Is There an Arclight Experience for Live Concerts? went to the Hollywood Bowl last night to see the most awesomeness that is TV on the Radio and Massive Attack.

Concerts aren’t really my scene because I don’t do well in crowds but I’ve been trying to do some work at being more open to live experiences.

Last night we arrived early, had a great dinner of cheese, bread, veggies, nuts and wine as the sun set. The venue didn’t fill up until well after the opening act, Gang Gang Dance was done and TV on the Radio was jammin’ away. At that point a group of three filed in behind us (ousting the squatters that had moved over about a half an hour earlier into their then vacant position).

They then proceeded to be noisy in so many disrespectful ways, but I figured they were already trashed and they’d either calm down or get bored and leave. Instead, after checking her voice mail messages on her cell phone and then calling people and asking them to guess where she was, the Brit (yes, she kept announcing that she was from England so I feel free to call her that) decided that she wanted to play a game and kept prodding her friends for something they could do to pass the time.

They tried to start a game of “I Never” but she was having trouble with the rules and that was dismissed in favor of starting up a conversation with the couple next to them about what they kept in their cooler. She convinced the woman to take her photo (even though she explained that it was a long lens meant for taking shots very far away).

Now, I’m sensitive and easily annoyed, but people two rows away and five seats down were turning around and telling them to shut up. It wasn’t until the third or fourth song on Massive Attack’s set that The Man finally turned around and told them if they wanted to talk they should go elsewhere. To which the male in the trio responded that “this wasn’t the cinema!” As if the transient nature of this performance meant that it was more than okay to spoil it for the rest of us. (Then I let my peeved nature get the better of me and flashed some photos of them. I mean, they wanted photos taken of them by a complete stranger earlier, why am I any different? Of course now I know that I can’t be posting them anywhere and I really hate myself for giving into tit-for-tat feelings of revenge.)

They then spent the rest of the concert leaning forward and actually screaming inane things at each other. “Can you see okay?” “Oh yeah!” “I love this song!” and of course lots a lots of “Whoo!” and “Yeah, Baby!” Then getting up and moving around and “accidentally” bumping me.

In then end, I just can’t bring myself to go back to the Bowl … and it’s not the Bowl’s fault, but really, what are we supposed to do? Call the usher? Just as they spoiled part of the concert for me, they seemed to take special delight in turning the concert experience into an opportunity to bully the people around them.

(I hate to say it, but the Willy Nelson crowd was awesome two weeks ago, sure they were smokin’ more weed and hooting a lot too, but they were engaged in what was going on onstage and it felt more like a shared experience.)

Is there a brilliant, witty retort that actually shuts people up? Do I need to flash some sort of badge to silence them? What do you do in these situations?

22 thoughts on “Is There an Arclight Experience for Live Concerts?”

  1. Next time, I suggest a 20 volt cattle prod.

    Sorry, I’ve only had great experiences at the Bowl. But then I do bring two bottles of wine usually.

  2. You know what you do Cybele…..

    you will them away. That’s what you do. At least that’s what a former colleague does when he runs into car trouble. Me & and my caffeinated cabal had a similiar experience at the Bowl once with a young couple we deemed Ken & Barbie.

    They loudly talked and talked, at one point getting into an arguement while the headliner OK Computered on. People began shushing the pair and so forth to no avail. I then willed them away into better seats and corrected the timing problems on my Caddy simultaneously. Happy willing…..

  3. That’s the one really annoying thing about the Bowl: people who go there for everything BUT the venue. And are loud about it. Notice that if you ask them to keep quiet, they think you’re the annoyance. I guess it’s part of the Bowl experience. And it pisses me off too.

  4. Most of my experiences at the Bowl have been spectacular, but on occasion I’ve gone through something like this. Simply get an usher and have them removed. Life is too short and I pay too much for concert tickets to put up with bullshit like that from self-centered idiots.

  5. Kill them with kindness when it comes to telling them to be quiet. “I’m sorry… I don’t mean to interrupt but… I was trying to watch the show and your constant talking is bothering me, could you wait until the break to say what it is that you need to say?”

    And then if they keep talking, get an usher. It’s not your job to straighten them out, but it IS theirs.

  6. Wow that sucks. I don’t like to go to shows for the same reasons. Oddly, I went to see Andrew Bird last week and the crowd was pretty decent and respectful. It happens everywhere though (Every city that is). I’d imagiine it happens a little less at the Bowl, but maybe not.

  7. I say join the squatters and go find other seats. Don’t let some idiot ruin your experience, But i never sit in my seats and last night managed to sneak my way up to an empty box in the 3rd row. You could have done something about that.

  8. I always thought that you can post the pics you took of them, as long as you don’t profit from them…?

    Anyway…I think the more people who complain, the more likely they are to shut up. So always say or do something, whether it’s turn around and tell them to shut up, or ask an usher to do it for you.

  9. The Hollywood Bowl is a public place. That being said, going out in public you’ve waived any rights to privacy you had. That being said here’s some things to keep in mind before posting their photo

    * The Constitution protects the media’s right to freely gather news, which includes the right to make photographs in a public forum;

    * There is no federal law that would prohibit photography in public places or restrict photography of public places and/or structures;

    * Any restrictions that the government does impose would need to have supporting evidence that it was essential for public safety. The burden is on the government;

    * Government officials cannot single out news cameras for removal while continuing to allow the general public to remain in a location, particularly if the public is taking pictures;

    * When journalists are denied access, they should avoid confrontation and arrest and instead gather as much information as possible so that they can later seek relief through proper channels.

  10. My favorite retort is nonverbal, a variation on the Bill Holden manuever as exhibited by the actor upon Lucy Ricardo while lunching at the Brown Derby in an episode of I believe it was the fourth season of I Love Lucy: Just turn around and give them your undivided yet semi-detached attention until they freak out.

    Of course this recommendation is coming from someone referred to as a “dick” because I wouldn’t continue to just say no to to a Costco membership upgrader until hell froze over or one of us died… so act accordingly.

    In the meantime, those pix SOOOOOOOOO need to be posted.

  11. Coffee Burt – I actually spent an inordinate amount of my concentration skills on blocking them out …which worked until they would invade my personal space (bump my head or throw something at me). Does willing them away actually detract from your ability to enjoy the show, too? (I’m actually serious, I believe that you can somehow “suggest” that they move along.)

    Gregg – we did ask … I mean, my husband did say, “If you’re going to talk, would you please go elsewhere.” It’s not like they didn’t know already. For some reason I didn’t think that you could tell ushers that people were talking and they’d actually do anything about it. You know, like when you report a bully in school and you just end up getting dog shit smeared inside your bookbag for your troubles (man, I hope that was dogshit).

    LA scumbag – you’re awesome! I really should have just moved – especially when we got to the encore, things were really clearing out up in the cheap seats.

    Will, Michele, benhigh & Gregg – I know I can show them legally and all that, but karmicly (sp?) it just seems wrong.

  12. Note: I have not tried of these things…but they could be fun

    1. Fart a lot so they get peeved and move
    2. Stare at one of them until they get weirded out
    3. Flirt with one (gender doesn’t matter, if they are homophobic they will move, if they aren’t then just drag out the convo)

  13. Karma ain’t got nothing to do with posting photos. It’s about perpetuating the cycle of samsara, or death and rebirth.

    See? Problem solved. Post ’em.

    (Ok, it’s not that simple, but “karma” is not shorthand for cosmic justice, and if you do prefer it that way, then karma is getting ~them~ back for being so rude. Voila.)

  14. Although your experience with the trio behind you was bad, I know it could have been a whole lot worse. There are certain things about concerts I consider standard. If you’re in a crowded venue, standing-room only, then you’re going to get pushed and squeezed. If you don’t like that, then move. The thing that bugs me is when you have seats and people still invade your personal space.

    In July I went to a show at the OC Fairgrounds Amphitheater by two Mexican rock bands. The guys behind me and my friends were really drunk and proceeded to do everything they could do to annoy us. Spilling beer was minor compared to the other things they did such as hit us while “dancing” (and it wasn’t just a tap) and urinating on the floor. My friend and I thought the splash we felt on our feet was more spilt beer until we saw dude’s hands at his crotch and no beer in his hand.

    Rather than have the men with us get in a fight, my friend called security and they dragged dude out. We didn’t even bother with ushers since we were so disgusted.

    I tried getting photos, but only got the back of his and his friend’s head. I had no problems posting them online. I was that pissed… no pun intended.

  15. Sometimes you have to bring out a bigger weapon then they are willing to use. In this case, you may want to consider facing them, jump up and down, and scream loudly, in as high a pitch as possible. When they complain, say “I’ll put my weapon down when you put your weapon down.” Bullies must be stood up to, and that’s what those folks were, bullies.

  16. Post their pictures? Is that supposed to be like a shaming tactic? Why would they care or how could you assume they’re blog readers? As for concert attendance you have to take a lot of the herd behavior in stride. I rarely go to shows–people just cannot behave. But if I find rude people ruining my experience, I’m not polite about it. You have to be super direct and confrontational. “Be quiet. Don’t say another fucking word.” and then glare at them crazy-eyed. Never assume your “uhmm, excuse me..” routine is going to work. And the same for your sarcasm too.

  17. I seem to run up against something like this at every concert I go to these days. There were even two girls talking through an entire classical concert at the bowl. But rock is no different, you still came to listen to the music, and some people don’t understand making noise that supports the concert experience, and just making noise. It is simply up to everyone who understands to shame these people until they get it. That’s how manners were developed and that’s how they will be maintained. First be nice, then be firm, then get seriously pissed, then absolutely call an usher, because they can and will kick people out. It is their job. Every time I get the balls to say something to someone like this, everyone else in the area gives me kudos, because they were all thinking the same thing. It’s a community service. And it is better in other cities, btw, notably San Francisco, those folks understand the rules.

  18. Cindylu – I can’t imagine what that was like … that’s the kind of stuff I figured the ushers would do somethin’ about (and the kind of concert I definitely avoid).

    Everyone’s comments seem to indicate that even if I “win” I’ve still spent my time and effort on them, and as bullies that’s the object, isn’t it?

    I think I’ll just stick to watching stuff on HD and combing the racks at Amoeba for alt mixes and concert CDs of my fave bands.

    As for posting photos – public shaming isn’t really the object of the post. I just wanted a little help with how to deal should it happen again (and how others have fared). Showing the fellow flipping the bird won’t change my experience of the concert so there’s nothing to be gained by it.

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