It’s “you make a better door than a window” vs. “get up and party to show the band you care.”
Right about this time every year, in the midst of the uber-hectic summer concert season, the gloves come off between two camps of diehard concertgoers: the sitters and the standers.
The sitters argue they’ve paid good money for seats (and at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, they even bring their own seats, standing in line with them sometimes for hours before a show) and they’d like to use them.
The standers argue: “It’s a rock concert, for cryin’ out loud, so act like it by standing up and dancing and cheering and doing what the bands on stage hope you do.”
Usually, it all sort of works itself out between these two armies, with the standers occupying the pit in front of the stage and the sitters sitting farther back to see over the heads of these bobbing partyers.
But for the first time that I can remember at Meijer Gardens, at the recent Fiona Apple show, there was some real animosity expressed between these folks who butted heads, figuratively, over their “rights,” even getting security guards involved at one point. (Read the Fiona Apple show review here.)
Often, the “go with the flow” approach seems best – when the crowd stands for a particularly rousing tune, you stand.
If it’s a more serene show, folks sit or stand to the side.
As a writer, I prefer sitting because I’m taking notes and I was lucky enough at the Apple show to have a clear sightline to the stage from my chair. But fellow music critic John Serba from MLive.com and The Grand Rapids Press had “standers” in front of him. Still, he handled it quite tactfully by moving to the center aisle to stand up so he could see the show but still avoid blocking the view of those behind him. Ah, what a gentleman.
So what’s the solution? And what about those folks who physically can’t stand up for a two-hour show for whatever reason?
Here are some comments posted recently on my Facebook site from those on both sides of the debate. And just think, this doesn’t even get into the “truly rude” factor of folks who scream at inappropriate times during pristine moments, spill beer on their neighbors and generally act like louts.
NL: “An easy way to solve that problem: Stand! … You can’t control the crowd. You can only control you. If people in front of me are standing, I’ll stand. If they sit, I’ll sit. Go with the flow instead of screaming at people to ‘Sit down!’ It’s taking a great experience away from everyone around you.”
MP: “If you have to stand, please respect those that want to sit and stand in the back. Just another reason I go to fewer concerts (besides the cost) is the fact that audiences are so disrespectful to each other. I have no problem with people standing as long as those behind them can see. You’re sharing the space: Be respectful.”
BH: “Be respectful, but if you wanna rock out, then rock out! If I wanna sit down at a concert, I will buy reserved seats or sit far back. … The way to resolve the issue with Meijer Gardens seating is have the section in front of the stage be standing only. I’ve seen bands complain about people sitting down in the front, because they were blocking the ones who want to dance and stand in the front.”
SL: “I think at music venues that offer a seated section as well as general admission, buy the general admission ticket if you want to stand, and don’t stand right in front of someone who paid for their seat. The Gardens is a tough call, because it offers a more casual, family-friendly atmosphere where many people appreciate relaxing on blankets and chairs to enjoy the show. That said, we brought chairs to Fiona Apple’s show and ditched them to stand in the front section, which doesn’t inhibit other’s view in the seated section.”