Hey concert goers: settle down and listen

When it comes to obnoxious fans, only concert-goers can rival golf fans who insist on shouting “get in the hole!” at the tee box of a par five hole.

But the fans of Neil Young — he plays at the Pantages on Saturday night — pulled it off in Milwaukee this week and a music critic has had enough.

Writing in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Piet Levy says he expected the usual reaction when Young would play the initial notes of a song, but the number of “whoo’s” and “we love you, Neil” is over the top.

Maybe it’s time for concert-goers to be quiet and listen.

“You’re screwing up my tuning, making all that noise,” Young said at one point, one of the few things he actually did say Wednesday, but people in the audience still didn’t get the hint. The song requests kept coming between each tune, along with the occasional fan yelling at Young to “play what you want.” A guy even hollered happily as Young sang the sobering “War of Man” on an acoustic guitar.

During that first, often-interrupted hour, Young’s majesty at times diminished the distractions, as in during “Heart of Gold,” the show’s second song of the night. As he sang “And I’m getting old,” he certainly looked the part, hunched over his acoustic guitar, a gravity to his presence that was penetrated by the shimmering harmonica solo that immediately recalled the wide-eyed wonder of youth.

They might as well have been hollering, “Freebird!” from the sound of things.

Young is playing more intimate settings on the tour, but the crowd wanted a rock show.

The crowd settled down after about 12 songs, but the damage had been done; the vibe destroyed.

The night ultimately lived up to the special occasion as promised, but as Young left the stage, he walked past a pump organ that he never touched during the show.

You can’t help wonder, if the crowd had been more quietly respectful during the songs, if Young would have played a little bit longer.

Here’s your chance to be better than Wisconsin, Minnesota.

  • Rob

    I’ve seen hundreds of live shows over the years, but have attended ever fewer performances – precisely because of the increasing number of fans engaging in various selfish behaviors that ruin the experience.

    With most artists producing excellent videos of their live performances, I get plenty of satisfaction spinning up the show of my choice on my home entertainment system – no obscenely over-priced tickets or fake fees, no drunks, no off-key sing-alongers, no phone users, and no putzes shout-talking over the music.

    • Gary F

      I can’t say that hasn’t stopped me from going less, even though it could.

      I just can’t pay $300 to see Neil Young, though I’m tempted going to Northrup for $50.

      Paying $300 to listen to obnoxious people in the crowd sucks.

      • Erik Petersen

        Bob Weir is going to be at the Palace in March with his GD side band…. thats a good show.

  • Gary F

    I’d hate for someone to yell over this…

    Somewhere on a desert highway
    She rides a Harley-Davidson
    Her long blonde hair
    flyin’ in the wind
    She’s been runnin’ half her life
    The chrome and steel she rides
    Collidin’ with
    the very air she breathes
    The air she breathes.

    • Rob

      Sublime poetry, indeed.

    • Postal Customer

      “She used to work in Edina, never saw a woman like fina”

  • Jerry

    The excessive “woo!”ers are annoying, but I will still take an enthusiast fan over those who are willing to pay a $50 a person to have a loud conversation with each other about their latest meeting with Bill in accounting. Those are the people who can absolutely ruin a show.

    • Jack

      Wait, I work with Bill in accounting. We are good people…. 🙂

  • The Resistance

    Going to live music shows makes me feel old now so I generally avoid them. I’m always stifling the urge to shush people around me. My general rule of thumb is to stick to small venues with seats.

    I’m a season ticket holder at the MN Opera and have noticed an uptick in chatter and cell phone gazing there also. Some venues are worse than others. People at the Cedar are usually polite. The Palace and other 1st Ave venues are full of people talking on their phones documenting their experience for their two Twitter followers.

    The SPCO and Schubert Club have been doing shows in unconventional places like Icehouse and the Summit Beer Hall in order to reach a pre-geriatric audience. It’s a great idea, but I’ve noticed the chatterboxes who have no interest in the show turning up at those venues as well.

    With ticket prices so high I’m constantly surprised that people who seem to have no interest in the show bother coming.