Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Too old for the grass?


I was talking with my friend Dave before heading to P-G Pavilion for Tuesday night's Tom Petty concert, and Dave remarked that he hadn't been to the concert venue in probably 15 years. Dave's a guy who likes music, so I was somewhat surprised. But after Tuesday night's show, I can see where he's coming from. First, you have to drive into the middle of nowhere to get to the venue (I already live halfway to the middle of nowhere, so it's not such a bad trip for me). Then, they rape you to the tune of $8 or $9 for a glass of beer that probably costs them about 50 cents. Cheeseburgers are $5, which wouldn't be outlandish if they were big, juicy burgers. They are not. And they charge you the same $5 fee for a soft pretzel. The price of concert T-shirts has exploded to $40 or $50. And then there are your fellow concertgoers. I've always preferred to sit on the lawn at most concerts. It's kind of nice plopping down on the grass on a nice summer evening, and the price is much more palatable than what they charge for the seats under the pavilion. But the average concertgoer seems to be getting much more drunk, stupid and rude. It's not exactly the excesses of Woodstock (shown above), but it's getting close. Maybe it's just the fact that I'm rapidly becoming a grumpy (grumpier?) old man, but common courtesy is a thing of the past. People stumble over you without so much as an "excuse me," often spilling beer on you and your belongings. And then there are the people - thousands of them on Tuesday night - who feel the need to sing along with every song. It's like, "Hey, look at me, I know all the words!" But I didn't pay $40 to listen to some bloated, frighteningly scantily clad 40-year-old broad with a "tramp stamp" screech "American Girl" at the top of her lungs. Maybe it's time for me to start avoiding the big venues, or at least pony up the extra cash and shuffle under the shed with the rest of the senior citizens. At some point, I guess we just get too old to sit on, or smoke, the grass.

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11 Comments:

Blogger PRIguy said...

I'm not sure how much of your comments are based on age and how much are based on simple observations of the crumbling of civility in our society. Since we're about the same age, I can totally relate to how you feel about the lack of manners. And my God, those prices! I stopped going to concerts long ago (Last one was the Tunnel of Love tour with Springsteen.). I have many reasons, but the biggest one is that I just HATE when others sing along with the band. Hey! You're not in your car or your shower, damn it. You're with thousands of other people who, in some cases, paid hundreds of dollars to see the same band. If I wanted to hear YOU sing, I'd give you my money. But I don't...so shut up.

I hate crowds these days, and that's another reason I don't go anymore. People are much, much ruder now. And they also think that a concert is an "anything goes" atmosphere, and thus, well, anything goes...including, quite often, clothing, and to be sure, dignity.

I guess I'm missing out in some people's eyes, but I'd rather keep my money, not fight the crowds, and stay safely at home where I don't have to worry about kicking someone's ass for spilling beer on me, and I won't have to witness some middle-aged woman trying to act like she's 20, with belly rolls and love handles fighting with a stretched-out thong for prominence above her jeans.

June 11, 2008 at 3:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brant, I reached the point of not enjoying going to concerts because of the antics of the crowd long before you did, almost 20 years ago. And it's not just to outdoor concerts.

I went to see Paul McCartney at the Arena in 1992, I think it was. We had decent seats on the end of a row. We spent most of the concert hopping up and down while the people in the middle of our row went in and out for beer and restroom trips. There were five of them, and each one went individually at least 6 times each in just under 3 hours. One would come back and, 20 seconds later, another one would leave. And the people in front of us stood up although we were on the side with an unobstructed view. McCartney hadn't played Pittsburgh in almost 30 years and I'm sure will never come again. He's a living legend, for God's sake! These people had to get drunk to appreciate him?

Another time I went with a friend to Metropol. We arrived late and it was SRO. Unfortunately we were at the back of the room where the restroom lines started. For the entire show, men and women alike stepped on us, shoved us, screamed at the top of their lungs about the long lines and finally, threatened to punch my friend if he didn't move. Luckily, he was a wrestler and called the drunk's bluff.

I've been in the second row at the Pavilion when the people in front of me felt it necessary to stand up to see better. I've had a woman stand on her chair in front of me and, when asked to get down, turn around and threaten to kick my ass. I've had women assault me verbally with language I would never use in mixed company. I've had men in another section start fistfights that spilled into my row.

And once, at a Pirates game while seated in the family section, a drunk guy dressed only in blue jeans came up he ramp brandishing a hunting knife and yelled to no one in particular that he was going to "cut you up, you %&*(#%#$#!." They sent a female usher to deal with him.

I don't go out much anymore.

I used to play in bands, so I understand that people of all ages get excited at concerts. But the sheer incivility they show when asked nicely to sit down baffles and angers me.

I haven't been to the Pavilion in two years, but I'm going back for Rush. The only bad thing I'll say about the grass is that, at my age and with my back, it's hard to sit unsupported for very long. Maybe I'll start a fight for exercise.

June 11, 2008 at 4:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In case it wasn't clear, the aforementioned horror stories at the Pavilion took place under the shed, not on the lawn. I've sat on the lawn only once, for CSN, and most of the crowd was too old to be very rowdy.

June 11, 2008 at 5:50 PM  
Blogger Monique Ringling said...

I completely agree with you Brant. About twelve years ago at Star Lake, it will always be Star Lake, while having a few beers in the parking lot I noticed an overwhelming amount of young concert-goers. By young I mean 15-16 years old. I blew it off. Hey, they appreciate the music I thought. Got inside and planted ourselves on our blanket waiting for the show to begin when all of a sudden some guy (boy), wearing a t-shirt that read "Silly faggit, dicks are for chicks", about 10 feet from us screams "PIG!" at the police officer behind us keeping watch. Next thing you know the cop takes-off after the lil s.o.b. and stomps my hubby's sunglasses while doing so. Then later that night, a few idiots behind us thought it would be cool to light their paper cups on fire instead of flicking their Bics. Here came security with extinguishers, spraying everything and everyone. They now serve beverages in plastic. I had a few pleasant experiences after that. Then about four years ago, I attended ZZ Top with seats in the shed. Ted Nugent was the opener and I made it through the first three songs of ZZ and I had the biggest contact buzz ever. Sure I had my share of beer in me but I was overwhelmed by weed smoke all over and around me. I asked my hubby if we could leave and go get breakfast. I felt like I had the munchies. lol We got in the car and the stink that came off of my close smelled of some serious stinky bud. I will never sit in the shed again. I'll deal with idiots in the lawn.

June 12, 2008 at 8:35 AM  
Blogger Brant said...

There was plenty of weed smoking going on around us the other night. Though I don't partake myself, I actually like the smell of it and would have no problem if it were legalized. Now, if Star Lake (I still usually call it that, as well) wanted to get rid of dope smoking in the venue, all they really need to do is bring drug sniffing dogs to the entry points and check people for grass as they check them for WMDs or whatever at the gates. But my guess is, with their business already struggling, they don't want to scare off that element of their clientele. I saw a sign at Star Lake the other night where they were offering Steve Miller lawn tickets for $10 apiece, so it's obvious they're having trouble filling the place for many events, Petty being one of the notable exceptions, along with Buffett and Dave Matthews. I'll be interested to see in July, when I go to see Sting and Elvis Costello, how packed the place is, because those tickets are more expensive than the Petty tix.

June 12, 2008 at 9:38 AM  
Blogger Tracy J. said...

I used to go to Jamboree in the Hills every year and it was great fun until about seven years ago when the "younger crowd" started attending. They seem to think that anything goes there as well and I believe it pretty much does. One young person said as much to my husband when we asked them to watch their language, he said, it's Jamboree in the Hills man, as if that makes such filth OK. A lot of girls have no probelm baring just about all of their anatomy to hundreds of strangers just for kicks.

I was only in my mid thirties when I decided I was just too old for all the crap that went with it, the fighting, the pushing and shoving and the general rudeness of the people. When I go to a concert I go to see the entertainer not the other people who think they are the entertainment. I have only been to one show at Star lake and it was very nice, Brad Paisley, but people still stood up for most of the show and I just don't get it why pay for seats if you want to stand, go back on the grass. I personally would rather by the CDs and enjoy the music onmy porch where no one will bother me. I think my concert days are over.

June 12, 2008 at 12:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are some instances where singing along at a concert is fine -- if it's something like "Hey Jude" or "Yellow Submarine," then go for it. On the other hand, I was at Kris Kristofferson's solo acoustic show at the Rex Theatre a couple of years ago, and the dude behind me seemed to want to prove to his date that he was well-versed in the Kris Kristofferson canon by singing along tunelessly. That was neither the time nor the place -- it was a small room, and a solo acoustic show. I wanted to hear Kris Kristofferson's ragged pipes sing "For the Good Times" and "Help Me Make It Through Night," not that guy. I gave him the evil eye, and, about the second or third time, he got the hint.

I have to admit, I was tempted to buy a t-shirt when I went to two Paul McCartney concerts in Detroit in October 2005, but when I figured that I'd paid a combined $286 for two tickets over two nights, plus two nights at a Red Roof Inn, plus the gas to get there, I figured I'd spent enough. Plus, some outdated tour merchandise can be found on the Internet at reduced prices.

--Brad Hundt

June 12, 2008 at 1:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sting drew just over 9,000 when he was at Star Lake three years ago. The Police should draw more. I wonder what the Vans Warped tour will bring in? Clearly, the shed showsare for the well-to-do Baby Boomers among us, but do I really want to see Steve Miller when he's 70? One of the great things about John Lennon and George Harrison's being dead is that The Beatles can never reunite and go to the sheds or Vegas.

June 12, 2008 at 1:21 PM  
Blogger Scott Beveridge said...

I've never liked that place from day one.

June 12, 2008 at 11:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, were they kind enough to pass the number to the right?

June 15, 2008 at 1:20 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

We had offers. We declined. Even when I was a youngster more prone to partaking of "different" things, I was way too paranoid to do it in a public place.

June 15, 2008 at 4:58 PM  

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