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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Sarah went to a concert...and this happened.




Good evening all!

As many of you know, I tend to have mishaps where ever I go, but especially when I go to concerts.  And as many of you know, in the last several years I've seen one musician over and over again, and that's my favorite of all, Rick Springfield.  

For reasons I don't understand, the last several Rick Springfield concerts have involved great music, yes, but also bad, bad, BAD behavior on the part of the fans, most specifically, fans sitting directly behind me.  In Wisconsin Dells, I sat in front of the WORST PERSON ON THE WORLD, who managed to dump her gigantic adult beverage so completely, the crippled woman sitting next to me had to get up, struggle to the bathroom with use of her canes, and try and clean herself up. and the WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD'S drink was large enough that not only did she douse a handicapped lady who then had to miss a good chunk of the concert, she got my feet and the feet of about six rows in front of us soaking wet with a combination rum and coke, heavy on the rum.  

A few months later, I saw Rick in Madison doing a stripped down version of his show. No wild drinking and general naughtiness, right?  Wrong. Again, the woman behind me, a woman who didn't get taken out much (by her own drunken admission) managed to howl and hoot through much of the quiet storytelling, and yes, did spill her wine which hit my shoes.

I've been to Rick shows in Milwaukee where security had to be called on a woman in the balcony who simply would NOT LET GO of Rick.

Then of course, there was the Summerfest debacle two summers ago where the Rick fans took up the first eight rows of seats at about noon for a 10 PM show and got pretty surly throughout the day. By the time the last band before Rick came up, one of the Rick fans decided it would be big fun to pick a fight with the bass player in the band to the point where the bass player informed the fans that he was done and the "expletive guy in the front" could come up and finish the set.

And, let's not forget Red, the woman from Memphis who came to Nashville to see Rick. She and her husband sat across the table from up and she drank her body weight in mixed drinks and champagne.  She managed to rouse herself for Rick's older, more familiar tunes, but passed out during his new songs. It was fun watching her try to climb onto a wobbly folding chair and, finally, her husband had to fireman carry her out of the building.

I've been to meet and greets for Rick where some of the women, disappointed that they couldn't meet him (because they got there too late and it was a very strictly limited event, WHICH THEY KNEW) discussed doing bodily harm to Mrs. Rick because they figured she was the one denying them their GOD GIVEN RIGHT to meet him.

Sorta makes the fact that I wrote a romance featuring a Rick-like character seem a little less nuts, doesn't it?  

Now, I'm telling you this because I was pretty much under the impression that this was how people of my age group behaved at concerts featuring hit makers of the 80's.  I assumed general drunken howling and disregard for others was the norm. It embarrassed me, to the point where I actually did give up Rick tickets this summer.  I was supposed to go see him perform at a large wine tasting event.  I don't have good luck when alcohol is just served at a concert. When it shares billing with the musician...I'm starting to run out of shoes that don't smell like rum and coke. (And sure, it was also my parent's anniversary, but honestly, I was starting to fear concert goers.)

(THIS IS NOT A REFLECTION ON RICK SPRINGFIELD HIMSELF WHO IS A LOVELY PERSON BASED ON THE FEW TIMES I'VE MET HIM, AND A WONDERFUL PERFORMER. I LOVE HIS MUSIC.)

((It's just some of his fans might need an hour or two with 'Miss Manners.))

Anyway, a couple months ago my husband asked that we get tickets to go see Colin Hay.  For those of you who don't know, Colin Hay was the front man for the 80's mega group "Men at Work."  It was my surprise when my husband shared with me recently that he was a big fan of the group.  Hard to tell, what with me dragging him to all these Rick shows in the last few years, just what kind of music the poor guy likes.  But Colin Hay has pretty much gone out on his own in the last several years, he's released a number of albums of really solid sort of semi mellow folk pop music that tends to stick in my head.
 And hey, I never know what to get hubby for his birthday, so sure, I got the tickets.

The concert was this past weekend, on Halloween, in Madison, in the same theater where I saw Rick with the stripped down show and got wine dumped on me by "never goes out lady."  I considered, since it was Halloween and all, wearing a rain coat. I mean, if my shoes got soaked on a Thursday night, how bad was the alcohol rain going to be on a Saturday night and Halloween on top of it?

We got to the Theater, (the Barrymore Theater in Madison, WI, if you have a chance to see something there, go. It's a blast.)  and got our seats.  We ran into friends of ours from church who were with a couple who'd been to several of Colin's concerts, so we got the low down that there would probably be a meet and greet after.  I was pretty jazzed. I know how these things go. It's a cattle line of 400 women, all inebriated, all grousing at how long it's taking to see him, and all very certain they are the one he's going to love.

Pressure was off of me. While I enjoy Men at Work and Colin' Hay's work, I'm not a fanatic.  But Hubby bought an album and wanted to meet him, so I was prepared to knock people down to get to the front of the line. Because...you know...that's how it works.

The concert was amazing.  Colin Hay is hilarious, fowl mouthed, but not raunchy. He's just funny, and super talented, and we had a wonderful time listening to his stories.  The couple behind us,
dressed as superheroes, did not hoot and howl, in fact, no one did, everyone was perfectly well behaved. Except for one guy in the front who fancied himself Colin's best friend EVER and kept making suggestions to Colin as to how to make the concert better.  

That got old. 

But for the most part everyone was cheering, singing, and enjoying a lovely night of stories and acoustic music.

We got outside for the meet and greet, and it wasn't hundreds of women. It was about twenty people waiting politely in no particular line.  One fellow told me Colin was prompt and wouldn't keep us waiting. He didn't. About 20 minutes after the concert he came out to polite applause and chatted quietly with each fan. He took some pictures, but mostly it was quiet talk just him and the fans. No handlers moving the line along. No one pushing or shoving.  Even the people in costume, people who clearly had someplace else to be, were quiet and polite and just waited their turn.

Hubby got his album signed and I didn't take a picture because Hubby didn't want it.  I thanked Colin for finishing the concert with favorite old song of his (over kill) and my favorite new song of his( Next Year People.)  

It was a tremendous evening.  And we emerged from the theater smelling pretty much the same way we did when we got into our seats.

So here's what I realized.  Bad behavior, spilling drinks and getting hammered to the point where someone has to carry you out of the building, and being rude to musicians who are not the headliner is NOT normal behavior for fans of 80's singers.  It is very possible and very expected that we all behave and allow the artist to do his thing on stage and off without anyone in the audience pondering violence just because they didn't get face time with the performer.

So...next time you go to a concert, ANY CONCERT...keep your drinks in your cups, keep your hands to yourself, applaud the music, and enjoy whatever personal time you get to have.  Now that I know it's possible for this to happen, I'm going to be watching you all more closely.

That should scare a few of you out there.

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