Sit Down and Shut Up!

Summer’s here and the time is right…for summer concerts, of course! There’s something magical about sitting under the stars serenaded by your favorite artist that only happens in the summer. But in actuality, there’s another side to the midsummer night’s dream of lovely music. What is it about outdoor concerts that brings out the worst in an audience? Who’s attending these concerts, and why are they making them so miserable for the rest of us? Nowhere else could the outrageous behavior seen under the summer sky be tolerated.

First, there are the singers. No, no, no, not the ones onstage. It’s the group of ladies sitting right behind you, screeching at the top of their lungs with no concern about pitch or rhythm. They may know the words, they may not. They don’t care. The louder they shriek, the better, in their minds. This is most obnoxious in venues with sound ordinances. Believe it or not, concerts aren’t always loud. Some outdoor amphitheatres are in neighborhoods that limit the volume of the concerts. In those softer arenas, their “singing” is even more obnoxious, drowning out the real talent. When you’re in the shower or in your car, sing your heart out. Sing as loud as you can. But listen up, Pavarotti: we paid money to hear the artists, not you.

Then there are the dancers. Of course, they’ll be right in front of you. Shaking their booty all night long, right in your face, a drunken reverie with no sense of rhythm. The later in the concert it gets, the greater their lack of coordination. Any attempt to ask them to maybe sit it out for a song or two is drowned out by the choir of cats still singing behind you. Perhaps it wouldn’t be so bad if the so-called dancers had just a modicum of grace. But no, they bare a closer resemblance to a quivering bowl of Jell-O than a ballerina.

Sure, we all move to the music—we sway, we shuffle, we boogie. This is different. This is a complete disregard for the space around you. When you knock drinks out of the hands of people around you, it might be time to tone it down a bit. If you’re in the back row, go ahead, dance as if nobody's watching, because, well, we’re not. For everyone else, here’s an idea: look around once in awhile. If everyone is standing and dancing like there’s no tomorrow, knock yourself out. If everyone else is sitting, maybe show an iota of common courtesy and sit out a song or three.

Finally, there are the Glitteratti, the social elite. Instead of sitting on a picnic blanket like other mere mortals, they show up with fully catered meals, complete with caviar, Cristal champagne and crystal candelabras. I don’t begrudge these people their luxuries, but almost without exception, these are the people who didn’t come to listen to the artist, they’ve come to be seen. So, instead, they talk. And talk, and talk, all night long. You can “shush” them all you want—but obviously, they’re above all that.

Don’t get me wrong. An enthusiastic audience is a wonderful thing. Check out this video from a Green Day concert where the 65,000-strong audience join together in glorious joy when “Bohemian Rhapsody” is played before the band takes the stage. Moments like this are amazing and priceless. But those moment are rare. Usually, I just choose to stay home and listen to my favorites in my audio suite. For those brave enough to venture to a live show: don’t ruin the show for everyone around you. The audience around you thanks you.

javanp's picture

and felt this perturbed by your experience there... I feel sorry for you. Either you had a REALLY bad, out-of-the-norm experience, or maybe concerts just aren't the thing for you.