Don't Be an Asshole or: A Few Words On The Subject of Concert Etiquette
Unfortunately, I could only hold my tongue for so long. They weren't just having a good time. They were making a total spectacle of themselves, and bothering everyone around them. One guy, sitting a few seats down from me, had to use his hands as blinders to keep from being completely distracted by this couple and their unbearably bad dancing. It only got worse during Wilco's encore, when most of the people in their row decided to leave rather than suffer through more of these people's bullshit.
Enough was enough. I tapped them on the shoulder and asked them if they could sit down for the rest of the show. Their response was, as expected, that they were "just trying to have a good time." I politely pointed out to them that I was all for them having a good time, but that their good time was causing everyone else around them to have a really bad time, and that simply put, they were the worst two people on the planet.
In fairness to this couple, I'm really not against anyone who goes to a concert from having a good time. In fact, there have been lots of times that I wished Phoenix concertgoers would show a little bit more life. If they had wanted to dance the night away a venue like the Marquee Theatre or The Clubhouse it would have been totally acceptable. I would have just simply moved away from them. But we're talking tickets. We're talking assigned seating.
This pretty much brings me to my point, and it's not just directed at this specific couple, but also to the excessive woo'ers or the guy who shouts out the name of his favorite song he wants the band to play next over and over again, and especially the guy sitting in the middle of the row who gets up twenty times during the bands set: Please be aware of your surroundings, and that your "good time" is affecting everyone around you.
In Jason Woodbury's review of the show, he mentions in his Critic's Notebook that he overheard one concertgoer say, "I've never felt this good leaving a concert." I wish I could say the same thing. I wish that when I looked back at this show I'd remember how awesome Wilco's performance of "Via Chicago" was, or how awesome it was when Jeff Tweedy did a "modified version of the running man." Instead, I'm going to remember it for the two assholes shaking it in front of me.
Honestly, I'm glad I said something to them. I often don't. Do I really think it will make a difference? Probably not. They probably drove home after the concert and talked about what an asshole I was (ironic, isn't it?). But hopefully, crawling into bed that night, the thought burrowed like a worm in their minds. "Were we, indeed, being assholes?" Maybe, just maybe, someone will read this and recall a time they were an asshole at a show. It happens to the best of us. But it doesn't have to. And if just one person takes that away from this discussion, the world will be a much better place.