At one point in my life, I used to like to go to concerts, and in fact, there was a while where I went to a lot of them. But I started to realize that there were a lot of reasons I didn’t enjoy them very much—in fact, ended up feeling like it was, on balance, more of a hassle than the entertainment value was worth—and I stopped being all that enthusiastic about seeing even my favorite bands. At this point, it’s been years since I’ve been to a concert, and this post sums up a pretty significant reason why.
(Originally posted May 28, 2008)
Wil Wheaton blog features an account of a bad concert-going experience that reminds me of why I stopped going to concerts. Seems he had gone to see The Police — at $60 per ticket — when he encountered some rude woman behind him who insisted on talking loudly on her cell phone for a good chunk of the concert, then had the unmitigated gall to get pissed off when he politely asked her to keep it down:
For the next twenty minutes, this woman loudly complained about me to her equally drunk, equally idiotic friends. She kicked my chair. She clapped her hands next to my head. She screamed like a teenage girl in a Beatles concert film.
In other words, this stupid asshole made about a third of her concert experience — seeing The Police! — all about trying as hard as she could to ruin it for me, because I’d asked — politely — for her to just be considerate of the people around her.
I used to go to a fair number of concerts. But I noticed that concerts started getting more and more expensive, especially as “TicketBastard” tacks on more and more “service fees.” And more and more often, I would have to deal with a large number of assholes at these concerts. People like the woman who ruined Wil’s evening with The Police. The attitude among these cretins seems to be “I spent a bunch of money to be here, so I can act however I want.”
And generally, I think people are becoming less and less considerate of other people. For example, very few people I know show up when they tell me they will, which forces me to tell people to be somewhere much earlier than the “real” time because that’s the only hope in hell I have of people showing up somewhere when I need them to. People also seem to have taken a rather cavalier attitude to RSVPs, too. These days, if you ask for RSVPs for an event, you can count on a small but not insignificant number of people telling you they’re coming to your event and then, without warning, deciding not to show. I was reading one of those “advice columns” once, and a guy wrote in to say that he planned a big 40th birthday party for his wife (catered, DJ, everything), invited a bunch of her friends and co-workers, who all said they’d be there, and then none of them showed. Not one. In a later edition of the column, people expressed shock and disbelief, but, sadly, this doesn’t surprise me at all. People just seem to have lost their consideration for other people, and think nothing of deciding not to show up places after telling people they’ll be there. Shoppers block aisles in grocery stores without moving out of the way of others trying to get by, asshole neighbors will smoke or use their grill right outside your open window without a thought for you, and yes, people will talk through a concert or movie you’re trying very hard to enjoy. What’s more sad about Wil’s post is not that it happened, but that things like that happen so often.
(Yeah, that Wil Wheaton. Yeah, I’m still a Star Trek geek.)