The Live Show Rant: "Would You Run a Chainsaw Next to Your Child's Ear While Making Them Walk Through Beer?"
Hate us or love us, the letters we get here at LA Weekly are generally entertaining. But sometimes one jumps out and makes us LOL, not fear for our lives. If it has valid points, we're printing it. So William T. Busch III, thank you for the following.
"LIVE SHOWS HAVE DIED"
What has happened to live Concerts!? Kids under ten, pregnant women, people who are unaware that other people smoke pot at concerts, no more lighters!? Are you kidding me, no more Zippos, BICs, or Crickets? What!? I have been going to shows since I was 16 and now that I am 31, the scene has changed, and don't even give me that post 9/11 crap, I am talking concerts not concords.
I go to concerts and sporting events in LA at least once a month, and I will admit that my style of cheering may not always coincide with venue regulations. And more than once I may have been kicked out of or politely asked to leave most of the major venues in LA (and Qualcom Stadium), so I know how to and not to behave.
Most recently I took in The Zac Brown Band at the Hollywood Bowl. And let me start by saying they ROCKED! Country? Yes. If one woman made love to Jimmy Beffet, Bocephus, and Bob Marley at the same time, in one night, nine months later the child would be named Zac Brown. The band was incredible. What was not was everyone seated in sections M1/N1.
First, kudos to the Hollywood Bowl, I think it's the only venue in LA that you can tailgate. You can even drink you own drinks all the way up to the entrance, unlike the new LAPD Sub-Station known as Chaves Revine (that venue gets its own rant and believe me I got one for them.) The beer lines can get crazy, but $8.00 for a Heineken at a concert is tolerable.
Now let me speak of my "friends" in section M1/N1. As soon as I sat down, I sparked a doobie as I do at every show. As a courtesy to my fellow concert-goers I asked everyone to my front, back, and sides if they wanted a toke. I know I would appreciate the offer if someone smoking a doob next to me at a show ask if I wanted a rip. They all said no, you go ahead. Half way through the show I lit up a second joint.
The guy in front of me says, "Can you blow that smoke the other way, my wife is pregnant."
Pregnant! Are you serious? You brought a pregnant woman to a concert! You are negligent parents before your spawn is even hatched! What doctor recommended that your wife eat right, exercise, avoid stress, stand in front of 150 decibels, take in smoke from stage effects, and walk through vomit? That's what happens at concerts.
The Children's Hearing Institute considers restaurants to be Extremely Loud at 80-96dB. Firearms and jet engines ring in at 140dB. Concerts, 150dB and are considered to be Dangerously Loud. Would you allow your pregnant wife to stand on a tarmac and listen to the roar and vibrations of a Boeing Jet Engine?
So I blew my smoke the other way. That is when the thirty-something crybaby behind said, "Dude that all went in my face. Do you mind?"
And I know what you're thinking: You're at a country concert, what do you expect? I don't know how many of you know that Willie Nelson got caught smoking weed in the WHITE HOUSE. And to quote the artist that I was there to see "...Gonna lay in the hot sun and roll a big fat one..." So yes, anyone who goes to any concert, even Lady Gaga--and you gotta be high to understand her stage show--marijuana will be smoked, get over it.
And I know what you're thinking: You were in the posh proximity of the Hollywood Bowl. Bullocks! Both non pot smoking crybabies over thirty and pregnant woman had the same complaints to me when I saw TOOL at the Staples Center and Nokia Theatre. Are you telling me people are surprised that folks experiment at a TOOL show!?
Getting back to my rant at hand, I tried to move up a couple of rows to smoke the rest of my spliff when I encountered four children in the next set of seats. All four of the kids were under 13. Children under 16 should not be here! These are the same parents that take their kids to Las Vegas on vacation. Guess what you got kids, that means you don't go to Vegas anymore until the chilluns can stay home alone while you go or grandma watches them for the week.
Again, you are a bad parent! Would you run a chain saw (100dB) next to your child's ear while making them walk through beer? I doubt it, but that's what you're doing at a concert. People get drunk, bump into other people, spill beer, and oh yeah, the music is around 140dB.
Now on to lighters. I want to smack the maker of the Zippo App. I don't care what the Verizon commercial says, 15,000 glowing cell phone displays will never be cooler than 15,000 little fires held high in the sky. When "Colder Weather" was played, a goose-bumps-all-over type ballad, I held up my BIC only to have some laugh while security flashlighted my lighter holding hand.
My first big show was ACDC at Rosemont Horizon (that's right, Rosemont Horizon, before it became All State Arena, and how dumb does that sound anyway). I will never forget the awe in my pubescent body when the band left the stage and everyone pulled out lighters chanting "ACDC" only to have the band come running back out to "Thunder Struck." Not anymore. Glen Helen, I mean Hyundai Pavilion, I mean San Manuel Amphitheatre, makes you trash your lighters in the bin before you get in. They must really not want me to smoke pot in that place.
Finally I would like to address the issue of dancing. Why doesn't everyone stand up when the band starts? I am asked way too many times to sit down once the music starts by concert goers who stay seated and do little more than clap. I am talking about the same whiner that pissed and moaned about me smoking weed. Me and my girl were up dancing, why weren't you and your girl? I bet that the artist's worst nightmare is having someone feel the song enough to get up and move.
Concerts are the one place where you ARE allowed to walk around freely with a drink in your hand getting too drunk to remember the set. This is a place where women walk around flashing their boobs and sometimes their clothes are literally painted on by the airbrush guy next to the merch booth. This is a place where randomly screaming, "Fuck Yeah" to anyone who passes by is acceptable and usually followed by cheers.
When you buy that next concert ticket remember this:
If you are pregnant - Do not go.
It will be too loud for your children - Do not bring them.
People will dance - If you can't see, stand up too.
There will be profanity - Ignore it.
Pot will be smoked - Get over it.
Beer will be spilt on you - It will dry.
A guy will hit on your girlfriend - Don't fight him just tell him to go.
I may be there - I am not the only one!