BroBible’s Worst Places on Earth: Any Seat at an Expensive Rock Concert
The ticket cost $75 — which these days is actually not that bad (complaining about how high ticket prices are is for another column) — and I was positioned in the balcony. There wasn’t a bad seat in the house. I could see Uncle Neil clearly from my top-most vantage point.
But I’m not writing this piece about how fucking amazing the concert was; Neil could’ve played one chord the entire show and just sung “blah blah blah blah,” and I would’ve been content. No, the purpose of this column is to warn the average concert-going bro that they might find themselves sitting (or standing) in the Worst Place on Earth.
Here’s the thing: You or somebody else just paid $75-$150 or more for a concert ticket, so you should expect, at the very least, to get pampered a bit in the process. For me, that means being able to hear the entire show with few interruptions, see the performer from wherever I’m standing or sitting, and be able to leave the venue under the assumption that the money paid (or the gift received, in this case) was money well spent.
About 25 minutes into the show, Neil is playing this super-quiet piano ballad — which he apparently hadn’t played for, like, 20 years — and this douche-nozzle’s radio-phone goes off behind me. That’s the only way I can describe it: It sounded like somebody was playing a shortwave radio in the row directly behind mine. So of course, this dickbag is fumbling through his jacket in the pitch dark of Carnegie Hall, trying to turn off his dickbag device; and all along, his radio is battling with Neil’s piano ballad for attention. Word to the wise: If you go to a show, sure, it’s cool to snap photos or even a video with your iPhone; but turn the fucking thing on silent/vibrate mode, for chrissake. Nobody within earshot wants to hear your dumbass phone ring in the middle of a concert.
About 40 minutes into the show, the guy directly behind me — who had been warming his voice up for the previous 10 minutes chatting with his friend — started singing along to every song and discussing it with the guy next to him at the same time. Singing along to every song is fine, if you’re not in a theater that just cost $75 to get into. If you’re out with your bros at an outdoor venue, watching Phish turn pretty colors and drip tears of blood, you can sing the fuck along all day long. Just not at Carnegie Hall. And if you want to talk about a song — write a blog post about it after the fact. The 5-10 family members that view it will amount to way less than the group of people around you that are annoyed by your shitty rendition of the real thing that is occurring right in front of your face. BroBible may even pay you to come up with something, as long as it features some chick in the background in yoga pants, doing splits.
About an hour into the show, Neil was putting down one guitar and picking up another; he’s an old guy at this point in his career and takes his sweet time on stage between songs. So of course, in those between-minutes, you get these people hooting and hollering to fill what they see as a respectable-to-fill void. People yelling, “Go Neil!” and other needless encouragement. I mean, come on now. We’re all adults here. Would you yell for your boss like that in a silent office? Fuck no. Not to mention the fact that the person sitting next to you is going to have to endure your idiocy, too, so now you’ve roped another person into your display of vanity. Look, there’s no problem with cheering for your favorite musician or band — but there’s a line you just shouldn’t cross.
You also get the nitwits who enjoy screaming out the names of songs they think the artist should play. And there’s always some dickhead bro in the back that has to yell “Freebird!” like it’s the first time someone did it (as far as I know, it didn’t happen at the Neil show). Earth to all you dumbasses: There’s this thing called a “setlist,” which is basically a sheet of paper with the song names on it that acts as a reminder to the artist of what they practiced for hours to play at the show. Erring from said setlist is a rarity — even for an artist like Neil Young, who has been historically unpredictable. Of course, what happens is those loud, obnoxious assholes yell out a song name — and then it magically gets played (because it was on the setlist!), so they think their prayers were answered. Wrong, wrong, wrong. And that’s what keeps them doing it again.
There was a short intermission at the show — which is uncharacteristic of most that I go to (usually, it’s one sweaty mess for three-plus hours, standing-room-only). At this time, a bunch of people got up and stretched their legs, went to the bathroom, and ventured out looking for cold beverages. But of course, there’s always going to be someone who leaves and comes back after the intermission is over. They just had to get that bottle of water or sip of beer. I’ll be damned if I want to get my view blocked by one of these late-coming assholes. Every second that view is obscured, I see a couple bucks flushing down a toilet.
As the show wore on, more people started to call out during the slight lulls in the show, and it was obvious that Neil wasn’t having any of it. He even mentioned, at one point, that people pay good money to come see him play. In other words, “Shut the fuck up.” Maybe it’s because these people have had a few by the time the second set arrived — but mostly, it’s because in their minds, the amount of time they can be a jackass in a public space is running out (i.e. the show will end soon). So they need to get their hoot or holler in before it’s too late. Do everybody in earshot a favor, and save your trolling for Facebook or Twitter; nobody cares.
Finally, Neil played a few encores and the show was over. I had an amazing time, despite all the interruptions and distractions. But of course, everybody has to leave the building, and this seems to be the hardest part for some people to understand. They just stand there like cattle waiting for the slaughter instead of moving the fuck to the nearest EXIT and leaving the fucking building. Elvis could do it, why can’t you? I get it; there are a lot of people that need to get downstairs and out the doors; but I swear, people just want to soak up the feeling as much as they can before leaving. It’s like those houseguests that you just can’t get rid of. Congratulations! You liked the show! Now go blog about it on BroBible, and get the hell out of my way.
[Photo via Wikipedia]