Etiquette At A Neil Young Concert
When Neil Young is Playing, You Shut the Fuck Up
Over the years, we've blogged on numerous occasions about etiquette at a Neil Young concert.
Sit vs Stand.
Smart Phone Etiquette.
Which brings us to last week's run at Carnegie Hall in New York City. The experience was marred for many by the obnoxious behavior of a few at the expense of the many.
Shouted requests. Clapping and singing. Incessant photos and videos and flashes. For the 1st 3 nights of the run this rude, selfish behavior was the norm. But by Friday night the ushers were out in force.
From a comment on Neil Young at Carnegie Hall in New York City - Friday, January 10, 2014 - Show #4 by Alfonz:
Flew in from Austin for the weekend. Fabulous show, fantastic venue. I stayed away from setlists beforehand. Hearing some songs like Someday, Out of My Mind, A Man Needs a Maid, Journey, pump organ Mr Soul, etc. were genuine surprises. Afterwards wished he had played After The Gold Rush and Long May You Run, but that is a minor quibble.Thanks Alfonz!
As for security ... good on them. I loved it. You don't need to take a photo. I guarantee it will be grainy, shit and never looked at in the future.
Regarding some comments above ... people do NOT respect a polite message to refrain. The only thing which kind of works is threat of ejection and security enforcement.
And the individual act of a security guard flashing their light at someone to stop ... that one time might be more distracting(to some, not me) than one photo ... but it stops so many more distracting photos being taken.
I hate what phones have done to the concert going performance. If I was an artist I would go one step further ... give people a grace period of the first 2 songs, and then any photo after that and you are immediately ejected with no warning.
As for post #4 anonymous ... I don't think Neil was cranky at all. You paint the wrong picture of his state of mind. I have never seen him talk to the audience as much, he was very jovial and funny, and it was a pleasant surprise ... as he usually just plays all his songs with little/no verbal interaction with the audience. His little spiels in between songs made the show that much more engaging
That sums it up pretty well. We're in complete disagreement post #4 anonymous and their sense of entitlement and privilege. Yes, h/she paid a lot of money for their ticket but so did everyone else.
Our opinion is that Neil handled all of the disruption appropriately.
Lastly, before the Friday concert, there was an announcement about cell phones being disrespectful to both the artists and audience. The announcement was met by wide applause.
So just remember, When Neil Young is Playing, You Shut the Fuck Up
From FORBES - A Digital-Life Lesson: How Steve Jobs Almost Ruined Neil Young by Todd Essig:
The simple fact is that the mind can’t be in two places at once. Attention is finite, experience bounded. So-called multi-tasking is at best rapid task shifting. We’re always robbing Peter to pay Paul. It’s like the title of the Firesign Theater album popular in 1970 when Neil Young first played Carnegie Hall, “How Can You Be In Two Places At Once When You’re Not Anywhere At All?” When you document rather than fully experience a moment you block your own access to the depths of feeling, memory, and yearning the moment offers. You may think you are augmenting reality. You are not. You are degrading experience. You lose.
When you experience an event through a brightly illuminated screen you are also going to annoy the other people around you. Some people don’t want to be continually distracted by bright rectangular lights prancing around their field of vision. So unless you want to be a selfish jerk, shut it down sometimes.
Finally, there’s respect for the artist. Of course, some “geezer rock” shows really are photo-op celebrations of what once was. Creating a digital monument might actually be the best those moments offer. Nothing wrong with that. I’ve been to some, and will probably go to go to more in the future. But this was not that. This was a real musician (albeit a 68 year old one who has been around for 50+ years) playing real music. The setting announced it: 8 acoustic guitars, a banjo, two pianos, and an old pump organ. Young’s history of unpredictable creativity attested to it. In fact, the only way to miss the creativity of the evening was if you were so busy documenting it that you removed yourself from the actuality of the moment. So, give artists the respect they deserve.
The lesson is this: the next time a program requests you to turn off your phone you might want to actually turn it off. Remember, you, your fellow audience members, and the artists will all be better off if you do.
And if you decide it’s your phone and you’ll do with it whatever you darn well please try to remember that except for your now well-documented bragging rights (“I was there … see!”), you might as well have just stayed home relating to the world through your screens.