For as long as I can remember, concert tickets have carried the disclaimer on the front of "No Cameras or Camcorders." Obviously, technology has advanced to the point where that directive has been rendered obsolete. That being said, I would like to replace that ticket disclaimer with "No Shouting Out Stupid Sh*t Between Songs."
My intolerance of this concert behavior came to head during the Ryan Adams show Tuesday night at the Riverside Theater. Adams is one of the more prolific singer/songwriters of this era. His amazing catalog of work serves as an open window to the soul of an obviously pained man. Unfortunately for him, he has also written a song that has been used in a Will Ferrell movie. Therein lies the rub.
Now, I would like to point out that I am not a musical snob by any stretch of the imagination, but when a performer like Adams chooses to bare his soul on stage, he deserves a level of respect. You don't have the right to ruin the quietest moments screaming "My Winding Wheel!" or "To Be Young!" Be polite and shut the hell up.
For those of you who don't understand, this is how it works. Performers write setlists. They tend to use them as a guideline for the show. From time to time, they will stray from the list based on the feel of the show. Yet many do not. Their sets may be constructed as a journey to tell a story or set a tone for the evening. It is their gift to the audience. So, if you feel compelled to scream "Sylvia Plath!" at every song break, please do us all a favor and go back to "St. Whatever's Fest" and scream "Jessie's Girl" at (insert cover band name here).
Observation: Should you insist on repeatedly requesting "To Be Young" over and over again, it's a safe bet that "To Be Young" won't be played. Your effort is futile, because, in case you didn't notice, on this night Mr. Adams wasn't sitting on a barstool at Rooters playing Jimmy Buffett covers.
Observation: When the performer falls over on the stage in disgust of the continued badgering by the audience, it's a pretty good indication that he would like you to stop interrupting the show. He is not doing a James Brown impersonation and his bandmates are not going to surround him with a cape and escort him off stage. No. In this case he is seriously and rightfully pissed off.
I don't think people understand how their disrespect of the performer, especially a temperamental performer such as Adams, can rob the rest of us of a special musical moment.
Case in point: after a particularly interesting solo cover of the Stones "Brown Sugar," Adams remained at the piano, contemplating his next move. That is, until yet another bellow of a song title came from the upper balcony, at which point he promptly left the piano bench, called the rest of the band on stage and continued the show. It left me wondering what type of magic we may have witnessed had he been allowed to follow his inner muse. We will never know.
But the point in the evening that depressed me most happened one chair to my right. A 16-oz. Pabst-wielding 20-something female arrived late, and upon disrupting the row to find her seat, turned to my buddy and said, "I hope he plays ‘Come F*ck Me Up'." The red flag immediately was raised to full staff.
For starters, the title is "Come Pick Me Up" and while the phrase "F*ck Me Up" is indeed in the lyric, the combination of the two never occurs in the song. And even after one band member, gently scolded the audience for their outbursts by saying "We have a whole list of songs up here we would like to play" -- and after Adams himself chided the fans with "If you play with the bears, you're gonna get bit", the lovely Miss PBR 2007 still chose a moment of eloquent silence to loudly proclaim "Come F*ck Me Up!"
I can only think that there was more than one music lover in the audience that would have been more than happy to honor her request.
In his spare time, KB buys vests, adds to his Bruce Springsteen Shrine and plays with his band, kb'smidlifecrisis (available for church festivals, bar mitzvahs and to fill opening slots for national acts.)