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June 3, 2009

Revisiting my thoughts on standing up at shows

crowd shotSince posting my uncharacteristically snarky bit about standing up during a slow song at a Billy Joel concert, I've thought a lot about what I wrote and how I feel about standing up at shows.

A lot of you frowned on what I said, and after re-reading it, you're right -- I come off as a jerk.

We paid for those seats, and if we wanted to stand, we were going to stand whenever we wanted. Is that rude? Maybe. But I don't care.

That's a rude exaggeration of how I really feel, and I'm sorry I wrote it like that. What I should have written was this ...

I see both sides to the stand up/sit down argument. We paid for those seats, and if we wanted to stand, we were going to stand whenever we wanted. On the other hand, they paid for their seats, and deserve a clear view of the stage.

Each situation is different, depending on who the act is and what the venue is. But standing up for one slow song and swaying romantically with your date isn't so bad. Waving a big sign and/or standing up through every slow song of the night when everybody around you is seated? That's rude.

So again, I'm sorry for coming off so self-centered. As longtime readers of Midnight Sun know, I'm not a malicious or self-serving person, even though that one paragraph made me sound like it. 

Oh, and if you're wondering about the black and white photo above, it's from the Beatles' show at the Baltimore Civic Center in 1964.


(Photo from Sun archives)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 1:44 PM | | Comments (17)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Local music


that is a great picture, it's crazy to think that could've and probably was our parents or some of the leaders of our neighborhood associations, lol!

You must have been bombarded with nasty grams to have retracted your original comment =)

Sam - I believe everyone in that picture are seated in their seats, you jerk.

I was going to have an opinion on this, but then realized it was about attending a Billy Joel concert.

My question would have been is more polite to hang yourself or slit your wrists.

Does that old guy have his hands over his ears?

Only an ignorant jerk who cares about noone but himself would stand and block the view of those seated behind him! PERIOD!!!

WHAT is with all of the name-calling? All you guys talk about having "common courtesy" but clearly lack it. THAT is being a hypocrite.

Please see my comment under the original post. And then go read a kindergarden book on how to talk to other people.

it's not a concert unless you're standing

The Photo, the was time that was know as Beatlemania with wild and crazed youth and their better socially behaved, except for the screaming, which drove them bonkers because they couldn't hear themselves play most of the time. If you went to one of their concerts then you knew up front that was part of the deal.


Unfortunately not all is sweetness and light when passionate opinions are expressed. You are not exempt, just more genteel with your modest degree of righteous outrage. It is true that several of the postings would have benefited from exercising some editing and self censuring but deliberation is largely lacking in most blogs as most people write and post on the fly. This lot actually is much better behaved than some blogs I’ve seen. I assume if they weren’t they wouldn’t have passed moderation.

I am more horrified that you went to a Billy Joel concert and admitted it in public. wow. ewwww.

But seriously, while I agree with the heat you've gotten, I also think that your attitude on standing could have been more accepted at other shows. In my experience, if you're going to a show with an older crowd, people are not going to stand (nor should they have to if they have seats), and are much more likely to be angry about standing people. Not to say that all the people at Billy Joel were geriatrics or anything, but you really have to consider who is around you, most importantly. Just be nice.

"it's not a concert unless you're standing" then why pay for seats? Rip them seats out and get more standing bodies in there... packed like sardines.

Hey Sam, I think it's awesome that you send your girlfriend Amie to fight for you. Way to man up! Hey Amie, would you be willing to trade Sam for a pack of cigarettes?

kelvin, your name is kelvin? like the unit of measuring temperature? Neeeeeeeeeeeeeerd.

kelvin, you personify the word "idiot"

My mother was at the Beatles concert pictured above, and the two main things she remembered were: 1) she couldn't hear a thing, and 2) everyone eventually stood on top of their seats.

I was actually restraining myself when I wrote my original piece and I don't take a word of it back. It took a lot of thought and time to compose and was not rushed. I certainly don't consider myself an "internet toughguy" as I was called, because I'm not a toughguy in the least. I just know what good manners are, and I expect them from others when I choose to leave my home.

Amie, how could you ever ask anyone to take you to a Billy Joel concert? Were you testing Sam's gag reflex? Is that some type of new sadistic dating ritual I haven't heard of? At what point in the mating schedule is he asked to go to a bagpipe concert? Still it's curious to see you post here with your obvious bias. What is that thing that contest rules always state? It's usually something about "relatives and employees of so and so being ineligible to participate". So cute seeing you rush to his defense like a mom defending her son from a bully in the 4th grade. I'm really not criticizing you here or trying to be hurtful, I'm simply just making an observation and telling you how it comes off as appearing to me. Let Sam be a man and fight his own fights.

I agreed very much with another respondent to the original post. The reply about Sam sounding so much like a Baltimore cliche when he was talking about cold microbrews, friends, and corner bars. When I originally read that line as Sam wrote it, I also thought to myself that the only thing he left out of the statement was telling us the bar was in Canton (even if the bar's zip code was Highlandtown, of course we all know that's still Canton right?). You guys just gotta do what's cool to do whether you like it or not, don't ya?

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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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