I think I’ve reached the age where seats are mandatory at concerts. I live in a city with an abundance of live music venues, many of them historic, and my wife and I have started to take advantage of them in earnest: The Riviera, Thalia Hall, The Aragon. It’s an embarrassment of riches, but we’re going to start passing it up if we can’t sit down.
It’s not the standing that poses the problem, but the standing with other people. On Friday night we saw Lucy Dacus and Sharon Van Etten at Thalia Hall with General Admission tickets that we bought in December after the narrow strip of a balcony was already sold out. We were there to see Dacus, for sure, but we spent much of her set dealing with these two concertgoers in front of us who WOULDN’T STOP TALKING. DURING A ROCK CONCERT. Guy on the right would lean over and shout something into the ear of guy on the left and then look back at the stage. Then he’d do it again. And again, and again. Meredith kept having to move to accommodate guy on the right’s head position. What really galled me was that they were talking about another musician, reviewing her latest album, while I was trying to listen to the musician I came to see.
I’m non-confrontational to a fault, but Meredith isn’t. So after we’d exchanged half a dozen irritated looks at one another, we went full-on Todd and Margo. Meredith tapped guy on the right’s shoulder and leaned forward to shout into his ear. I didn’t hear what she said, but he was immediately and effusively apologetic. Less than 30 seconds later, he was back at it.
We shifted around in-between acts so we weren’t behind this duo anymore, but we weren’t done with them, particularly guy on the right, who was standing to my left when Van Etten started playing. During her first song I noticed he was swaying, but not to the music. Clearly drunk, his face buried in his hands, he was an imminent shoe-splatter threat. I kept one eye on the stage and the other on him until, mercifully, he left.
We left shortly after, feeling old and crotchety, casting longing looks at the worn upholstered seats in the balcony on our way out the door.