Monday, April 6, 2009

Shut Up & Sit Down

On Friday, we went to see Andrew Bird perform at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on the CNE grounds. Now, I loves me some Andrew Bird, I think the man's a musical genius, and I was lucky to discover him quite by accident a few years ago when he opened for the (dreaded) Magnetic Fields at Trinity St. Paul's. At that time he was a solo performer, just him and his violin, his guitar, his amazing whistling ability and a selection of recording devices that he used to create these amazing layered songs. It was, frankly, love at first sight (in the musical sense, I'm happily married after all) and I've been kicking myself ever since that I didn't talk to him in the lobby while the (dreaded) Magnetic Fields were playing.

(Seriously, the Magnetic Fields make me apoplectic with rage. I just can't STAND them and my musically-cooler-than-me husband and sister-in-law like them so much, I just know I'm missing something. But try as I might, it's music to hang yourself by in my books. Coincidentally, this is what I once said, unknowingly, about Joy Division. Awkward.)

You can imagine my excitement when I saw that he was touring his new album this spring, and the sense of anticipation I had prior to the concert on Friday. I am delighted to report that Andrew Bird did not disappoint, it was a great show -- intricate, quirky, thoughtful, melodic, layered, lovely. I was enraptured by what was happening on stage.

I was not, however, enraptured by what was happening in the audience. I should note that I spent a number of years working for an opera company and then a couple of years working for a new music organization, so my expectations of audience behaviour are probably way off the mark. But still, when did people get so rude?

  1. The ticket clearly states that the concert begins at 7:30. I could understand a few stragglers, but the fact is that most people weren't getting into their seats until well after the show started. Which is just rude, not only to the artist, but also to all the people who got there on time and now have to stand up or get out of their seats so that latecomers can get to theirs. In the dark. Much mashing of feet, as you can imagine.

  2. Why would you pay $25 plus handling fees to go to a concert and talk amongst yourselves in hissing whispers of increasing volume? The four young women behind us could have discussed their employment problems at any number of other venues but choose instead to hiss at each other about overtime for the entire 90 minute show.

  3. On the subject of talking, unless the performer is actually asking you a question, kindly shut the hell up and keep your comments to yourself. Especially when the artist is introducing his next song which was inspired by "that guy you all know who sits at the end of the bar and makes everyone uncomfortable by inserting himself into your conversations", because you, Mr. Banter-From-The-Audience, are exactly "that guy".

I was gratified to hear from a 20something friend that my low-level outrage at the audience wasn't a sign I was getting old as she nearly punched a woman at an Iron & Wine show last year for what she called "Poor Show Conduct". About a decade younger than me, Sacha thinks there ought to be rules regarding audience behaviour, so at least I know I'm not becoming a raging fuddy duddy at 38. I just think that if you're going to a concert, you need to show some respect to the artist and be considerate of your fellow audience members.

Which is good advice for every other aspect of our lives, too.


1 comment:

Phil said...

I stood next to a gentleman at Peter Bjorn & John last year who provided all evening DVD commentary ... mostly saying over & over about how great the TONE was and identifying each instrument as the band changed. OOH he's got the Rickenbacher ... or is that a strat ...nope, it's a Rickenbacher... listen to that tone ....