Monday, September 17, 2012

How To Behave When Art Is Being Made Before Your Eyes.

In July, for the first time since my fixation began in 1996, I saw Fiona Apple in concert.  My husband and I had relatively good seats that we paid approximately 25% of our paychecks to obtain.  Fiona was phenomenal, but the crowd was NOT.  As a whole, the audience broke all of the rules below, and I felt separated from the woman I’d desperately wanted to share a room with for sixteen years, the woman I had driven two and a half hours to see perform her art...grr, digress digress.
July 17, 2012 -- Midland Theatre, Kansas City, MO.
Her setlist was as follows: Fast As You Can, On the Bound, Shadowboxer, Paper Bag, Anything We Want, Get Gone, Sleep to Dream, Extraordinary Machine, Werewolf, Tymps, Daredevil, I Know, Every Single Night, Not About Love, Carrion, Criminal, and It's Only Make Believe.

Here are five rules of etiquette (I know, I’m no Lady Von Halbach) for all-encompassing enjoyment of a concert (“concert” here defined as any single musical act you have paid more than 10 or 15 bucks to see: i.e., NOT a festival and NOT a typical Friday night at the dive bar downtown):

  1. As an overall mindset, try to remember that there are people in the crowd that really really really want to see the performer, you know, perform.  You will be doing those particular fans a service by being as reserved as possible during the evening’s events.  This is not a time for attention-seeking behaviors.  Your fellow concert-goers didn’t pay to hear or see YOU do anything.
  2. A note on phone usage: Y’all know I am serious about my technology, but when you’re experiencing an in-person event, such as music being created before your very ears, I am very anti-phone.  Don’t take video.  Don’t take pictures.  Put the screens in your purse or pocket for two freaking hours and be in the moment, people!
  3. No one wants to begrudge a concert-goer a beer or two, but please keep your drunkenness to a minimum.  If the booze-habit gets you in and out of the aisles for cup-fills and bladder-empties more than a couple of times, just stay by the bar and let someone else have your seat/standing space.
  4. If there are seats, sit down (especially if you’re in the front).  I’m 5’5” (that’s not short) and the behemoths standing in front of me made it very difficult to see the tiny glorious woman onstage.  For a large portion of the concert, a man’s substantial left ear was covering Ms. Apple’s entire head.  Common sense makes obvious the fact that EVERYONE can see if EVERYONE is sitting down. Conversely, if the venue is set up such that you couldn’t possibly disturb anyone by standing, by all means, dance your cute little butt off!
  5. Keep your clapping/screaming/yelling to an absolute minimum.  You paid for the ticket, the performer already KNOWS how much you love them. Admittedly, this is somewhat of a personal issue (I feel like a baby seal slapping her flippers together when clapping). There’s no reason to clap/yell during a performance unless, ill-advised as it most certainly is, the artist has encouraged some sort of rhythm-bastardizing-group-epileptic-fit (for the record, Fiona would never engage in such tomfoolery--she didn’t even leave the stage before her required encore, bless her no-nonsense heart).  Call me crazy, but I believe all displays of appreciation should be held until the very end of the performance, like at symphonies and operas.

NOW, you can applaud...You’re welcome.  I love you too.

Finally, I shall contradict myself completely and reap the rewards of the assholes that held their phones up during the performance.  Below is a playlist of videos from that night.  They're not well-done, but they're in order and they're for posterity, for me, so I'm placing them here...

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