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Old 11-12-2006, 05:48 AM   #1
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pearl jam brisbane / ethical dilemma

At Pearl Jam last night - I present for your consideration the following situation:
I was up in the rafter seats. As soon as the house lights dimmed I stood up, but halfway through the opening song (Severed Hand, a hard rocker) I looked around and realized that everyone in my section was seated again. Behind me a girl was pointing and screaming "You! Sit! Sit! You!" I didn't sense much support around me so, after mouthing helplessly "It's a rock show," I sat.
In the sections all around us, people were standing - not everyone, but a fair number. So a little while later I walked up to the top of the arena, where there was an open area, and joined some fans who were dancing up there. I got to bounce around during Do the Evolution - a great experience - but then security came and sent us back to our seats. So I had to sit for the rest of the time - except briefly, at the end of Alive, when the girls beside me stood up for a minute of Mike's solo and I joined in. Otherwise I spent the whole damn show bouncing around in my seat. I was furious, but helpless. I've been going to rock shows since I was fourteen and I've never seen anything like it.
Afterwards I got to thinking about my decision to sit. My question is, did I make the right decision? Was it right of me, out of respect for the other lame-ass fans in my section, to remain seated, or should I have ignored them and stood on my own? Is there a protocol here?
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Old 11-12-2006, 07:08 AM   #2
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You paid for your ticket to go to the show and have fun....

You can say the same for the other person...but if they were sitting already...then tough titties.
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Old 11-12-2006, 07:30 AM   #3
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I have a similar problem at times, except with people who get floor tickets for gigs and just stand still like statues, if I near them, I get anxious about whacking them or something if I rock out too much.

Honestly I don't get why people why anyone would want to sit for a band like Pearl Jam especially...rock music is an event that requires participation
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Old 11-12-2006, 08:30 AM   #4
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Originally posted by LJT
...rock music is an event that requires participation
Yeah. I got to wondering if as U2 fans we take for granted the degree to which audience participation is an essential part of a show. Pearl Jam are a great, great band, but seeing them (especially in the same week I saw U2) made me re-appreciate what an extraordinary live act U2 are. Bono will go to great lengths to get the crowd into the show - almost as a matter of course. Perhaps when Ed Vedder is up on stage leaping around and screaming, people just want to sit back and watch the theatrics - rather than realizing that *they* are a part of the theatre. Sigh.
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Old 11-12-2006, 09:21 AM   #5
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Earlier this year I saw a series of five shows by the same band. Their intention on this tour was to have a primarily seated audience, and the venues were set up that way. At every show I went to there was no assigned seating, so if you did wish to stand you could -- around the sides and back of the main area. I sat at three shows (twice right up against the stage, once about halfway back in the middle of the seats) and stood at two (at the back at one and roaming the sides and back at another).

I loved this setup. It allowed those who wished to sit and really watch the band do just that while also allowing those who wished to stand/dance/whatever do that also, and without the two groups irritating each other (well, except that drunken idiot in Cleveland who kept loudly and often incoherently that everyone must stand because it was a "ROCK SHOW!!!" even when the band members themselves reassured him that they indeed did want people to sit if they wanted to. Gotta love drunks. ). When I wanted to just focus completely on the band I was able to sit and do that without any interference. When I wanted to move around more I was able to do that without bothering anyone who just wanted to focus on the band. Perfect.

However I do realise the reason this worked so well is that the venues were small (clubs and small halls) so reserved seating wasn't necessary and people were free to choose where they wanted to sit of stand. What I would suggest in an arena or large hall is first to try to get standing tickets if available (I realise those may sell out quickly for many acts though) and if that isn't possible then to try to get seating at the back of a section (especially if it is a sloped section -- you may be able to stand without blocking someone else's view), or at the sides of the arena.

Just because someone isn't responding to a show the same way you do doesn't mean they aren't into the band or performance every bit as much as you are. They merely display it differently.
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Old 11-12-2006, 09:32 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by indra
Earlier this year I saw a series of five shows by the same band. Their intention on this tour was to have a primarily seated audience, and the venues were set up that way. At every show I went to there was no assigned seating, so if you did wish to stand you could -- around the sides and back of the main area. I sat at three shows (twice right up against the stage, once about halfway back in the middle of the seats) and stood at two (at the back at one and roaming the sides and back at another).

I loved this setup. It allowed those who wished to sit and really watch the band do just that while also allowing those who wished to stand/dance/whatever do that also, and without the two groups irritating each other (well, except that drunken idiot in Cleveland who kept loudly and often incoherently that everyone must stand because it was a "ROCK SHOW!!!" even when the band members themselves reassured him that they indeed did want people to sit if they wanted to. Gotta love drunks. ). When I wanted to just focus completely on the band I was able to sit and do that without any interference. When I wanted to move around more I was able to do that without bothering anyone who just wanted to focus on the band. Perfect.

However I do realise the reason this worked so well is that the venues were small (clubs and small halls) so reserved seating wasn't necessary and people were free to choose where they wanted to sit of stand. What I would suggest in an arena or large hall is first to try to get standing tickets if available (I realise those may sell out quickly for many acts though) and if that isn't possible then to try to get seating at the back of a section (especially if it is a sloped section -- you may be able to stand without blocking someone else's view), or at the sides of the arena.

Just because someone isn't responding to a show the same way you do doesn't mean they aren't into the band or performance every bit as much as you are. They merely display it differently.
Indeed. I don't want to interfere with them, I genuinely don't, and of course I don't want them to interfere with me...
At Vertigo on Tuesday I was in GA near the stage and three guys in front of me were bouncing around like madmen. They kept knocking into me, and every ten minutes or so, one of them would grab me and say, come on man, jump more. I thought it was great. Made me even more excited.
I suppose in the end there are never clear answers to questions like this - we do what we can to behave in the way we see fit, and sometimes that means putting ourselves out. That setup you describe is interesting - but having said that, I can't shake the feeling that, to sit at a show like Pearl Jam, unless you are physically incapable of standing, is *wrong*. And if people did it at a U2 show... I can't even bear the thought
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Old 11-12-2006, 10:48 AM   #7
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It varies from band to band I think...I would be quite happy to have sat through the gig I was at last night, I saw one of my favourite bands ever The Divine Comedy with Duke Special as support, and they are the type of bands you can generally sit through, except I danced anyway

But if you get general admission tickets for a gig, and it is someone like pearl jam and you just stand there and get annoyed because everyone else is dancing and rockin out. well you should have gotten seated tickets....these people are my pet hate, those and the people who will crush whoever is in their way to get to the front, I had trouble in the middle of the week with that, unforntunately my 5 ft 6 self can not compete with 6ft 20 stone dude who parted the crowd like the red sea to get to the front
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Old 11-12-2006, 01:19 PM   #8
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Push her off the balcony.
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Old 11-12-2006, 04:02 PM   #9
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You're right, I think that things like this really *are* a dilemma. It could be the case that people who are sitting in the stands did so because they genuinely prefer to sit and enjoy a show. Are they wrong, and should they have to put up with their view being impeded just because "it's a rock show?" I have two very different experiences that this brought to mind.

First, a week ago tonight, I saw Elton John. While he's not exactly Pearl Jam or U2, he does put on an amazing show, and has some really uptempo numbers that almost demand to be danced to. I could have gotten floor seats (no standing tickets were sold, but by halfway through the show, many of the floor people were standing against the stage, dancing their hearts out)...but instead opted for seats in the stands at almost one third of the cost. Looking around me, many of the people in my area were older - pretty much eligible for seniors discounts older. I didn't stand up at all because putting myself in their place, sitting behind someone who was standing for most of the show would have pissed me off. So, I sucked it up and sat. Wasn't that big of a deal.

Second, last fall, I travelled to see a string of six consecutive U2 shows, and all but the first one, I had GA, and lined up crazy early to get on the outside rail. As fate would have it, the day before I left, I came down with a really nasty cold, and felt like crap. For the first several shows, I pogoed like crazy, and then one day it sort of caught up with me, and I was beat. I had a rail spot that night, but instead of jumping around like a crazed person, I was fairly sedate. I cheered and everything, I just enjoyed the show in a more quiet way than normal. Meanwhile, standing right behind me was this guy and his g/f who bitched the entire time that they had been "cheated" out of an ellipse spot, and that they should have been on the rail instead of us, because they were a few ahead of us in line (long story - personally, I think they were trying to scam their way into the ellipse and failed, and were just pissed that it didn't work). Anyway, several times during the night, I was subjected to comments about how I wasn't a real fan, and didn't deserve to be there because I wasn't jumping around. Idiot.

I think what it boils down to is empathy for those around you, putting yourself in their place.
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Old 11-12-2006, 04:32 PM   #10
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It's a tough call - and I'd probably have done what you did, and been pissed as well while respecting others. It's a rock show and if you want to get up and participate or move/dance/whatever, you should be able to do so. Or at least there should be an area to do so. And many times at a show, I do stand up and don't bother to look around to see if others are standing. I'm there to enjoy myself

My quick story is when I went to see the (new) Doors at Universal Amphitheater. On the first tour a few years back, and it was a sold out venue (5000-6000 seats). And everyone knows the Doors songs and sang them throughout the show, and loudly. It was awesome. I barely got a ticket and was in the balcony. I wanted to stand, I mean come on, it was (most of) The DOORS! and they were great, but everyone around me were like bumps on a log. I couldn't even see if anyone was drinking or smoking (both expected). I stood - and said screw it to the rest of these people. I was a single while my friends had good seats downstairs. And their (balcony peeps) sitting thru most of it just stunned me
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Old 11-13-2006, 06:13 AM   #11
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Originally posted by VintagePunk
I think what it boils down to is empathy for those around you, putting yourself in their place.
Exactly, well put. And adding to that what Lila64 said, you end up with a situation where you put youself in another's place, respect them, and then get pissed off because of what you're sacrificing. Lol. If I can just get to the point where I can make the sacrifice *without* getting pissed off, I'll be where I want to be.
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Old 11-13-2006, 09:58 AM   #12
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Originally posted by bgmckinney


Yeah. I got to wondering if as U2 fans we take for granted the degree to which audience participation is an essential part of a show. Pearl Jam are a great, great band, but seeing them (especially in the same week I saw U2) made me re-appreciate what an extraordinary live act U2 are. Bono will go to great lengths to get the crowd into the show - almost as a matter of course. Perhaps when Ed Vedder is up on stage leaping around and screaming, people just want to sit back and watch the theatrics - rather than realizing that *they* are a part of the theatre. Sigh.
as with most reviews of any given concert, it's all a matter of perspective...

this is a post by a member of a popular pearl jam forum...

Quote:
OMG! Just back from the show, and I have to say - WOW! Fucken best show ever. I've seen these guys many times, in many countries (verona, italy was amazing), but this was the best performance ever. The crowd was unlike any I've participated in and PJ knew how good it was. Eddie mentioned several times what a great crowd there was (and how much better we were than a recent crowd - we all knew it was Sydney )

Eddie was on FIRE, but so were all the guys. Eddie ran into the crowd and shook my brother in law's hand (he's not gonna let me forget it ). His seats were not as good as mine, but then again he got to shake Ed's hand.

Ten club seats were BRILLIANT! Best I've ever had for PJ.

Amazing crowd, amazing show. I'm hoarse, and deaf, and utterly in love with this band. Blew U2's performance the other night totally away.
alas, on a side note, it appears as if eddie vedder has the same self combustion problem that troubles the edge.
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Old 11-13-2006, 06:30 PM   #13
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Originally posted by Headache in a Suitcase


alas, on a side note, it appears as if eddie vedder has the same self combustion problem that troubles the edge.



Live shows are interesting things--they're almost like personality tests for the audience. I'm a fairly quiet person, but live music is definitely something I connect with and show my appreciation for. When I won entry to the ellipse in Toronto last year, an older guy ended up standing next to me. He didn't move at all during the show. I felt like a freak, in comparison--I was jumping up and down so much that my calve muscles were sore for days afterwards. Music obviously affects people in very different ways.

Ultimately, I think it's about respect. When I went to my first Pearl Jam show, there was a guy who was walking over chairs row-by-row to get closer to the stage because his view was apparently not good enough. When he got in front of me, I actually told him to go back to his seat. Before he could react, a security guy, who was maybe reading the situation, took the guy away by his shirt collar.

I guess what I'm saying is that as long as you don't act like a complete ass, live music should be fully enjoyed in whatever form your body may take.
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Old 11-14-2006, 09:57 AM   #14
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i'm interested to see what the author thinks about the comparison between his review and the review from the pearl jam forum.
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Old 11-14-2006, 11:05 PM   #15
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Originally posted by Headache in a Suitcase
i'm interested to see what the author thinks about the comparison between his review and the review from the pearl jam forum.
Pearl Jam did put on a great show. I'd be surprised if it was really as good compared to other shows as the PJ forum reviewer wrote; but what the different points of view demonstrate is the degree to which subjective enjoyment determines how well fans think a band performed. If the people around you refuse even to stand up, it can impact your enjoyment.
As for the crowd... I was surprised at how subdued they were. I'd not seen Pearl Jam before, but I had expected a louder, more active audience. Even at the end of the show when the houselights were up and the band were playing Yellow Ledbetter, there were still plenty of people sitting down. The women beside me talked through every song they didn't know, which was about half of them.
If I'd been on the floor, though, or in a more energetic section, surrounded by singing, dancing, fist-pumping people, I would have extrapolated from my experience to the crowd at large. And to be fair, Eddie did compliment the crowd; but apparently the Sydney crowds had been so lacklustre that the band was ready to welcome any show of enthusiasm. I can't help but think, though, they can't really have been that happy with the crowd - for a U2 show, it would have been a dull lot indeed. PJ deserve better.
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