Running on empty

September 9, 2022

   I was determined to hold my tongue this time around. I decided that exercising my pet peeve, where people stand and block your view of the stage during a concert, was ineffective. More people were turning around to look for the wingnut exhorting the crowd to “sit down!” than were people who actually sat. I was resigned this night to staring at a wall of endomorphic butts swaying out of rhythm than I’d be seeing Jackson Browne perform on stage.

   And I had guaranteed that’s what I’d be seeing, based on the primo seats I’d bought. Let’s just say it was the most I’d ever spent on concert tickets, and will ever spend. It was a wine night back in April is about all I’ll say on the matter, but it was one of the very few buzzed impulse buys that eventually exceeded expectations, especially when it had been done all on my own. (Carol bought Hamilton tickets in London during a Happy Hour, but I was right there with her, egging her on all the way.)

It was a wine night back in April is about all I’ll say on the matter, but it was one of the very few buzzed impulse buys that eventually exceeded expectations, especially when it had been done all on my own.

   Our seats for Jackson were dead center about a dozen rows from the stage. You could see the performers in actual size, without the need of the big screen monitors. The seat directly in front of me remained empty for the entire show. Nobody stood or crazily waved their arms during the first three quarters of the performance. It was without a doubt the most visually perfect concert I’ve ever experienced, and almost restored my faith in attending live stage shows. I should have realized the lack of standing was more a reflection of the average age of the crowd – more arthritic than athletic.

   Because inevitably, people will reveal their selfish, narcissistic sides, apparently. A couple of Gen Xers began standing in front of Carol. She politely asked them to sit. They refused. She asked again, joined by a couple of allies behind her. They heard the request, because one of them actually turned around, and then went on standing. But once Carol gets her teeth into an issue, she doesn’t let go, and she got them to sit. I was proud that I had kept my mouth shut, and happy to hear others taking up the cry for decorum and civilization.

   There are times when standing at concerts is appropriate, like at the start of the encore. When Jackson played “Take it Easy” and “Doctor My Eyes,” nobody sat. (I was at a Beach Boys show once, and when the band began “Be True To Your School,” the entire crowd of Hawaiian-shirted Boomers rose cheering, canes and walkers be damned.

   It’s the ones who believe their swaying butt and waving arms are part of the show that sours me on the experience. At an earlier Jackson Browne show, one woman was so obnoxiously persistent in waving her butt that she was ultimately escorted away – to a sitting ovation from the entire section she’d managed to block.

   I admit I’ve gotten crotchety. But basic civility in our society today is, well, Running on Empty.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.