Classic Rock Audiences Suck!

Classis Rock Audiences Suck

Steely Dan @ The Woods at Fontanel / Nashville TN / August 19, 2011

This is a re-edit of a post I made previously to Facebook. Thanks to @ChrisWillman for unintentionally renaming this for me.

Steely Dan was absolutely brilliant. (Hey!) Nineteen songs played expertly for 2½ hours by some amazing players and sung beautifully by Donald (can he really be 63?) Fagen. It was a gorgeous summer night at a great new outdoor venue whose only problem was its lack of exit planning.

Could anything spoil such a perfect evening? Not if you are used to the normal outdoor amphitheater crowd that goes to see classic rock artists. Call me a musical snob (like some of you already probably do), but I am not used to this kind of crowd and I don’t like it. Sometimes I feel like I am in the minority because I go to concerts to actually listen to the music. This was certainly not your hip Ryman or Cannery crowd who actually respectfully listen to the artist they paid $85 to see. Baby boomers, take a lesson from them.

Let me elaborate. First, there are the simple talkers. These folk have even mastered how to control the volume of their voice to allow it to rise over the music should the band ever be so rude as to get louder than their important conversation. Next, we have those who spend more time looking at their iPhone than the stage. Can’t Facebook wait until after the show?

Take the beer-guzzling dude sitting next to me. He had to get up no less than seven times to buy another $10 beer, and then get up equal times to get rid of said beer. And, why–as he crept past me each time in the narrow row–did he have to make a point of loudly saying “Sorry” right in my face? He was the guy who spilled beer all over the people’s seats in front of him when we all stood up for “Reelin’ in the Years.” He didn’t even warn them about the wet butts they were about to have when they sat back down. Dude, just buy a six-pack and listen to the live album at home next time!

Speaking of narrow rows, why do people wait until 30 minutes after the show has already started to come to their seats? What is that all about? Of course, there is always someone sitting in their seats when they finally get there, and we all have to deal with the flashlight-wielding usher blocking our view of the stage while they check everyone’s tickets and sort things out.

I knew the words to every song last night and enjoyed singing along. But out of respect to others I sing to myself! Lady next to me, I came to hear Donald Fagen sing “Peg,” not you. Dude in front of me, I, too, recognized the intro to “Black Friday.” But did you really need to scream what song it was at the top of your lungs for everyone in the venue to hear? Hey, lady behind me, the drummer was doing just fine–your off-beat random clapping wasn’t needed.

The attention span of this audience was best summed up by the guy behind me talking to his friend while we were dealing with the painfully slow exit from the venue. “Man, what a short show! And they didn’t even do “Black Cow.” Oh, how I longed to tell him that it was the opening number and ask him what other bands he has seen play longer than 2 ½ hours. Maybe the real problem was his arriving late and spending too much time in the beer line.

Despite my grumpiness, I had a great time and was glad I went. It’s just that putting up with disinterested music fans is a pet peeve of mine. I just don’t understand why people pay good money for a show and allow all these other things to get in the way of enjoying it–at the expense of annoying others like me who came for the music.

Love Steely Dan and will still probably go back next time they play.


  1. This is exactly why I don’t like outdoor concerts! You are lucky to live in Nashville – we make the 400 mile trip up from Jackson, MS a couple times a year for concerts. Love the Ryman and the arena. Last concert we saw at the arena was The Who – it was great.

    1. Saw The Who show at the Arena too. Always loved Quadrophenia and thought the show was brilliant.

      1. Agreed. I feel very fortunate to have been able to see them do Quadrophenia in full. Long live The Who! 😉

  2. You left out having to watch middle-aged people do their drunk arms-over-the-head, looking-at-the-ground, hips-swaying-from-side-to-side blocking-your-view dance. Or, when it rains at an outdoor concert, how the person in front of you fails to realize rain is rolling off their umbrella behind them and right into your lap. Or the lone stander-dancer who refuses to sit down so others can see. Or the guys loudly conducting a business deal behind you.

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