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September 9, 2008

Are signs at shows cool or annoying?

Picture this: You're standing a dozen rows deep at a Bruce Springsteen show. You paid $100 a seat, and you're standing up, grooving to Rosalita* or some such.

Just then, the chick in front of you whips out a massive "I Love you BRUUUUUCE" sign" and starts waving it around.

Suddenly, your $100 view of the stage is obstructed.

What do you do?

Do you tap the gal on the shoulder and ask her to put the sign down?

Or is holding a sign just like standing up -- something you have to deal with? ...

Personally, I draw the line at signs. Yeah sure, let 'em wave it for a song. They took time and made the thing, blah blah blah.

bruce springsteenBut any more than one song and that sign has to come down. That's my opinion.  

I have a different opinion about standing vs. sitting.

Amie and I were at a Billy Joel show in Washington a couple years ago, towards the back of the Verizon Center.

We stood up and danced to one of the songs, and the middle aged man behind me asked me to sit down.

I turned to face him, and gave him the Evil Eye. Out of courtesy, I sat down for a bit a couple songs later. 

But everybody's got legs, and unless you're going to see something like this live, you had better be prepared to use those legs -- especially if you're rocking out to Billy Joel or Bruce Springsteen.

*I picked Rosalita because that's my personal favorite Springsteen song. I hear he recently tore it up at Hershey Park. 

(AP photos) 

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:49 AM | | Comments (10)
Categories: Local music


Puff the Magic Dragon roxs my soxs.

Badlands is my fave Springsteen song. But I got the chance to see him play The Rising live, and it nearly melted my face.

Anyway, standing is a must at shows, and I'm always frustrated when boring spectators ask you to sit. If you need a special front row seat, then shell out the bucks. I stood at a Clapton show many years back as he was rocking (the song)Cocaine, and was yelled at by some older folks behind me. How can you sit for that song???!!

Absolutley, standing is a must. That's why certain shows (Springsteen, post-Grateful Dead acts, etc.) are so powerful, as everyont is standing. I often buy seats in the last row of a small arena, just so I can stand the whole time without having to deal with the annoying people telling you to sit down.

Signs have popped up a lot lately at Springsteen shows as he is taking requests. But people are pretty respectful, only putting them up between songs.

I haven't really been at a show where signs are a problem. As long as we're telling Springsteen standing stories though, me and the girlfriend both got yelled at, and I do mean yelled at, when we saw him on the Seeger Sessions tour. Probably one of the 4 non We Shall Overcome songs he played was "Dancing in the Dark", which we had to move to, much to the dismay of the older couple behind us.

If you want to sit down the entire show, buy a beach chair and the concert DVD when it comes out. I guarantee you'll get the same experience.

When I was 17, my best friend and I went to see Paul McCartney at Madison Square Garden. We're HUGE Beatles Fans (we'd seen Ringo at Jones Beach earlier that year) and were so excited to FINALLY see our favorite Beatle live.

We were in the first row of the very top section, so about as nosebleed as it gets, but we were having a great time regardless. As soon as we heard the opening notes of "I Saw Her Standing There" we went crazy, and stood up to start dancing. As 17 year olds, we kind of felt like this was OUR song. As soon as we stood up, the 50-somethings behind us started yelling at us to sit down so they could see. Honestly, you could barely see from where we were anyway, but more so than that, I couldn't believe that they were trying to stop us from dancing at a Paul McCartney concert.

Hadn't they danced and gone crazy for The Beatles when they were our age? New Rule: Take the stick out of your behind before heading out to a concert.

We were *on the lawn* at Post Pavillion when a woman asked us to sit down (instead of dancing) because they couldn't see through us.

you are already obstructing my view by standing up. when you go to the myerhoff, they will not allow you to stands and block others view, so if you are at a seated venue, SIT DOWN. if you are at a stadum, stand all day, its good for your legs, but in a seated venue, you should sit.
Frank Zappa was a GREAT on for that. if people couldn't sit and watch his performance, he left the stage, sometimes not to return. i pay good money (or used to until i just got tired of never seeing a whole show because of rude people) to watch a concert, from a chair, if i wanted to stand up, i'd buy lawn seats at merryweather (i always go with pavillion seats.)
at seated concertes, sit down, you know yor mother taught you better than that!! :P

Going to a show at the Meyerhoff is a much different scenario than seeing Springsteen or any rock/pop/hip hop show for that matter. Those performers feed off the crowd and playing for an audience that is just sitting there will result in a weaker show than one for an audience that is standing, excited, and moving to the music. I can understand sitting if you're seeing something that is more subdued (Sigur Ros for example?) but you can't go to a lively performance and expect that you'll be able to see sitting down. If you want to do that, buy a lawn ticket and a blanket and watch from the video screen.

This also drives me crazy at sports events, namely O's games where ushers will yell at you in some areas for standing and cheering on your team. Again, it's not the symphony. If you didn't have excited fans you wouldn't have a team.

They are a tacky, intrusive, annoying, and sometimes, cumbersome rude and personal form of well-meaning enthusiasm, usually unappreciated by others, i.e. me.
Given the current cost of attendance, security should confiscate* them at door. If you just have to bring one wait until the encore or get a seat against the back wall, otherwise only wave them in the parking lot. If I want to see billboards, I'll take parkway, it's cheaper.

Standing gets old real fast if the person in front you feels compelled to and you don’t. Go stand in the moshe pit and let someone else have the seat.

* some places security does, blessed event.

what's happening sam? nice call on rosalita. i listened to it this morning on my drive to work, the ghost of tom joad and american skin on the way home, just for good measure.

now i need to check out down the hatch. any chance of a soiree redux there?

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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