Last weekend, I went to see Trey Anastasio at the House of Blues in Boston. On his current tour, he is playing an acoustic opening set followed by an electric set with the full band. I had a great time. He put on an awesome show to a sold out crowd packed into the tight space. There’s just one thing that really annoyed the crap out of me… the audience.
You see, when I go to see live music, I go first and foremost for the music. Spending time with friends is a big part of it, but we’re there primarily for the music. You might see me comment to them on something the performer did. I might ask what song was being played if it was unfamiliar to me. But for the most part, I stay quiet while the band is on stage, outside of clapping and cheering when they do something awesome or play a favorite song.
Acoustic music is quieter than electric. It’s just how it is. At this particular show, it was often difficult to hear Trey playing because people felt it was fine to chit chat during the majority of the song, only getting excited and paying attention when he played something different or upbeat. Not wanting to be a jerk, I just stayed quiet and tried to listen as best I could to what he was playing and what he was saying between songs, but it was often difficult to hear.
I have a slight hearing problem in loud places. I have a hard time following conversations unless people are speaking loudly enough and directly towards my ear. I rarely have a hard time hearing a concert. In this case, it was quite different. I could barely hear his playing on slower songs or songs that had musical interludes between the vocal parts because people around me were talking or fussing with drinks.
This brings me to the point of this whole post. Why go to a concert, and this wasn’t a cheap concert at over $45 for a ticket at face value, if you are not going to listen to the music? Why would you spend the money? Why wouldn’t you just go to a coffee shop or a bar if your intention is to socialize and not pay any attention to what is happening on stage?
Concert etiquette is that you listen to the music. Dance if you want. Applaud after songs. Sing along if you feel like it (as long as you’re not drowning out the actual performer). Cheer (just don’t go “WOOO” throughout the entire performance, between songs, sure, after an awesome jam, sure, just not the whole time). Anything else is disrespectful to the performers and to the other concertgoers who paid the same amount of money as you to get into the show. Don’t make it a waste of their money, too.
So the next time you find yourself at a concert, even if you don’t like the music or what’s being played at the moment, show some respect to the performer and the rest of the audience. If you want to have a conversation, leave the general area of the concert and talk out of earshot of the audience, or just leave the venue. You’re clearly not there for the music if you have no problem talking throughout the entire concert. Let those who are enjoy it to the fullest extent possible.