Jul 3, 2006

On Boorish Concert Behavior

cell phone at a concert(Toledo, OH) I didn't want to clutter my review of the Paul Simon concert at the Toledo Zoo Amphitheater with a host of complaints about my fellow concertgoers, so I decided to create a separate post to vent.

For those new to the blog, I am a curmudgeonly 42-year-old with a long interest in playing, performing, and simply enjoying music. I have attended hundreds of concerts over the years, and doubtless will attend many more.

Last night I witnessed some of the tackiest behavior one could imagine at a concert, and this was in a crowd supposedly old enough to know better. The cheap seats for the Paul Simon show were $55, and front row seats were fetching $400 or more on eBay.

Here, then, is my list of stupid concertgoer behavior:

1. Dear cell phone camera guy: I know the sign said "no cameras," and you think you are pretty smart to put one over on the show's producers, but when you take fifty pictures by waving your phone in the air it is distracting to those behind you. Like me. And, honestly, how good are those pictures really going to be, what with the dimmed lights and the fact that you are 100 yards from the stage?

2. Dear 65-year-old hoochie in the mini-skirt: I am sure that you were once a young hottie, but that short, slip-like, satin dress you wore to the concert was just goofy, and your birdlegs were looking especially emaciated. There comes a time when we all must concede that we should move on to more age-appropriate clothing, and yours was at least 15 years ago.

3. Dear drunken young guy: If your friends wanted to go to the Paul Simon concert, they would have bought tickets. When you make a half-dozen cell phone calls and slobber into the phone to everyone who answers, "Lissssen, man, this is really awessssome, this guy frigging ROCKS" you disturb the guy sitting next to you. Who was me.

4. Dear umbrella woman: You must not have read the signs, heard the announcements, or noticed that the rest of us do not have umbrellas. I know it sprinkled a little at this outdoor show, and you just got your hair done, but put away the umbrella before someone (like me) beats you senseless with it. Now.

5. Dear row of attention deficit disorder (ADD) people: I know you must all have short attention spans, because the eight of you have each gotten up and left your seat about ten times apiece. Either: a) take an extra dose of Ritalin; or b) take a couple Thorazine. Either way, there is a limit to how much people around you (like me) can take, and we may duct-tape you to your seat if you don't sit still.

6. Dear Chatty Cathies: Yes, this is your first night out in months, and you want to catch up. That's why you should go to dinner before the show, or have a cappucino at Starbucks on the way home. The last thing I want to hear during a quiet, introspective song like "The Boxer" are the problems you are having with your wayward teenage daughter and her ne'er-do-well boyfriend having sex in the driveway. STFU, okay?

7. Dear really drunk fifty-something woman: Being falling-down wasted wasn't funny when you were 18, and it is even less becoming now that you are old enough to be someone's grandmother. Also, my shoulder is not a handrail. Dry out before your liver turns to whiskey pâté.

Thanks, everybody, and enjoy the show!


Lisa Renee said...

Okay...maybe I'm not experiencing as much envy now...


historymike said...

Minor inconveniences, to be sure, but I was shaking my head at the idiocy around me.

You sort of expect some stupidity at a concert with more younger people, but most of the recent concerts I attended where I was the "old man in the crowd" featured better behavior by the "kids."

Maybe the younger audiences are more into the music, whereas for the older crowds it's social time.

Or (alternately) maybe this crowd was overflowing with wealthy elites who were demonstrating the self-absorbed, "me-first" behavior that got them to where they are.

Or maybe I am reading waaaay too much social analysis into the actions of a few dopes.

Lisa Renee said...

Maybe that's why we are bloggers, I find myself noticing the same thing at public events. (Flashing back to the concert at Detroit Energy Theatre worrying the drunks were going to roll down the hill.)


LTLOP said...

Awww, c'mon Mike it's all part of the "entertainmenet experience". What if everybody did what they were supposed to? Then you would be put out of the blogging business and no more under your breath chuckles or comments of WTF. C'mon admit it you do the same thing at the mall, i.e. people watch, laugh at mullets or the fat chick with the crop top and hot pants. Think about it these mouth breathers validate our normalness and we realize that normal aint' all that bad. Just remember nothing scream that you are important like screaming into the cell phone "I'm important.

Suss & The Family Stone said...

Drunk losers are all part of concerts, ballgames, and just being in public in general.

Oh crap, I think hate people as much as you, Mike!

Billy Pilgrim said...

Mike, I share your pain. The last concert experience I had was seeing the outrageously awesome Black Crowes, but unfortunately the $50 "lawn seat" I purchased became "muddy blanket covered in drunk guy piss." As a member of the peace-love movement in my younger years, I have nothing against people expanding their consciousness, as long as it doesn't involve their bodily fluids invading my personal space.

Kate said...

laughing here....nice vent. True assessment of the human condition. 65year old hoochie and row of ADDers….priceless stuff.

McCaskey said...

"Maybe the younger audiences are more into the music, whereas for the older crowds it's social time."

"Or (alternately) maybe this crowd was overflowing with wealthy elites who were demonstrating the self-absorbed, "me-first" behavior that got them to where they are."

"Or maybe I am reading waaaay too much social analysis into the actions of a few dopes."---

Or, maybe like the rest of us, HM, you're just getting older and have less tolerence for things you used to shrug off.
I remember the first Saturday Night Live show after 9/11. Simon opened the show with "The Boxer." Not many dry eyes in the house or I'm sure watching from home.
This was a nice read as was the concert review.

-Sepp said...

I agree with you on all counts HM. I was also laughing at "grandma" in her skimpiest of skimpys parading around as if we were all thought she was more than a has-been 15 years ago. Then there are the mothballed lotharios that think their 18 year old girlfriends knew who the hell Paul Simon is in the first place. My vote for assholes of the day were the asses that clogged my neighborhood with cars and parked illegally to dodge the 4 bucks for parking and wandered around the fence straining to hear the show. Get a job instead of still trying to sell tiedye shirts and you might be able to actually attend the show without blocking a driveway with your 1975 rusted out VW rabbit.

Valbee said...

I didn't get to this show because I have no cash, but I saw him with Art Garfunkel a couple years back at the Palace. Even with the much larger crowd, I don't recall that much annoying behavior.

Now... it's been quite a different story at a few Springsteen shows I've been to...

And FYI, it doesn't matter how old I've been throughout my concert attendance - I am *always* annoyed by people who interrupt my listening experience. I paid my money to see to the band, not listen to or watch others act like idiots.

Name withheld to protect the guilty said...

Best (worst?) concert story ever comes from my girlfriend, at a Rolling Stones concert: the guy sharing pot and cocaine with his mentally handicapped brother.

So, Mike, it could be worse.

historymike said...


I was at WalMart today (dragged there - I won't go willingly) and I admit that I saw a lot of, well, STRANGE people.

I was thinking, though, that maybe THEY are the norm, and I am the odd exception.

There were a whole lot more grotesquely obese people, glaze-eyed stoners, men with shorts/dark socks/sandals, and women with big hair than geeky academics like me.

historymike said...

Had I gone to see a wilder concert - say, the Raconteurs - I would have expected and possibly been enteratined by the stupidity.

As I surveyed the crowd before the show, I mistakenly assumed a more highly-evolved group of people.

Unfortunately, they were just assholes with Crocs and Prada bags - big money in the audience for this show.

historymike said...

Billy Pilgrim:

Agreed about lawn seats. I used to revel in the lawn seats at Pine Knob (oops - DTE), but things tend to get crazier than I want these days.

Plus, if I take kids along, I'd rather not expose them to, oh, hash pipes and nudity just yet.

historymike said...


Yes indeed - I am definitely showing my age.

Last night's show was unique in one way - the only smoke I smelled was from some expensive Cuban cigars. Not once did the pungent aroma of ganja waft past me.

historymike said...

(laughing at Sepp's "mothballed lotharios" line - I will be stealing that)

historymike said...


True, true.

I saw Springsteen at the Fox Theater in Detroit in...1998 or 1999 when he did a solo acoustic show.

Now, I have no problem with people dancing, screaming, or expressing their joy in rowdy ways during upbeat songs.

But during songs when Bruce is unplugged and reaching from the bottom of his soul for one poignant note, it drives me batty to have some idiot scream just to have himself heard in the near-silence: "BRU-U-U-U-CE!!!"

historymike said...


THAT is a disturbing image. There will be a special circle in Hell for people who abuse the mentally handicapped.

Do said...

Exactly why I have given up on paying outrageous prices for tickets to these things. I like to enjoy the performance, not be part of it when I pummel the hell out of some moron who won't sit down/shut up/lower their voice, etc.

Hooda Thunkit said...

Glad to see you enjoyed your evening out with Paul Simon and the “animals.”

C’mon Mike, you were at the Zoo. You remember “At the Zoo,” don’t you?

Some times any price spent on tickets is wasted/ruined, due to the thoughtlessness of others :-(

Somebody, many somebodies, owe you a big apology. . .