Thursday, April 23, 2009

"I look a lot like Narcissus...."

Two girls and two guitars (or sometimes a mandolin and a banjo): it's a simple recipe, but it makes some awesome music. Last night TSU and I went to see the Indigo Girls in concert; they're one of our favorites, and we've been buying their CDs for the past 20 years. With that kind of experience, you can imagine that they put on a pretty good live show. Their music focuses on acoustic guitar and beautiful harmonies, and with just one additional musician (a keyboard/accordion player) they played some wonderful live versions of many of our favorites.

One thing I enjoy about the Indigo Girls is their very literate lyrics. They tell stories; they use all sorts of interesting imagery; they refer to writers like Virginia Woolf and historical figures like Galileo and the mythical character cited in this entry's title. So, a long-term acoustic duo with artsy lyrics: you might assume that the average age of the crowd skewed older, and you'd be right. You might also assume that the crowd would be well-behaved and polite.

There you'd be wrong.

Lately I've been hearing a lot about how this new millenial generation is self-absorbed and proud of it, raised to believe they are the center of the universe and thus don't need to consider the feelings of others. Well, the people sitting in front of us last night seemed bent on proving that 40 is the new 20, if their behavior were any indication. Let's just take inventory of the ways they demonstrated their rudeness—and note, all these happened during songs, not guitar changes or other breaks:
  • talked LOUDLY through a soft song
  • texted and surfed using their glowing phones (one time three of them in a row, like tic-tac-toe in front of me)
  • passed a phone among six of them, so they could all read and giggle at a text message (twice)
  • tried to put lipstick on their neighbor/tried to fight off lipstick from their neighbor (with much pushing and arm waving)/accepted lipstick from their neighbor with a big hug
  • tried to give their neighbor a lollipop/tried to fight off lollipop from their neighbor (again with the pushing and arm waving)
  • talked even more LOUDLY through not-so-soft songs
Of course, when one of their favorite songs came on they didn't just sing along, they shouted the lyrics to each other, like they were singing karaoke in a bad romantic comedy. Normally I don't mind if people are inspired to sing or clap or stand or dance; they're just enjoying the music. These idiots looked like they were performing for some non-existent camera, the star of their own reality show, perhaps. Maybe it wouldn't have been so annoying if they had seemed interested in listening to the rest of the songs. Just because it's not your favorite doesn't mean I don't want to hear it.

It got so bad that the woman sitting next to me, who seemed a rather quiet, shy type, finally exploded with a loud "SSHHHHH!" during one bout of chatter. I have to admit she beat me to it because I was still trying to figure out the snappiest way to suggest that some of us paid money to listen to the singing, not chat with our buddies. Though the tickets weren't exorbitant, by the time you add in all the facility fees and service charges it's a hefty chunk of change. Why would you buy a ticket if you're not going to enjoy the show? If you want to chat with your friends, go to a bar, spend the money on several drinks, and then people expect you to behave like morons.

Sigh. Other than that, it was a great concert. And I can take comfort in the fact that if there's a special circle in hell for rude concert/theatergoers, those jerks are all headed straight there.

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