Ladies and gentlemen, I have reached my wit's end. For years now, I have been attending concerts with people of all ages. For the most part, people are there to experience the music. While others seem to have never been in public before and continue to do things that annoy my very easily annoyed soul. Instead of confront these people, I decided to run home and do the most passive aggressive thing I know... I am going to blog about it like the 32 year old urbanite I claim to be. With that said, below are some general operating procedures I follow for every concert I attend. If you are looking to be a better person, please adopt these rules as your own. For the rest of you, please continue to be horrible people. Just remember, hell has a room reserved for you. It is right next to those who put empty ice trays back in the freezer.
#1. For the love of all that is holy, please put your phone away. Concert tickets are expensive and for me are an opportunity to treat myself. For most of the bands I see, I have waited years to check them off my concert bucket list. I came to be immersed in the music. Unfortunately, I am being immersed in the screen of your phone. Now, I get it. The cameras in our phones have amazing clarity and more megapixels than was fathomable years ago. I also understand you want to capture the moment. You want to humble-brag about the show you are seeing to all of your social media "friends." Believe me, I understand. I took the picture above, because I wanted to remember the moment, but I am also horribly lacking cool points and I always think the sad white band of the week will put me over the edge. Still, put your phone away. Why?
#2. Live in the moment. You may never see the band before you again. Lead singers can be egotistical jerks. Drummers can feel disrespected. Justin Timberlake can realize he has more talent than the three other guys on stage with him combined. Consider yourself lucky to be in this space. Be glad you are alive and realize the privilege you possess to be here. I try to treat every concert like a religious experience. I am there to worship and the artists before me are there to save. We both have a duty to be there and respect the moment. For all we know, it may never come again.
#3. Please, don't carry on a conversation, as if there is no one on stage. I know, I know. I sound like an 89 year old man, but your life is not that interesting to me. I don't care that you're on a date, with a long lost friend, or that you lost your virginity to that last song. I can't emphasize the last point enough. Please do, make comments to your group after each song, but remember your inside voice. Beyond that, don't ruin my chance to get into heaven. Remember that whole religious thing I mentioned early? Well, every time you open your trap to talk about the rigors of working at Amazon, you distract me and send my mind elsewhere. Because of you, I miss my chance to focus on what's before me, ruining my baptism, and squashing any chance I have at the afterlife. Your unnecessary words are delivering me into the depths of a fire engulfed hell. Now, you don't want that on your conscious do you?
#4. These shows aren't just social engagements. I have only flown solo to one concert in my life. Sad as it may sound, I actually had a fantastic time and found myself more engaged than ever. Still, I would rather go with a friend, my partner, or a group of people. Just like theater, this art form is meant to be consumed and experienced as a group. The audience's reaction often fuels the band and vice versa. This exchange has the potential to deliver you to the doorstep of a show you will never forget or send you running for the exit. So, be present and play your part. We, as a collective group, need you to do more than flirt with Sarah from accounting.
#5. Someone is bleeding on the stage for you. Any form of art is personal. Writing, performing, singing, playing an instrument... all of these are emotional expressions of something the artist has experienced. They've done their best to clearly convey this feeling to you in an effort to create something where you can find yourself. This is powerful and whether you agree with the message or not, you should feel honored to be here and witness such a thing. This brings me to rule #6.
#6. Be aware of the people around you. Music has played back drop to my life. At times, I feel like I am living out a dramatic/comedy with the music I love playing soundtrack. I know what song I heard when someone broke my heart, when I lost a friend, when I graduated, moved, or buried my brother. Hearing those songs in person causes those emotions to stir within me. When I watch someone bleeding emotionally on the stage for me, I feel nostalgic. Please be aware that the first song you danced to at your wedding may be the last song someone heard when they buried the most important person in the world to them.
#7. Not everyone loves pot. Welcome to Seattle, where pot is legal. I get it. I voted for it, but it would be nice to be at a show and not regret my decision. By all means have fun. Treat yourself, but again, be aware of those standing around you. As much as I love smelling like a 40 year old whose best days are beyond them, I did apply cologne, so keep your legal funk to a minimum.
Be good to each other,