Monday, July 25, 2005

Go on, now, go. Walk out the door.

From the "What the hell is wrong with you people" department:

Herself and Meself went to Pittsburgh yesterday for Anniversary Weekend (Observed). The highlight and reason for the trip was a concert at the Chevrolet Ampitheatre, Elvis Costello and the Impostors, with special guest Emmylou Harris. Between their two very different but very heavy accents, I figure I understood about 14 words of English all night.

It was fabulous. We got particularly lucky to stumble upon the sound check, and heard Emmylou and Elvis perform a duet of "I Still Miss Someone" which didn't even make it into the night's setlist. (Then we were booted from the closed set.) I was thrilled to see "no opening act" on the ticket, just these stars performing for a solid 3 hours. We got exactly what we were expecting: a little bit of everything. Elvis' "Radio Radio" and "Pump It Up", of course, but also some interesting newer stuff, and country elements like Graham Parson's "Wheels", a beautiful gospel trio with bassist Davey Faragher on "Gathering Flowers For The Master's Garden", and a heartrending duet on "Wild Horses."

It seemed like there was a three-way split in the crowd. A small majority of us were there to hear what we got. Then there was a large camp that seemed to want just rock and roll, and a smaller group that just wanted country. And that's all right. There's no disputing taste. Personally, I'm kind of glad that Elvis didn't go into his collaborations with Burt Bacharach.

What did surprise me was the rather large number of people who decided, around halfway into the concert, that they'd had enough. And they left. What the hell? I'll grant you that any given person might have a good reason: don't feel well, early meeting at work, gotta relieve the babysitter. But how do you not want to know what the encores are? Aren't you curious to see if maybe this artist you like is going to bust out something that's going to open up your mind? If you only want to hear things you already know, if the prospect of getting out of the parking is too much to bear (and I've been in much worse lots)... maybe what you want to do is stay home and have a record party.

I had a similar event a few weeks ago in DC. My dad and I went to see a Nationals game; I had (foolishly) not gotten tickets in advance, so we ended up paying a scalper too much for outfield seats. It's pretty demoralizing to sit in the bleachers and look at all the open good seats owned by lobbyists and corporations who aren't using them... but that's not what I'm griping about right now. Nor am I griping about the youth groups, who were basically well behaved and started leaving around the 6th inning. If I had to ride herd on 50 12-year-olds, I'd get them back on the bus before the traffic started too. And it was a hot day with constant threatening clouds; I can forgive some folks for bailing early.

But it was a 2-2 tie going into the 9th, and people were leaving. And it was a 2-2 tie coming out of the 9th, and people were still leaving! How in the name of Walter Johnson is it remotely possible that you can stay through 9 innings of a baseball game and leave at the top of the 10th? Memo to Washington Fans: this is why there are teams in Minnesota and Texas...


Blogger TeacherRefPoet said...

We saw Elvis do a lot of Bacharachian stuff (the Little Mrs. To Be can tell you exactly what) last year. It was beautiful, actually...I liked it.

If you're really concerned about traffic at the ballgame, ARRIVE LATE and LEAVE LATE.

2:08 AM, July 26, 2005  

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