Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Soviet Canuckistan — Socialist paradise
Local Time: 06:06 AM
Originally Posted by Jive Turkey
I'm more of a mouth-the-words kinda guy. Had I know Muldfeld was around me, I would have let loose
Were you also at the August 2008 Radiohead show in Toronto?
Originally Posted by Muldfeld
My review of the Toronto show
I have to say I much preferred the Montreal show for a variety of reasons.
People need to shut up during songs. In general the audience too often screamed for the first 30 seconds of every song. If you're excited, great! I am, too, so shut up so we can all hear. The vast majority of people were quiet, but a concert experience can be ruined by just one audible voice or, in this case, 20 or so. My sense is also that alcohol and marijuana tend to make people more likely to behave selfishly and in an unruly fashion. Bring on the prohibition; even if it didn’t work completely, it drove down consumption. If people are stressed out and burying their feelings in drugs and alcohol, that’s not good for society, and it’s certainly not good if they make a ton of noise during songs at a concert.
Making noise/talking during songs.
This one guy kept going, "whoo" nearly every single minute during the songs. Also this really annoying girl behind me kept doing it too, and she had the most ear-piercing screech. She mostly stopped after I asked her quite politely about 3 times. Then another girl in front of me to the side kept speaking during some of the songs. After she talked throughout the entirety of "Nude", I tapped her on the shoulder and asked her kindly to stop; she did. I don't care what people do between songs, but it really ruins hearing the full depth of the actual differences of a live performance. This is why it's okay to make noise at a party, but not at a once-in-a-lifetime event that won't sound like any other. You can replay a record; you can't do that with a live performance. Why waste all that time and energy getting hard-to-come-by tickets, if you're gonna talk crap. Do that afterward or even between songs, but not during them. It was bad enough people talked during Grizzly Bear, who I'm liking more and more (since having bought their latest albums a few weeks ago) and who are excellent and talented performers.
Why it's immoral to go "whoo" during songs.
The thing that really bothers me about these people is that their entire ethos is based on selfish hypocrisy. They would never shout "whoo" alone at home. It is an action that is entirely dependent on the company of others and perhaps the band. Thom at least has the sense to speak out against this, rightfully calling someone a “cunt” for this kind of behavior. Furthermore, if everyone behaved as they did, no one would be able to hear a thing. In fact, I'd wager they'd be less inclined to go "whoo" if more people did it because they couldn't then stand out in the crowd. It's all about making it about themselves and being noticed -- injecting their personality into the atmosphere in a very disturbing way. It's also tremendously cliche and superficial because they do it because everyone else does. It's like the people who cause a commotion upon hearing the "No Surprises" line "Bring down the government, they don't speak for us." I seriously doubt most of these Canadians have a strong ideological dislike for the conservative Harper government and more likely they're trying to copy American and British audiences' reactions, which Radiohead has observed.
The girl behind me whom I had asked to please stop screaming during songs told me, when I asked the guy behind me to the left to stop doing the same, "chill out!" It’s as though I were over-reacting and was out of place – that I was intolerant. The problem is that I was not upset at them doing whatever they wanted as long as it didn't infringe on the listening and viewing experience that is the right of all and, as I was especially concerned, myself. I wanted to tell her that her way of supposedly enjoying the concert by screaming during songs, if practiced by every member of the crowd, would lead to a miserable listening experience. Her and the other guy's very actions are essentially based in hypocrisy; they want the right to shout but are probably thankful every single other person isn't doing it because it probably wouldn't be timed right and would simply lead to a wall of "whoo" noise. No Radiohead, just screams. It's also based on trying to emulate formulaic obnoxious behavior and not at all about genuine relaxation or showing respect for the band. Under the guise of rebellion and letting loose, this behavior is actually practiced to be self-consciously cool and force on others a party atmosphere -- which is really the most uncool, rehearsed, and disrespectful thing to do. It's not about the music. Subtlety of the listening experience must mean nothing to these people. I think it's important that everyone behave in a fashion that every one can have an equal experience. If these "whoo"ers are shouting it is not in the spirit of wanting others to do it as much as them, and in fact is based in having a monopoly on shouting; they want the right to shout constantly, but not so much that they can't hear their favorite notes. This is uncivilized, unequal behavior.
On the other hand, while my attitude may seem stiff and party-pooping, it is actually based in restraint so every one may enjoy the concert equally. Classical music fans have it right when they make it about the music. People are quiet and they really appreciate the art for what it is. It's not about inserting your obnoxious behavior to be noticed. It's really the ultimate expression of love and respect for the artist and the art. The only people who don't go to classical music concerts for the art are tourists and posers. You can always spot them because they rush to clap before the piece is even finished -- hmmm, kinda like the obnoxious people at Radiohead concerts who go "whoo". It's a common misperception in pop culture that classical music audiences are boring in their robotic unresponsiveness. Quite the opposite; people like my mother and big brother are passionate about the music; they're demanding listeners who pick up on all kinds of subtleties. They are still and may look bored and inactive to the superficial observer because they are listening intently and focus their energy on this objective. They don't get caught up in the cult of personalities in which pop/rock audiences get caught, and can be disappointed in the performances of pianists they've admired for years if they don't perform well. They would never tolerate obnoxious behavior from other audience members trying to get attention. The real mindless automatons are the obnoxious, phony, supposedly “down to earth” people I'm exposing.
If everyone behaves as I do, listening quietly, perhaps allowing some genuine expression of surprise -- a "yes!" upon hearing a favorite song or a gasp upon being shocked by something -- and not just shouting or waving arms to be noticed or holding up cameras high so the person behind can't see well, then we'd all enjoy ourselves. I love to sing at home to Radiohead, but I hold it back both to allow others to hear and because I genuinely want to hear Thom's voice and the band's music in all its range. I also would like to be able to record everything, but, since it will obstruct another’s view, I try to either not do so or to keep the camera tight against my chest or in front of my face. I don't care what they do outside of the concert, but I didn't spend money and especially energy getting these tickets to hear them. It's really about respect, in the end. They didn't show any, and I showed plenty in asking them to stop with definite restraint and slowly increasing firmness.
Respecting people's view.
Another problem I had was a guy in front of me who stopped at some seats that weren't his with his girlfriend, which was fine because I could see over her head. However, 3 fifths of the way through the concert, he and she left for several songs and then came back during the encore, during which time some folks edged into his prior space. So he (the super tall guy that he is who obviously took seats that weren't his so he could have a great view) now stood in such a way that he kept blocking my view. Every time I leaned to one side, he'd change his weight every 45 seconds and block my view again. I had to ask this guy twice, and he was a dick about it. "I don't know, man, it's a rock concert." That's a bullshit excuse for standing in front of someone because you don't have the guts to take your seat or ask the others near you to move. It's also bullshit because being able to see obviously mattered to this guy, otherwise he wouldn't take up seats that weren't his; similarly, given he has an amazing view no matter how he stands, he should at least accommodate my view by staying still. He was the one who changed positions from his original seat, not me. I hate it when people only think about themselves and use the most narcissistic reasoning to justify their rudeness and total disregard for other people's rights. Yeah, I know; it's not legally a right, but a civilized society shouldn't have to regulate everything. Scalping isn't illegal, either, but it's still wrong.
If people act with a little decency and responsibility, then we can all have a great time. There’s no need to be selfishly obnoxious and then blame me for ruining their party when I stand up for my rights. A few weeks ago, I was watching a documentary on the life of Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson. This girl who was obviously high or drunk or something (she seemed in a hallucinatory, sleepy state anyway) sat near me, and proceeded over the next hour and a half to “whoo” and talk in a drugged haze every few minutes; she seemed positively shocked and heart-broken at Nixon winning the 1968 US election, for example, which was hardly a revelation; I asked her to “please keep it down” after enduring an hour of this, and she slurred something at me.
Most will find her behavior shocking because this was out of the ordinary. People don’t accept this kind of behavior in a cinema, unless it’s in an inner American city, from what I’ve heard. Yet, one can at least see a movie or documentary over again, and it will be exactly the same experience. The same cannot be said of a live concert. So, it’s even more important for people to enjoy themselves in such a way that we can all enjoy it equally – liberally, but without infringing on the rights of others. I feel strongly about this issue and I hope many of you who feel the same will help me try to change the culture of Radiohead concerts so we can all have genuine enjoyment of the music in peace and harmony.