Friday, July 15, 2016

Gimme shelter! Or... don't judge me for being "posh"...

Check out the crowd!  This was post rainstorm.

And this was what the crowd looked like during the rain...

Today's story is going to seem kind of ridiculous to some readers.  Just know that I realize that it sounds ridiculous.  I just feel like venting because I don't have a life and small things annoy me, okay?  Here goes.

Two days ago, Bill and I saw Lizz Wright and Van Morrison in concert.  It was a wonderful show, but the venue we were in had limited seating.  It was also mostly outside, which meant concertgoers were vulnerable to the elements.

Back in April, I decided to spring for the pricey business tickets because they guaranteed a place to sit down under cover.  I didn't know that the business tickets included extra perks.  I thought we were simply paying a lot to sit down.  I was delighted to find out we got extra perks when we got to the concert and were treated to an endless flow of free wine, but I wasn't expecting that.  I thought we were just getting ripped off because we wanted to sit.

Anyway, I wrote about our experience at the concert, and mentioned that I was glad I'd bought the higher priced tickets.  So was Bill.  It rained pretty hard for about ten or fifteen minutes during the warmup act.  Also, Germany is notoriously full of tall people.  Bill and I are short and regularly have trouble seeing through crowds.  Bill has a knee that is a bit arthritic and sometimes causes him pain.  He needs to be able to sit down and I just like having the option.

Someone on Facebook read my writeup and made some comments about how she was glad she "got to" stand up.  She "felt sorry" for people sitting down, since they couldn't dance (tell that to the frenetic leather pantsed guy sitting next to Bill who was "conducting" the whole time).  And tall people weren't a problem for her because she just went around them.

As I was reading her comments, I felt, well... a little annoyed.  Also, I was a little perplexed.  I mean, what difference does it make to her whether I decided to sit or stand?  I mentioned why I was glad we sprang for the seats, but that doesn't mean other people were wrong to stand up if they wanted to.  Van Morrison tickets are expensive.  For some people, standing was their only option.  Others may have wanted to be able to dance (and probably sing) without annoying people around them.  I'm glad they were down there dancing and singing in the "stehplatz" so they didn't get on my nerves.  Whatever their reasons for choosing to stand, more power to 'em.

Unless I'm drunk, I don't actually like to dance that much, but if I had wanted to, I could have gone down to the stehplatz and danced to my heart's content.  No one was stopping the sitters from dancing among the standers.  However, people who paid to stand might have trouble finding places to sit down if the desire arose.  I do like to sing, but I don't do that when I'm at a concert.  I figure people pay good money to hear the artist sing, not me.  When I go to a show, I like sitting down and being quiet.

I noticed that a lot of the Germans sitting among us in the stands seemed to feel similarly about sitting down and listening, an attitude that I find lacking at a lot of American concert venues.  Back in 2003, Bill and I saw James Taylor in concert at the Nissan Pavilion in Bristow, Virginia.  We spent the entire concert tolerating two very drunk women in front of us, standing up, blocking our view, singing at the top of their lungs, and practically creaming themselves every time James sang a song that deeply touched them (and it seemed like every song "touched them" somehow).  I have never seen that behavior at the concerts I've been to in Germany.  I appreciate those who are considerate to other concertgoers.

My lack of height can be a real challenge here in Germany when there are crowds.  I'm only 5'2".  Bill is 5'7".  A lot of Germans are over six feet tall and quite a few are large to boot.  It would have been hard for me to see the artists on stage if I'd been standing by the stage.  And really, "free" wine is always a plus, even if it doesn't really add up to paying over 100 euros more for a ticket.  I'll do it again, though, if I can afford it.  I like being posh.  And while Bill hasn't always been posh, he's definitely taken to it like a duck to water since he's been around me.  ;-)

Here's another thing.  The rain didn't go on all night-- thankfully-- but it did go on long enough so that many of the people who were standing probably got wet.  There was some shelter available, but not enough for the whole crowd.  If it rains for ten minutes, you can still get soaked, despite having an umbrella or a cheap rain poncho (they were throwing them to people who wanted them).  Who wants to stand at a concert soaking wet for three hours?  That might be cool if you're in your teens or your twenties, but I would not have enjoyed it.  For some reason, July this year has been unseasonably cool and it was chilly on Wednesday night.  I would not have wanted to be cold and wet during Van's concert.

Count me as one of the people who will always wimp out and pay more for a seat under cover.   My days of roughing it are long over.  Having once spent three days riding a bus from Yerevan to Istanbul and spending weeks with no electricity and years with no hot water, I've definitely been there and done that.  I've been cold, hungry, wet and tired.  I am now ready to embrace comfort for as long as I can.  ;-)

I asked Bill what he thought about this person's comments and we both figured that maybe she was jealous.  Maybe she thought I was picking on the standers or bragging about the higher priced tickets.  I included the information about buying the business tickets because I thought maybe some readers in the area might wonder what one gets for paying a lot more money.  For some people, having a seat is worth it.  For others, it's not.  Different strokes, right?

On a related note, I'm kind of proud of myself for not engaging with this person longer than I needed to.  At an earlier time, when I was younger, cheaper, and more volatile, I might have gotten into a full on debate about this.  But I just realized that these were just random comments from someone that I didn't necessarily need to respond to.

What matters is that it was a great show and we both agreed that we had a great time.  Being at that concert in Stuttgart, looking at the gorgeous architecture of the Schlossplatz, listening to great musicians, and bonding with Germans also enjoying the show made me so happy and grateful to get to live near Stuttgart again.  I'll stay as long as they let me!    

Glad I was sitting down for this.


  1. I went to a James Taylor concert on Wednesday.

    I'm annoyed by those who stand in front of others who are seated at concert events,

    1. My very first rock concert was a JT show. It was 1990 and tickets were less than $20.


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