Thursday, September 14, 2006

Concert nuisances explained


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Certainly, if you've been to many concerts, you've encountered a few annoyances, irritations or nuisances along the way.

I know I have.

I'm not talking about poor sound, dirty toilets or expensive vendors, either.

It's people.

Not everybody, of course, but some specific types.

For your convenience, I've distilled the troublesome folks into categories: the dancer, the shouter, the smoker, the drinker, the singer, the cheerleader, the taper, the sleeper and the talker.

Who are these these party animals, determined to ruin your good time? I'll explain, so you can avoid them, if possible.

Determined to shake her booty, the dancer pops up in front of you, obscuring your view of the performer you've paid hard-earned money to see. The dancer has endless energy, rarely sits down, and usually has way too much booty shaking.

Making his presence known by hollering insane things at the stage, the shouter can also take aim at no one in particular. A classic example is the fan who yells "Free Bird" even though, to his amazement, he's not at a Lynyrd Skynyrd show. He'll also scream "Detroit" or "rock 'n' roll" for no apparent reason.

The smoker comes in degrees. The Marlboro man usually takes just a few minutes and a small portion of your lung capacity. The cigar aficionado, with a 99 cent special, is determined to let everyone in the general area catch a whiff of him, but never fires up a quality Cuban number. Nobody, however, seems to mind the old hippie puffing on a "funny" cigarette.

Just looking for a good time, the drinker tries and tries to soothe his parched pipes. Unfortunately, these Budweiser buddies work with the smallest bladders, requiring you to get up from your seat every five minutes so they can to go to the restroom or make another beer run. Oddly, they never sit on the end of a row, only in the middle. Closely related is the drunkard. You're happy if he doesn't fall on you, vomit nearby, or drive himself home.

Assuming he or she is as talented as the performer on stage is the singer. Thus, you get Paul McCartney singing the melodic "Hey Jude," in your left ear, while a vocally inept fan croons an off-key version in your right. Making it even worse, these musically challenged individuals seldom know the lyrics, so they have to make them up.

Compelled to wave her hands, her hat, a sign or flag, the cheerleader is an overly enthusiastic fan trying desperately to attract the attention of the performer. They rarely do, but manage to quickly annoy you.

Taking great satisfaction in gaining entry to the show with forbidden gear is the taper. These industrious types bring in recording equipment so they can capture the concert for posterity. With machines tucked into their arm pits, tapers usually produce a recording that preserves whole bunches of whispering and distant sounding guitar solos. So much for posterity.

Partying so hard in advance to a show he's been hoping to see all his life, the sleeper burns out early and dozes through the performance. If he's lucky, he dreams about the concert and someone wakes him up when it's over.

The talker, meanwhile, is the guy in the row ahead of you who gets together with some mindless yappers behind you to catch up on the latest news or reminisce while you're trying to appreciate the concert. Impossible to ignore, these verbose characters have no idea what "shh" means. They show no respect for their neighbors or the performer and don't shut up until they're walking out of the venue after the event. Apparently, these chatterboxes can't walk and talk at the same time.

If you've ever sat near me at a concert, don't be offended, I'm not grumbling about you. It's the other guy.

But, if you actually are that guy, cut it out, I'm trying to enjoy the show.

3 comments:

Bud Lemire said...

Hi Steve,
I haven't been to many concerts. But just this year I've been to two. One was Collective Soul, which I found I was in the right spot. The women on each side of me were young and weren't wearing much. The two dancers two rows ahead of me were the same....and they really didn't get in the way at and added to the wonderful view of the band.
Of course the other concert, was just the opposite....I went to see Foreigner....and when lead vocalist asked the audience to hug someone next to them....I got hugged by a fat blonde right next to me.
So it really does depend on where you sit, and who you sit next to. I'll take the Collective Soul arrangement with all my concerts. ~Bud~

Jim said...

There are sub-variations, too. My friend, the geeky hermitlike music obsessive, will yell out names of obscure b-sides, then look around quickly to see if others respond to his trivia knowledge. No one ever does, because (1) it's too noisy, and (2) no one cares--they're interested in the star onstage. Tapers can be just as compulsively weird, but they're generally OK unless they're holding up some rickety extension for their microphone and blocking your view. (Ironically, one can get very good results without that sort of arrangement, but remember, these people are obsessed weirdos to begin with). Tapers also get paranoid because they don't want talking on their tape, so you'll see these nervous people who don't applaud or talk to others next to them. In a related sense, I was at a movie once that was just terrible (Anaconda) and two drunks were nearby, babbling about all sort of funny stuff related to the movie. Normally I wouldn't be happy about that at all, but I thanked them(!) because they made the terrible movie fun.

Jim said...

There are sub-variations, too. My friend, the geeky hermitlike music obsessive, will yell out names of obscure b-sides, then look around quickly to see if others respond to his trivia knowledge. No one ever does, because (1) it's too noisy, and (2) no one cares--they're interested in the star onstage. Tapers can be just as compulsively weird, but they're generally OK unless they're holding up some rickety extension for their microphone and blocking your view. (Ironically, one can get very good results without that sort of arrangement, but remember, these people are obsessed weirdos to begin with). Tapers also get paranoid because they don't want talking on their tape, so you'll see these nervous people who don't applaud or talk to others next to them. In a related sense, I was at a movie once that was just terrible (Anaconda) and two drunks were nearby, babbling about all sort of funny stuff related to the movie. Normally I wouldn't be happy about that at all, but I thanked them(!) because they made the terrible movie fun.