Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Rules of a Show

Tomorrow (Friday) my wife and I are headed to Pensacola to see the Old 97s. They’re still touring the 15th anniversary release of their seminal classic, Too Far to Care, and playing the album in its entirety. Rhett is opening the deal with a solo acoustic set, and I imagine there will be at least an encore of the band going through some other fan favorites.

This reminds me that my wife wants me to look up some recent set lists, to see what we can expect. Spoiler alert, I know, but in the instance of a show, I like to know what to expect. Doubtless, Rhett will play Question during his set, and I’ll excuse myself to go to the bar.

Anyway…we’ve been listening to Old 97s and Rhett and even Murry’s solo outing for the past several days, getting pumped to see one of our favorite bands again, and for the first time out of TN, and leaving the kids in the dust for my mom to contend with. Say a prayer for her now, ‘cos with the itty bitty one, she’s gonna need it.

This brings to mind a set of three rules for going to a show that we came up with several years ago when driving to Asheville, NC to see Smashing Pumpkins with JT and his wife. And these aren’t obvious rules of logical courtesy, like dummies who feel obliged to be on their cell phone in some capacity during the entire show, or those who want to talk during the quietest part of the quietest song (and yell Radio Free Europe). I assume those idiots don’t read my blog. At least I hope not.  

Of course you’re not gonna get kicked out of the venue for breaking any of these rules – but I will make fun of you.

1)   Do not wear a t-shirt for the band you’re going to see. This one is the most forgivable, and especially old school folks like to show off that they mostly celebrate the early stuff. But why not instead sport a shirt from a similar artist? Or maybe show us all how cool and diverse you are by wearing a group from a completely different genre (please, without irony), like Black Sabbath or Blur at a Bon Iver show (not that I know anything about Bon Iver, I was just throwing in some alliteration). And of course Beatles, Stones and Bowie shirts are always acceptable. Grateful Dead shirts are just played out, hippies. Isn’t there a Phish show you should be at? Better yet, just wear a non-music related shirt and stop being so darned smug. You’re there, so I know that at least your girlfriend is partially cool.
2)   No listening to the band on the way to the show. Better still to avoid that artist all day, especially a new album. Why not cleanse your palate for the experience so you can get blown away when the stage lights hit? Plus, let’s face it, if you were that big of a fan, you’d be familiar with every song anyway. And if you’re just trying to beef up on the lyrics so you can sing along, then I don’t want to stand by you. After the performance is 100% okay. Once you’re riding that great show high, it’s rough coming down, so the methadone for a killer live experience is a bit of the same in a more controlled form. Make sure you play a couple of tracks you wish they had.
3)   Absolutely under no circumstances are you to purchase a t-shirt at the show and then put it on to wear during the show. I seriously hate this. I see you standing there, so what are you trying to prove with the shirt on for the show you’re currently attending? What? You don’t have a bag/purse/pocket big enough to carry it? Well, first off, you can pick one up AFTER the show on your way to the car. But if you didn’t know that, go in the bathroom and put it on UNDER whatever you’re wearing. When your sweater is clumping and lumping all over your body, and making Tegan & Sara’s faces look like a wad of mashed potatoes, you’re not doing anybody any favors. Of course wearing the shirt the day after the show is totally legit – that’s the time to throw it in the face of any dope who couldn’t get off work and make it out. You know, assuming you’re still in your early 20s and working at Gap.

Now having said all of that, my wife will break at least two of these rules on Friday. But I don’t have to like it.

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