy to report that these “oldsters” still sound amazing and in my generationally biased opinion run circles around much of what passes for music these days.

So while we are all getting older, it’s also comforting to know that there is gas in the tank, which means we still have an ability to make some noise even as we age.

But I also have to say that some of these shows also have a troubling aspect and it’s not the artists—it’s the audience.

 

So here’s my rant: people are so rude at these shows that we are actively contemplating our retirement from attending concerts. (We will however see Roger McGuinn, Chris Hillman and Marty Stuart at the Parker Playhouse and hopefully the Moody Blues’ Justin Hayward at the Crest Theatre). But after those shows and Elton, it may be over with the notable exception of Bruce Springsteen whose audiences tend to be pretty good. Oh and we’d probably see U2 and Bob Seger as well.

We went to see David Byrne recently at the Fillmore in Miami Beach. We had the tickets for months and we were excited to see the critically acclaimed “American Utopia” tour in a historic venue. We’ve enjoyed Byrne’s music for decades, first with the Talking Heads and later as a solo act.

He’s a true artist and the show itself was remarkable with a band that never sat, choreography that was endlessly interesting and visuals that were unlike anything we had ever seen. In a word it was: awesome.

The crowd: not so much.

The doors opened at 7:30 and the opening act was how I should say it….challenging. Which meant that people hit the bars. Hard. For two hours before Byrne took the stage.

What followed was endless talking through the music (take it outside if you must), spilling of beer and a near fist fight that almost broke out in front of us.

Now since David Byrne is 66 years old, most of the crowd was in their 50s and 60s—surely old enough to know better.

We are all about dancing and enjoying the show, but screaming at friends, yakking endlessly and throwing beer is a little much. It mars the experience. And since tickets these days are an arm and a leg….well…it makes one think about going again.

But it’s not really the money. Frankly, if the event was free audiences should be able to enjoy shows without feeling like they are in a middle age mosh pit amidst a mob of morons.

I had a similar experience at an Eagles concert in Miami a few years back. A drunken slob was loud and a women next to me politely asked him to refrain from talking. She was threatened as a result.

Nice.

That the show turned out to be one of Glenn Frey’s last before his untimely passing a few months later makes the whole experience poignant. These amazing artists are not here forever…and so our ability to enjoy them live and in person is also passing.

Is it too much to ask someone to be quiet? To not be a belligerent drunk?
We know local sports fans who have given up tickets to football and baseball because of similar experiences.

It’s sad and it’s maddening. In case you’re wondering, we leaned over and told the well-oiled crew in front of us to be courteous—twice. A third time would have been taking it to the limit, if you know the old Eagles hit.

You can have a good time without being discourteous to others.

That should be obvious or as David Byrne might say: “once in a lifetime” it would be nice to the listen to the music without making those around you want to “burn down the house.”

 

Comments

  1. Patricia Sciarillo says:

    True when you are paying top dollar for tickets and surrounded by rude, obnoxious and drunk fools it is a big annoyance. Some years back my daughter bought us tickets for titanic on Broadway since we would be in NY for the holidays. We had a man next to us yelling you are all going to die..they did finally escort him from the theater. He was drunk..I will say our “free ” concerts in Delray are wonderful. So far everyone seems behaved..😁

    • Jeff Perlman says:

      We just heard from friends who gave up their Dolphins tickets. He didn’t feel safe with his family. So sad.

  2. So True! I remember going to concerts Waaaay back when and there really wasn’t any fighting and such! It was ALL about the music and not about how much booze we can drink. Its weird to think that some people need to drink to listen to great music. I think it makes you miss a lot of the experience.

    In the meantime…… ill see you at The International Beatles On the Beach Festival April 25-28 in Delray! All you need is Love! http://www.BeatlesOnTheBeach.com

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