So, last week I saw the all-too-amazing band Radiohead live here in Kansas City. It was, to say the least, a wonderful experience & being my second time seeing them, they definitely did not disappoint. I’ve been a Radiohead fan for well over ten years now, & my love for their music (no matter WHAT album it happens to be) is undying. I first bought my first Radiohead album at Streetside Records, which no longer exists- it was Pablo Honey. A lot of fellow Radiohead fans I know don’t particularly dig that album or the style, but for me, it will always hold a special place in my heart because it was the first I’d ever heard of them.
The concert was at the very large Sprint Center in downtown KC. I’ve been to many shows there at this point – Neil Young, The Foo Fighters, whatever- I’m not so big on huge-ass venues. I’ve been to what feels like a million concerts over the years. Working at the radio station certainly added to that fact: there was a time when I went to so many live shows, I was actually burnt out on them, wasting good tickets to see bands like Cage the Elephant, just because it was going to be my third show that week. Since the radio life, I’ve cut myself off from shows a bit. So going to see Radiohead was a big deal not only in that it’s RADIOHEAD, but also in that I had not been to a show in over three months.
As I was sitting there in the stands, waiting for Ty to come back with more beer, I was leaning on the top of the chair to give my cowboy boots a rest for a minute when I realized something. Something I have thought about countless times over the years, but never really outlined. And so I thought, what the hell, I may as well rant about it.
MINOR ANNOYANCES AT CONCERTS.
1. Overpriced Drinks.
“Back in my day a beer was only $6.” Okay. What I’m getting at is this: music venues, the larger ones namely, charge out the wazoo for even a regular sized beer. I mean, it’s BEER. While it costs these venues cents to provide fans with, they gauge the hell out of the price. Why? Because, like any other business (i guess) with a captive audience, THEY CAN. And if you’re hungry, just forget it- a hot dog for $5.50? I can wait.
2. People Who Get Pissed When Others “Stand” Even Though They Have Seats.
To that guy behind me who yelled out, “Sit DOWN!” at the Whatever-Concert-From-Whenever- please kiss my arse. Not only did I pay about four hundred million dollars for these tickets, park somewhere within a seven mile radius, get a beer, & this new dress to watch a band I dearly love- you can stand yourself. I realize some fans are older. I understand that. But really, where’s your spirit? You think this rock band wants to look out & see a bunch of “fans” sitting there? Not that I care about that necessarily, that guy’s “dancing on my paycheck.” Still. Let’s live & let live people, & just work it out without being so bitchy.
3. Ticketmaster. Just. Ticketmaster.
I don’t like to use the word “hate” very much, contrary to (probably) popular belief. While it’s true I’m kind of an expert at complaining, some things are just not right in my humble opinion. And one of those to me is Ticketmaster. I HATE TICKETMASTER. Not only do they practically control the Concert Ticket market (which, that & how it’s legal- I never really understand,) but they too gauge the hell out of their prices. Really? A $15 ‘convenience fee,’ when I just paid $50 per ticket, online, for paperless tickets? And how does a ‘convenience fee’ apply to, oh- EVERY kind of seat and/or ticket?
I hate you, Ticketmaster.
4. People Who Talk Through An Entire Show.
Okay, I get it. You had a few beers before you got here, snorted whatever in the bathroom from some guy you just met & now can’t stop talking about how “weird” this music is- that’s okay. I’m sure we’ve all made similar mistakes like this one from time to time. BUT COME ON. I’m trying to watch Bon Iver singing so quietly you could hear a pin drop- & all i hear is you talking about some stupid HBO show or something? I will turn my head & glare at you. And then if it still continues, I will probably ‘accidentally’ kick you. (Lord knows I’m not ‘accidentally’ spilling half of my $9 Miller Lite on you.)
SILENCE IS A VIRTUE.
5. When You Can’t Tell What the Lead Singer is Saying in Between Songs.
What did he just say? This one is largely uncontrollable. But, it’s still annoying. Conor Oberst, can you please repeat the tail end of your ongoing rant about the government in this red, red state? I didn’t quite catch it all.
6. Bands That Jam Out FOREVER.
I guess some people dig this. I, however, am a largely impatient person by nature (obviously) & tend to get bored far too easily than I would like. There are exceptions to this one, though- ie: Billy Corgan’s dad showing up on the last few songs, Smashing Pumpkins “2nd to last show ever” (before they were ‘revived,’) in Chicago, & playing ‘For Martha’ forevveerrr (Billy wrote it about his mother) – acceptable. When was that show anyway, 2000? 1999? Well, whenever I had blue hair, & lord knows that was a long time ago. But going on & on & on just for the sake of it? I may get bored.
7. People Who Get ‘Annoyed’ with You For Cheering.
Personally, one of my joys in life is trying to ‘start’ a crowd yelling. While I may usually be thought of as a somewhat quiet, calm person, at concerts, I like to really get into it, depending on the circumstances of course. Yes, I will dance my arse off to Modest Mouse in the sweltering August heat. Yes, when I’ve traveled four hours to OKLAHOMA to see my favorite band ever, I am going to scream. A lot. I’m pumped, this is an adventure for me. So when you turn around & glare at me, I will just tap you on the shoulder & politely ask, “have you ever heard of this band?”
8. Fake Encores.
This is my biggest pet peeve at shows, & one I will probably never understand. Okay, you just played a huge hit of yours, but you haven’t played the three other BIGGER hits. Well, when you walk off stage & everyone begins cheering, I’m just going to wait. Because it’s no surprise, you WILL be coming back out. The day I see a band end their final song & announce, “We aren’t doing an encore, because it’s expected at this point & therefore practically ludicrous,” I can die happy. Let’s be real people. We KNOW YOU’RE COMING BACK OUT ON STAGE.
All right, that’s enough of that for now. Don’t get me wrong- I love live shows & like Neil Young think, yes, Live Music IS better & yes, Bumper Stickers SHOULD be issued- but that’s not going to stop me from analyzing it & making fun of any small point or annoyance I may have.
I’ve said it before, & I’ll say it again- Music Will Save Your Life.