Monday, June 2, 2014

Lawn seat culture

This past weekend Patrick and I attempted to check an item off our bucket list- seeing Dave Matthews live. Let's just say it was a time we will remember likely for the rest of our lives - and not in a good way. Let me explain. 

Saving for our wedding, we didn't have the money to shell out for the 'good seats' so we selected a pair of lawn seats which weren't cheap mind you. I've taken the lawn plenty a time and though view might be less than perfect it's always been enjoyable and great just to hear the music.

Our experience Saturday night at Saratoga Performing Arts Center was beyond horrible. What we suffered through began with a striking omen. The second we opened our car door into a parkling lot full of pre-gamers we heard the quote that summed up the fanbase we saw. 

"Everything I do is to the extreme," shouted a flexing muscle boy to the left of our car. 

Along the 1/2 mile walk to the venue we saw a collection of drunken people strewn girl sat on the ground gazing up at cops assessing her condition. "Oh yeah, I'm okay now," she said unconvincingly. She was not in the minority. Several people staggered in stupor. 

The concert was an hour away from start time and most of the crowd entering seemed totally unprepared to tie their own shoes- let alone sit through a concert. We got there with plenty of time to select a spot on the hill to put our blanket on. We were sure that once the music started all would be well and this tangled cluster of frat house wannabes would settle down to enjoy what they came to see. Dave Matthews. Surely this pre-gaming would give way to allow the real show to be heard. Wrong.

After waiting a half hour for the music Dave at last took the stage. Having no opener, this was the show... the main act. Yet, the supposed fans wouldn't shut up enough to hear it.
I barely heard anything from the band we came to see. 

All around us the "fans" talked to each other as if they weren't even at a concert- because they weren't. The lawn was a thick throng of people so disconnected from what was happening they appeared misplaced in space and time. 

Who pays actual money to go to a concert and ignore the artist? And this wasn't one random couple that others had to shush.This was everyone around us. All we heard was crowd murmur. Patrick and I could barely hear the strains of the song we would later find out online was Bartender.   
That's exactly the role Dave Matthews was least to this lawn crowd. 
They had come only to drink, not to listen. But their bartender should have cut them off and closed out the tab.

If there was anyone there actually there to hear the music they were drowned out by those who had downed a six pack pre-game and had become more interested in becoming a part of the show, the one we had not paid to see.

Everywhere we looked fans were talking amongst themselves during the first song...hooping and hollering out of turn. Then the second song. Were they unaware the concert had actually begun? By the second song the crowd chatter had become even worse. By the third song we were at a level of despair that needed correction. We picked up our blanket and walked away.

In one last attempt to find a place to hear the concert we moved ourselves entirely away from the center of the lawn and found a nice quiet spot by a tree. We spread out our blanket again, hopeful. It wasn't even ten minutes before Patrick stood up in disgust. Unbeknownst to me a woman had crouched down, dropped trow and begun to urinate right on the side of the tree I was leaning against. We immediately packed up and left.

Don't get me wrong, I'm well aware that people drink at concerts. I've been to many. I've seen the crowd enjoy the show from their cheap seats. I've heard the music fill a grassy hill and settle over the crowd who was tuned in and loving it. This was not that experience. I've just never seen such a disorderly mess of people who seemed to be completely disengaged from the entertainment and incapable of behaving like rationale human beings.