Okay, so it's the day before Christmas and I'm supposed to be all peaceonearthgoodwilltowardsmen and shit. Well, it's raining here so I'm gonna rant a bit about people that piss me off. 'Cause I never do that.
Concert tickets are expensive. Unless you like really unpopular music (and I do like a lot of it) you're going to shell out some bucks for a show. At least for well-known artists. So with great anticipation (and money) I went to see Neil Young at MSG last week. Big show. Two opening acts, one of whom was Wilco, another musical act I like a whole lot.
So, how was the show, you ask? Well, if I had a gas mask, x-ray glasses and unidirectional ear plugs it would have been great. There are three distinct flavors of annoyances at concerts that make me batshit crazy. And they were all there. I shall now gripe about each in turn.
1. The Person Who Stands Up All the Time - I'm all for being excited by the act that you just shelled out a bundle to come see. But as an old SNL sketch demonstrated (sorry, can't find it online), crowds collectively decide whether to stand or sit at concerts. When there's just one yokel doing it, it's annoying. Especially when they're fewer than three rows in front of me. This person stood up after every song to throw her hands in the air, further obscuring the view. This is okay, assuming you're going to sit down again in a somewhat timely fashion. Which she usually didn't.
2. The Guy Who Sings Along to EVERY FUCKING SONG - I swear, I get this guy at every big concert I go to. Does he think that no one can hear him? Does he think I want to hear him? Does he know what the word "off-key" means? Does he think I dropped a hundred bucks to hear Neil Young with Special Guest Doug Malinowski in Row C Seat 13? Will he sign my ticket stub? My favorite part was during "Powderfinger" when he not only sang the words, most of which he knew, but the goddamn guitar parts too. ("The closer they got, the more these feelings greeeeew! Dairn dair dairn de-dair-dair dair de-dairn!") I actually was relieved when Neil sang new songs that no one knew. At least this dude shut up for a bit.
3. The Smoker - You knew this was coming, didn't you? Smoking was banned at pretty much every indoor space in New York City early on in the Bloomberg administration, and no one was happier about it than I. Finally, I said to myself, I can go out and hear music (and play music) without wanting to die. Apparently, this is not so much the case. One dude lights up. Stinky. Gross. It can be nipped in the bud if somebody nearby says "Hey, dude, do you mind?" or an usher comes by and politely asks the offending party to extinguish. But when this doesn't happen, it emboldens others around to do the same. The original party, now emboldened in turn by the acquiescence and participation of others, ceases to hide the cigarette under the seat between puffs, and in his cupped hands during puffs, and just smokes openly through the whole freakin' show. Person #1 even joined in. She was too far away for me to tell if she pulled off the annoyance trifecta, but she clearly didn't have much lung power because, rather than being forcefully expelled upward and/or outward, the smoke just drifted out of her mouth and wafted back towards me to say hello. I did not return its friendly greeting.
Rules don't mean anything if nobody enforces them. Now, there are no hard and fast rules against #1 and #2, so I accept that I'm just a curmudgeon who should stay home if that crap bothers him. But #3 really angers me. Apart from the general unpleasantness (that I spent a lot of money to experience, fuck you very much) I had a freakin' headache for most of the show, which was really long, by the way. And, oh, you know, it's just the law and all. Not that anybody cares about laws in this country anymore.
Am I overreacting? Is it just me? Seriously, what the hell is wrong with people?
Oh, by the way, Merry Christmas!