Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Concerts: If Only You Didn't Have to Deal With Those Pesky Fans

I went to a concert on Saturday with my husband. We went to "They Might Be Giants" for a standing room only show at Terminal 5 near CBS Studios. They're a great band & aren't assholes about people taking photographs. Plus, they're just darn talented & have some good songs. You have my husband to thank for my presence at this concert & knowing some of their songs. They also have the ultimate birthday song called "Older."

Their opening act was also surprisingly good & had music that related to the show we were going to be seeing (unlike the mostly crap we had to hear in between acts, which I'll save for the Yelp review). Suzanne Vega even made a special guest appearance for one of their songs!

My history with concerts is very, very recent. Before meeting my husband, I had been to one concert in my entire life. I went to an Eve 6 show in Atlanta in the early 2000s after their big heyday (I believe it was early 2002). I ended up going to that because it was a sorority/fraternity event with my sorority & the fraternity that I have to say I preferred.

For one, they had members who were openly gay (if you read about the racism & homophobia going on at my school + know a bit about frat culture, you know what a rarity that is). Second, they didn't take stuff like Greek Week seriously. They also generally behaved like gentlemen & didn't go around telling people they were gentlemen. One sorority sister I hung out with often was also a little sister there, plus they actually invited me to one of their parties. While I never felt unwelcome at any of the frats except maybe that one brandishing the Confederate Flag, I always felt this particular frat was the one where I'd be most welcome. One of their openly gay members actually told me once that I was weird, even for Oglethorpe. I considered that a compliment since being weird in a small town is easy while being known as weird at a liberal arts school in Atlanta takes effort. These were the kind of guys that would tell you something like that & mean it as a compliment vs. a put down.

Basically, this was the frat on my campus that defied the frat stereotypes much like my chapter was defying the sorority stereotypes. I never felt out of place there & they were a fun group to hang out with. They were also known for having good parties along with another frat who became an ally of ours later on.

Other than that concert, I didn't really go to any. I had a job for 75% of my time in high school (isn't that scary) & even if I'd had time, I had no way to get there since my parents would have had to drive.

Once, a black guy in my English class (this is important to the story) remarks in the middle of class that "All the white people are going to the Garth Brooks concert." I shoot right back "I'M not!" After this, he says "Okay, all the white people except [The Angry Redheaded Lawyer]." I think I said "That's better" or "Thank you."

Besides my general cheapskate tendencies of getting your money's worth (meaning no nosebleed seats for me), I also don't like standing in long lines or dealing with obnoxious behavior. These have been major factors in why I didn't & for the most part don't go to concerts.

Contrast this with my husband, who got to go to a great many concerts in his 20s and went to them in NYC & Long Island. He laments the days of affordable shows & hates the Ticketmaster monopoly. He has lots of stories of concerts he went to; sadly, he had an extra seat for a Pearl Jam show that if he'd known me at the time I'd have killed to use since I was sitting in NC & being miserable at that precise date and year in time. He's in the fan club so if Pearl Jam has a NYC show, we get good seats if we're able to beat the classist ticket buying system that favors whoever has the fastest Internet connection (what else is this but classist). It's truly pissed him off with how shitty that system is. That's more his rant than mine, though I do have some strong views about that.

Which brings me to a primary reason I'm not big on concerts: the fans. Boy, do I have stories about bad fans:

1. At the very first Pearl Jam show I went to, a drugged up guy comes to the end of our row to watch the show. Fine, people do that sort of thing to get a better view. I should mention that at a Pearl Jam show, everyone stands up for the whole thing. I'm no exception here.

This guy decides to sit in my seat. Okay, getting less cool but when I feel tired I can sit in hubby's seat since he's not close to needing a sit break.

Suddenly, I feel this guy's hand going up my leg. I jerk away & give him a look. He apologizes. A guy sitting to our left in the next set of rows chases him away. My husband acts all nonchalant about it while this guy feels my husband should be ready to kick this guy's ass.

I thought that gentleman had a point & immediately took it up with my husband after the show. My husband claimed he didn't want to get thrown out so he didn't make an issue of it. I asked how he'd react if someone tried raping me; would he just watch the show & not bother? I pointed out that if you're going to be married to me, there's a duty to actually stand up for me. Doesn't matter if I can take care of myself or not; it's a principle. Wives are different from girlfriends. When I dated Vampire Boy, he once told me when we were going to a house party that I would be on my own if any guy harassed me. Yes, he was the same height as me & yes, I don't take shit but at the same time, it sounds pretty cold right?

I told my husband that if he ever did that again, we wouldn't be together anymore. Later on, he apologized to me & told me that of course I was more important than his watching Pearl Jam in concert.

Men, if you think you don't have a duty to stand up for your woman if someone attacks her you don't deserve that woman & you sure as hell don't deserve one who is considered a catch by man.

Women, if a husband won't stand up for you, why the hell are you married to him? Even a boyfriend who doesn't do it should be Mr. Right Now. Plus, do you really want to sleep with a guy who probably also wants to cut off your access to contraceptives while wanting his right to pop Viagra by the mouthful when HE needs it?

2. We get to go to one of the Billy Joel "Last Play at Shea" shows since my in-laws didn't want to go & had gotten tickets as a gift. We got some pretty decent seats & could actually move while sitting there.

Unfortunately, we had to deal with some asshole drunk guys who were trying to drag us into a situation with some ladies they were bothering.

3. The Cure concert, located out in the sweaty heat, where we had assholes trying to cut in front of us. I had to elbow a bitch to keep her away from my line of sight. My husband was even more inventive with people trying to block his view.

A friend who went with us, though, ended up feeling overheated and had to get away from the prime viewing spot we got. We didn't get to catch up with her until after the show.

This is not to say all my concert experiences have been bad. We've been to Stephen Lynch, Mary Prankster (who also told me I was skinny) & went to see some random group at CBGB before it closed (so I could have the experience of actually getting to see a band there as my hubby saw Mary Prankster there years before we met).

After going to this concert, though some basic thoughts:

1. No more standing room only shows for us. My husband was in massive pain afterwards & I think it lingered into the next day. I was generally annoyed & we had decent spots but once I had my late dinner, I was fine.

2. If I can't get VIP or otherwise won't be in the cattle line, I'll pass. Sorry but I'm accustomed to & expect a better level of service in such settings, especially in the entertainment realm where I actually work/have contacts. Treat me like a peon & bad things could happen. For God's sake, I get all kinds of offers for special fancy stuff without anyone knowing about what I do for a living & have to deal with people trying to kiss my butt for various reasons.

There's also that whole motivation factor. I'm not motivated if I'm not getting good seats with an awesome deal.

3. Your show must be in a climate controlled area. No reason for me to get sunburned, overheated or die of frostbite.

Remember, I'm not a fan of anyone.

I feel like the setup of concerts is generally designed to play a game called "How Much Discomfort/General Unpleasantness/Annoyance/Total Shit Treatment Can I Subject You To Where You Will Still Come to My Show?" Hearing about my husband's one experience with an ABC concert (the show started at 8, they took the stage after midnight & were pricks about the whole thing) & stories about how Axl Rose didn't show up for Guns N' Roses concerts bolster this belief.

I wouldn't even go to a concert for God under the conditions most people are required to endure to go to the average rock concert. What happened to those legendary shows with great acts where tickets didn't cost hundreds of dollars each for decent seats?

In this current situation, you're just not going to motivate me to go to your concert. If I know you personally & you get me good seating + treatment for a price I consider reasonable without me having to deal with Ticketmaster, long lines or shitty seats, we'll be in business. Until then, I'm going to stick to indie bands that are recommended to me or where I know one of the members.

In other words, an act that isn't made up of pretentious douchebags who think my time is shit.

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