As I have already mentioned in my blog intro, I am 30 years old. Personally, I feel like severity of this number depends on the age of the observer. For instance, to an 18 year-old, I probably seem ancient, but to a 60 year-old, I’m still a spring chicken. Regardless of outward appearances, I discovered an alarming trait that has arisen that I can only attribute to the onset of old(er) age.
Last night, I attended concert for Neil Young with my parents and one of their college friends. It was an “intimate” performance in a smaller venue (relative to a stadium) and Neil performed all songs solo. I’ve never been a huge fan myself, but he is by far my father’s favorite performing artist, and I will admit that he is a bit of a rock legend, so I felt compelled to see him at least once in my (or his) lifetime.
Surprisingly I found his performance very entertaining. I don’t know how many people could get up by themselves in front of a crowd and calmly and proficiently perform a whole set of songs on various instruments with no backup musicians. There was not a lot of narrative between songs, which I personally appreciate, and the acoustics were great. This unexpected enjoyment is not, however, the source of my old age revelation.
The majority of the audience was closer to my parents’ age than mine, and given the relative intimacy of the venue and the lack of a big backup band, I mistakenly assumed that there would not be much by way of obnoxious crowd noise. I was sadly mistaken. Upon taking our seats before the concert, I was pleased to note that most of the people in our immediate vicinity appeared to be calm and subdued concert-goers who were there to really enjoy the music. Unfortunately, as the performance time crept closer, more people arrived, and the row of people behind us filled in with some loud and ridiculous fans.
Ridiculous Fan #1 was a gentleman from Pennsylvania who may be stalking Neil Young. Not only was he following Neil on several concert tour stops, but he had “found” Neil’s ranch/home in California that is apparently “very hard to find” as well as the name and location of the school Neil's children attend. I know this because he loudly befriended Ridiculous Fans #2-4 seated in his row. I would like to chalk up their willingness to accept and discuss this man’s strange obsession to pre-concert drinking, but further observation indicated that they were likely quite sober. The remaining three Ridiculous fans were apparently from MN, and they felt compelled not only to sing along on several songs, but to attempt to “harmonize” with Neil.
Other than the weird-o fans in my immediate seating area, there were several loud “shouters” throughout the entire show. While I can see how this may be acceptable at a sporting event or even a loud and raucous rock performance, why anyone would think that it was cool to scream commentary for a one-man show in a classy auditorium is a bit beyond my comprehension. I must therefore again attribute it to “liquid courage.”
All of this information is to support my subsequent “old lady” reaction. Before you get too excited, no, I did not stand up and go on a bloody rampage or even a heated tirade against these people. I merely did what I normally do: I stewed. I thought to myself, “My parents bought these tickets to hear Neil Young, not random women harmonizing over his voice and freaks shouting song requests and stupid commentary.” Keep in mind also that these “fans” were not drunk or rowdy college kids, these were certified baby-boomer adults. I’m not sure if they were attempting to re-live what they remembered as their glory/rocker days of yore. If so, and this is truly the behavior of Neil Young hippie/rockstar fans of the past, things really haven’t changed that much. I am here to tell you that young rock fans today are no more or less obnoxious than they were 30-40 years ago.
Thank you for listening to my rant. I would also like to add that my parents were not behaving like these noise-polluters. They were quiet and attentive despite the fact that it was as hot as the jungle inside. It is highly possible that the heat of the room may have contributed to my desire to have all offenders (including the morons who took flash photography during the show, even after being specifically told not to do so) thrown out onto the cold concrete steps of Northrup Auditorium. I feel much better after ventilating my thoughts. Please forgive me if I have offended anyone’s friends or family members who may behave in this manner on a regular basis. But honestly, if you are related to or are friends with anyone like these people, you probably secretly wish you could punch them too.
The moral of this story is this: you can keep on "rocking in the free world" all you want, just don't be obnoxious and piss me off. I am old and crabby and have no time for your shenanigans.