BARNETT COLUMN:Rude concert crowds still have lessons to learn

I thought I’d seen it all.

Since going to my first concert at 11, I’ve seen – and heard – plenty of crazy things. I’m well-familiar with the obnoxious drunks, the couples who practically try to make a new addition to the family in the middle of the crowd, the girls who take roughly 1,000 pictures of themselves in a matter of five minutes – yep, I knew every stereotypical concert-goer.
But one of my most recent concert experiences showed I had a lot more to learn.
I spent what I considered a relatively hefty amount to see a band I never thought I’d get the chance to see.
The crowd talked through the opening act, which, unfortunately, was to be expected. Those poor opening acts never seem to get enough love.
But here’s what really bothered me: the crowd didn’t shut up when the main act took the stage. Nor did they shut up when the group played one of its biggest hits, tore through some amazing jam sessions or when the lead singer made some (I think) funny jokes.
I’d never seen anything like it. The audience didn’t pay an ounce of attention to the band and instead were turned to each other – away from the band – having conversations. At a concert.
The band was amazing. It wasn’t like the group was playing bum notes or forgetting lyrics.
Call me crazy, but isn’t the point of going to hear a band live … actually hearing the band?
And didn’t these people also spend a relatively hefty amount to see this group? Did they really just pay that much to have a conversation while the band played in the background?
I can understand saying a few things at a show, like “Hey, I’m going to grab a drink, be right back” or “Ha! That guy has some crazy dance moves!” Those statements are made, what, maybe two or three times a night?
Those who weren’t carrying on conversations with those present were on their phones, either talking or texting away (and yes, for me that’s just another unforgivable sin).
I won’t worship at a musician or band’s feet, but I will most certainly shut up and pay attention while they’re on the stage. I have plenty of respect for musicians. They get up there, night after night, sometimes to sold-out crowds and sometimes to empty rooms, and bare their souls through their music.
It’s kind of like reading your diary out loud to the tune of music. While not every genre may be your cup of tea, I think everyone should have some amount of respect for those brave souls who dare to get up in front of a crowd and dish their innermost feelings.
I listened to my mama when she taught me to be quiet when someone else was in the spotlight. I take it these other concert-goers didn’t hear their mamas – maybe because they were too busy talking?
Sheena Barnett writes for the Scene section of the Daily Journal. Contact her at 678-1580 or


Sheena Barnett/Daily Journal

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