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The Intolerance of the Concert Goer


Kim Mitchell... an Act I Finally Saw in 2023. Photo Credit: Jay Broderick

By: Jay Broderick - As I've progressed through my middle ages, going to concerts to see musicians that I grew up listening to, but not yet knocked off my list of having seen, has become extremely important to me. Bob Seger, Lionel Richie, Genesis, Kim Mitchell and Sting are a handful of the acts I have seen in the past 5 or so years. On September 11, 2023, another one of these artists was making a stop in Toronto, and I wasn't going to let the date slip by without seeing him. After all, we just never know when, or if they will ever pass through again. So I grabbed my Peter Gabriel tickets when they went on sale, and was completely gassed once the date had arrived.


3 rows up, in the upper deck of Scotiabank Arena, to the right of the stage, we nestled in for a show that I was excited for, but also unsure how Gabriel would actually sound. Sadly, I've seen some singers that just went one year too long. But once the ex-Genesis frontman was on the big stage, all those concerns went right out the window. I was thrilled to be here, but there was one fan at the show who was down right, on top of the world. He was dressed in a beige, 1970s style suit, complete with hat and tie, and he sat 2 seats to my right. The man was so excited, it was next to impossible for him to contain himself.


Throughout Peter Gabriel's set, this gentleman to my right was banging on the railing, raising his hands in the air and "Woooo'ing" to his heart's content. He was there by himself, and he was having a great time. But it seemingly had some other fans in our immediate area on edge. In fact, the guy sitting between myself and the suited devotee got up and exited the row about 30 minutes in. He never returned. Earlier in the set, this same guy sitting right beside me, the guy who got up and left due to the guy sitting beside him, got upset with one of my friends because of the glow from her cell phone. But neither of this wasn't the worst of what was about to unfold.

A couple in the row in front of us, who were sitting directly in front of the Peter Gabriel fanatic were also having a great time. Despite nobody standing around us, the lady in row 2 was up on her feet dancing and singing. This was bothersome to some of the people who's view she was blocking, but nothing was said. During the gentler moments, she would sit down, but the man to my right continued to cheer loudly at what was unfolding on the stage. Every chance he had, he'd let out a big cheer. Eventually, however, the "Wooo"ing was a little too much for the couple to handle, and they started to get frustrated, looking back, and giving dirty looks. Eventually, they got vocal, telling the singer's supporter to "shut-up". Finally, the female patron stormed off, apparently "going to get security". She returned by herself, a little while later, sat back in her seat, and continued to watch the show. Unfortunately for her, the same beige suited fan also continued to enjoy the show as he had been doing. And yes, she continued to turn around and throw out profanities. Eventually, a guy in the row behind us yelled out at her saying "Lady, the guy's just having a good time. Leave him alone!" With that, she stormed off again, and her male companion went with her.


This altercation got me thinking... who is in the right here? The guy's antics weren't bothering me, but they certainly were bothering some people around him. Do they have the right to be upset at this guy having a good time? Doesn't he have the right to have a good time at a concert? I immediately started thinking about the intolerance of the concert goer.


One of my pet peeves is people who sit during concerts. Especially concerts that you are not meant to sit down at. I was at a Megadeth concert in 2012 where people were sitting in the stands. So I sat. I saw Judas Priest on the Firepower Tour (which is a phenomenal album for a band so late in their careers). It was the first time I had ever seen Priest, and it was at the same Oshawa, Ontario venue as the Megadeth show just mentioned. Only this time, I stood, despite everybody else around me sitting. It pissed some people behind me off, and maybe rightfully so. Was my experience more important than theirs?


Then there are the concert goers who talk during band's sets... did they drop $100+ to watch the bands they love, or are they there to just socialize and chat? Is their chatting resulting in their good time? And if they are disturbing people around them from enjoying the experience, are those perturbed concert goers in their right to be pissed off?


One thing is clear, there is a lot of intolerance for the local concert goer. Is anybody in their right in these scenarios? Do the masses have to change for the few? Do the few have to change to appease the masses? We've all spent the same amount of money... are we not all allowed to be happy? In these cases, is it even possible? Or perhaps, there's a happy medium? Maybe I can stand during my favourite song(s), but not the whole set? Perhaps I can "Woo" in intervals, instead of constantly through the 3 hour set? Perhaps I can gently ask "Hey man, can you sit down for a bit? We can't see" or "Hey man, you're really loud in my ear. Can you tone it down a bit?"


Or perhaps we're just wired for conflict???

A Happy Crowd at an Archspire Show in 2022. Photo Credit: Jay Broderick

Thankfully, this stuff doesn't happen at every show. And when they do, they're typically at the larger venues. The vast majority of small venue, general admission type shows, results in a massive love-in by the fans. At the end of the event, I see the supporters with their arms around each other, huge smiles on faces, and crazy hyped banter about how amazing it just was. And that is the escape we need. It needs to be the escape we get from any live music experience.


Have you witnessed some of the things mentioned here? Do you have other experiences of intolerance? Do you have your own intolerances? Share your thoughts in the comments below.





5 comments

5 Comments


Guest
Sep 26, 2023

Of the many good Rock concerts I’ve seen, albeit many years since the last ( Sarsstock) Sitting at at rock concert, unless between sets, just seems wrong but exceptions for maybe a mellow tune. That being said, I would respect the choice of the masses, if say those behind and directly in front were sitting I would likely sit

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jaybroderick
jaybroderick
Sep 27, 2023
Replying to

Thanks so much for your input! Ultimately, I think the answer lies therein. Don't be a nuisance to everybody else around you. And sometimes, you're free to move, if you just can't handle the happenings of where you are.


Cheers!!

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Guest
Sep 25, 2023

LoudTO,

Very sticky situation. In my humble opinion, it comes down to when you are buying your ticket for that specific artist. Know what you’re getting into. If the artist is extremely popular, and high energy, people are going to be up and dancing, singing, and getting their ya ya’s out. A band like AC/DC for example, the entire venue will be up, and engaged with the performance from start to finish. On the other hand, I saw Jethro Tull in a St Catherin’s venue last summer. Tull sans Ian Anderson, is more of a virtuoso type of act. I looked around the crowd before the show started, and my brother and I were both in agreement that the crowd…

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jaybroderick
jaybroderick
Sep 25, 2023
Replying to

Paul, thanks so much for your insight. I couldn't agree more. I'm glad you made the comment about some people who are physically unable to stand up, but that, or any other means of intolerance shouldn't detract from anybody else having a good time.


Glad to see your opinions on the topic. CHEERS!!!


Jay@LoudTO!

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