Tuesday, November 25, 2008

bad behavior at concerts

This is in response (sort of) to Sarah's post - and I think I told her about this (so sorry if you're hearing this for a second time, Sarah).

A few weeks ago, I saw Keith Jarrett, which was an amazing concert. My friend and I were late, (which, I'll admit, is bad behavior in itself). We patiently waited and watched the first song on the TV moniters they had at the hall, and were let in before the next song started. There were, of course, two people in our seats who either didn't realize they were in the wrong seats, or didn't want to leave those seats - we've all been there, leaning over other people, whispering angrily in the dark, and upsetting everyone's experience for those few minutes.

However, once we got settled, the thing that began to bother me the most were all of the cameras around us. Although there weren't flashes exactly, there were the lights and small sounds of digital cameras constantly going off. The younger members of the audience seemed to be the bigger culprit, but there were enough that it was a problem (this was a packed house at symphony hall - there were a lot of cameras).

Jarrett performed two encores, which was great. The audience, of course, kept cheering, and he came out for what seemed to be a third encore. He almost sat down at the piano, but then went to the microphone. He referred to the "blue light guy" and the "orange light guy" and expressed his extreme disappointment at the behavior of the audience. Part of his frustration was his surprise at how frequently this has become a problem - and in his decades of being a performer, he can't understand this sudden facination - he said he's had many discussions with his colleages, and they've never known anything like it. He did not play a third encore, but instead left the stage.

It was an unfortunate note (no pun intended) to end the concert with. I was happy, though, that he brought it up. This is a way in which modern technology can be really detrimental - with MySpace and Facebook, people fetishize artists in a way they have been before. It's as if you can't just brag about seeing a cool musician; pictoral documentation must be present as well. Why is this? Shouldn't you just be there to listen?

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