Get up, Stand up

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Remember when you were a kid and your favourite band was playing at the Winnipeg Arena, and everyone in the crowd stood up as soon as the music started? Feverish fans would jump up and start screaming and clapping in the anticipation. Well, I was one of those feverish fans. I didn’t go to a concert if I didn’t really like the band. I waited outside all night long for a New Kids on the Block ticket when I was 13. That was a really big deal. And I remember the night was absolutely freezing. It was all worth it when thousands of teeny boppers like myself jumped up and screamed and danced and clapped throughout the entire show.

Now, I sometimes go to a concert because my company gets free tickets. Going to the Foo Fighters concert on Tuesday really made me excited that the fans would be as feverish and excited as they used to in the good old days. I thought, if any fans would jump out of their seats in mad (and drunken) rock n roll glory, it would be for Dave Grohl.

So, when did everyone get to be really boring and old? Seriously. When did everyone just sit down through an entire concert without the need or even the desire to dance, or cheer wildly from a totally erect position? I’m almost to the point where I won’t shell out $70 after taxes and agency fees to see my favourite bands at the MTS Centre simply because everyone around me is a boring sack of potatoes.

If you want to sit in the chair the entire time and not have a good time and confuse the artist who looks out into the audience and sees that no standing and dancing (which would then make them appear to be having a good time)... then be my guest. AT HOME. Wouldn’t it be nice for you to spend a little bit less, make some popcorn, buy the concert DVD and sit all you want in the comfort of your living room? Please do so, and stop yelling at me to sit down. The way I see it, you should be thanking me. I’ve just saved you extra ticket charges.

I’m not blaming the MTS Centre as a whole, but I am blaming the people they hire (or not hire) for making me sit down when I have every right in the free world not to. And if you want me to sit down, I don’t mind you giving me my money back.

If I was an internationally recognized artist, and I looked out into a crowd of fans, and everyone was sitting down just looking at me, perhaps in the back of my mind I’d think: "Wow. These people aren’t having a good time at all." And I desperately want to stand, but I’m not allowed to. And I’m pretty fed up about it. You know, this isn’t a jazz club. That’s where you sit and watch politely. This is a huge arena for a huge artist. There’s a bit of a difference there.

Here is a small list of the concerts I have been to in the last 12 months, with specific examples of what I have personally experienced.

James Blunt - My first experience with this phenomenon. Now granted, James Blunt could arguably be targeted by middle aged housewives who just need a relaxing evening out, but I’m not that person, and I still enjoy his music enough to pay $60 to see him, and this is a concert in an ARENA. I went with two other girl friends. We all stood up automatically when the concert started. A retired gentleman volunteer came down to our row and told us we were not allowed to stand up. I kindly asked him to show me on my ticket where it said that patrons were not allowed to stand. Guess he didn’t enjoy my question. He told us that if we wanted to stand, we would have to go up to the platform 20 rows up. Um no. I paid for this ticket. I’m staying here. And with that… we sat down through the remainder of the concert, and my concert experience was just a little bit ruined.

John Mayer - This was a particularly exciting experience. I consciously thought about the James Blunt experience while we took our seats. Again, the same two girl friends came with me to this concert. This one cost around $70 after taxes and agency fees. Surely that will be enough for me to gain a standing spot! I looked to my left, and there were four high school girls. This was promising. High school girls are excited and somewhat hip in their own worlds. They’ll definitely stand with me I thought. Riiiiight. The music started. I stood. I was hoping my girl friends would also stand, but instinctively they didn’t. The high school girl next to me asked me to sit. I was really taken aback by this. I asked her if she had any intention of standing at all the whole night, and all of them said no. What??????? Please tell me you’re kidding. So, before I sit, the guy behind me actually swears at me. I turn around totally taken aback. There’s asking me to sit, and then there’s just being all out rude. That was my door to say something snotty back. And then I did. And then he swore more. And then I got in a huff and sat down in a huff because there really was no other option, and I really didn’t want to have 10 people beating me up. That concert was a lot ruined for me.

Barenaked Ladies - Guess what? We sat. Even through a rousing rendition of “Million Dollars.” Yep, still sat. That was about the 8th time I’ve seen them in concert. Never, ever sat before this venue was built. Well, apparently there are seats in the MTS Centre for a reason.

Foo Fighters - Ok. Audience redemption time. This is a solid rock concert with a solid rock audience. I can’t wait. This is going to be just like the good ol’ days. No one is going to tell me to sit down tonight!!! Wait for it………weird. Everyone is sitting. They aren’t standing. They played for over two hours, and not one person in my section stood up the entire time. (Section 206 to be precise.) Everyone in floor - utter pandemonium. Everyone in section 106 - standing. Maybe when I called Ticketmaster for a ticket I should have asked them to put me in the most boring section they had in the entire place, cause that’s where I was, inconveniently enough. IT’S THE FOO FIGHTERS for crying out loud! This isn’t Daniel O’Donnell or whatever that guys name is. This is not your grandmother’s favourite artist. This is Dave Grohl. This is power! Excitement! Nope. This is sit your butt down the entire time and pick your nose time.

Ugh. I’m so frustrated I just feel like giving up. Maybe I’m the one who needs to buy the concert DVDs so that no one will ask me to sit if I choose to stand up in my own living room.

You know what I’d like? Paying taxes and agency fees for a specific standing only section that ISN’T the floor. I’d take floor seats if I could get them. But I’m never really that lucky when it comes to getting tickets online. So, if I’m not on the floor where you have no other option but to stand unless you just want to listen and not see anything… then I want the MTS Centre to stop wasting my time and let me stand without feeling like I’m the worst person in the entire world. I’m at a rock concert. And no where on that $70 ticket says that I’m not allowed to stand. The next concert I go to I’m going to stand, and I’m going to see if anyone asks me to sit, and when I don’t sit, I’m going to see if a retired volunteer asks me to sit. And then I’m going to call management and stage a coup. Concert goers of the world unite!

You know what I might do? Wait for the New Kids on the Block to announce a tour, and then crimp my hair and wear my bubble gum jeans, and feel free to jump up and scream and dance and clap throughout the entire show with everyone else who wants to feel what it was like to attend a concert in Winnipeg back in the good ol’ days.


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