An Open Letter to Those Concert Attendees over 40 in the Row In Front of Me

Soon I will be one of you, in age but hopefully not in spirit. I am a huge fan of live music; if I do not attend at least six shows a year I feel as though there is something lacking in my life. I love music; I have hundreds of CDs, I do not discount any type of music, I feel as though music is a soundtrack to life, and songs bring back memories better than photographs or scents. I hear a song and I am transported to middle school, to the beach, to my trip to Italy, to when I first fell in love with my husband. A song reminds me of a meal, a friend, a relative, a city. The concert experience intensifies that; surrounded by people just as fanatical as I, we singing in unison, cheering until we go hoarse, bonded by the song.

Friday night we attended the same concert, The Dixie Chicks. You may be a new fan of them, heard about them on NPR for their anti-Bush statement a few years ago, their views on the war. You may have been surprised to find that a country music group with a name like that could have the same liberal or Democratic or peace-loving views as you. You may have gone and bought their CD, or downloaded a dong or two to your iPod to play alongside Peter, Paul and Mary or Bob Dylan. You found that they have catchy tunes along with their cerebral thoughts. What a novel idea you think as you bob your head off-beat.

I on the other hand have been a fan since they came out, liking their lyrics, their music, and yes, I liked their look. I went through a Country phase right when they came on the scene. This is my third concert. I have stayed a fan because of how they have grown, how they have not feared losing fans for being true to their beliefs. I have all their CDs, and yes I will admit that they are my “friend” on MySpace.

When you asked me to shut up because concerts are about listening, not chatting I was okay with that. Yes, the BRIEF conversation was about the song, but okay, you wanted to hear the lyrics or the violin solo. I am okay with that. However when you three kept wiggling your fingers in your ears when we would cheers, scream and whoop after a song, I started to get annoyed. When you commented to one another that you paid to hear the Chicks sing and not me and my two friends, I got angry. When you, yes you fat lady with the chin hair and ugly haircut commented to your friend how obnoxious and rude we were, well I am sorry, you pushed me over the edge. I had to say something to you. And when you pretended that at this one moment out of the two hours where you were complaining that you couldn’t HEAR ME, well you made me want to take revenge. If you couldn’t hear me, then maybe I needed to bend down closer to you and sing a little louder, cheer a little harder and bring out my piercing whistle that I only do at concerts and when trying to find my dog when he got out of the yard.

If you want silence, listen to your CD at home. You shall not find silence, decorum and politeness at a stadium concert. Emily commented to the crowd that the band was performing that night to their largest audience ever. EVER. They sang well-known radio ditties and often turned the microphone toward the audience. This was not to listen to the sound of silence, but to have the audience sing along. For a true fan knows the words, and a true fan knows that the band loves the sound of excited fans. If the Dixie Chicks didn’t want screaming, yelping, hollering, standing up and singing along, they would perform at coffee shops or not tour at all. So by you sitting with your legs crossed and your hands folded in your lap, gently bobbing your head to the music you have heard from the first time, you were not showing more respect than my friends and I. You were just being my biggest fear in life – an old fuddy-duddy who ruins the good times of those around him.

You suck.


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