My Thoughts on Concert Etiquette: Part II

General, Uncategorized — By on April 19, 2012 8:28 am

It has been two years since I last posted my pet peeves on concert etiquette or lack thereof.

In the good news department, I have been to more than a few concerts in that time span and all in all, I haven’t encountered too many displays of egregious behavior by concert goers.

In the bad news department, there are still some people out there who have yet to understand that the purpose of a concert is for everyone in the room to be able to both see and hear what is going on onstage and to actually be able to enjoy the performances. So, to that select group who still need that gentle reminder of how to behave at a public performance, I address this post to you. Please read it, memorize it and repeat it to yourself on your way to your next concert so that the rest of us can enjoy the show.

1) Barring extenuating circumstances, do not bring your four year old to a concert that starts at 7:45, unless they are well rested and truly capable of sitting through a three hour show. Sadly, we all know that the 7:45 start time is just a suggestion and only the truly compulsive or relatives of the performers will be there on time, which means chances are good this concert will continue until close to 11 PM. When you see a four year old, sucking her thumb, trying to fall asleep, it doesn’t reflect well upon you as a parent. When you see a parent cajoling their preschooler to get up and dance in order to stay awake, it doesn’t cast you in a good light either. Hire a babysitter, corral a relative to take your kid for the night, but for heaven’s sake, leave her home. And if you insist on bringing your preschooler please tell her to keep her hands out of my sheitel!

2) Do not go visiting friends in the middle of a singer’s set. It disrespects both the singer and everyone around you. Either converse in silence via text message, go outside or wait until intermission.

3) If you really feel the need to talk to your neighbor during the concert, try to use your “indoor” voice. Similarly, there is never a reason to scream and cheer loudly during a concert no matter who is on stage. This isn’t color war, so let’s try to muster up some decorum, shall we?

4) While bochurim dancing in the aisles is de rigueur at concerts, girls dancing in the aisles is totally unacceptable. Reality check: this isn’t about equality. This is a public place, not sleep-away camp or seminary. Sit down, show respect for other audience members who would like you to remember the meaning of the word “tznius”, try to locate some class and dignity and act like a lady.

5) As for groups of girls who feel the need to sing loudly during a concert, see above.

6) While I know that traffic and other circumstances can sometimes be out of your control, don’t come at 8:45 or 9:15 for a concert with a 7:30 start time. Wait until between sets or at least between songs to find your seats because it disrupts everyone around you.

7) Just as a reminder, people plunk down nice chunks of change to attend a concert. If you are screaming, standing in the aisles, cheering or doing anything other than sitting in your seat and clapping politely, you are preventing other people from doing what they paid good money to do: enjoying a performance.

8) Keep the aisles clear. Don’t put your baby stroller in the aisle. In fact, leave the baby at home! (See number one, above.) It doesn’t matter if people onstage are tossing out t-shirts, beach balls or hundred dollar bills. Do not stand in the aisles. Not only is it a fire hazard, but you are blocking the view of the people all around you and while they are probably too polite to say anything, I am not.

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15 Comments

  1. annette says:

    working in concerts & sitting in the audience, allow me to respond:

    1. I totally agree! I can’t begin to tell you how often I am asked: HOW MUCH FOR A 3 YR OLD? DO I REALLY NEED TO GET HER A TIX? People, these concerts aren’t for kids younger than 6 or 7. Aside from the late hour, the noise level is really not good for baby ears (It’s not good for adult ears either, but that’s a different matter. The young’ns are usually fidgety & will kick the back of the seat in front of them as a way to amuse themselves, or get their sticky icky hands all over the hair/sheital in front of them. Finally, & most importantly – this also is not a playground or a gym – DO NOT ALLOW YOUR TODDLERS TO RUN AROUND BY THEMSELVES!!!!
    2. Agreed. But if you must go friend hopping, please do so quietly & scoot all the way down so that you don’t block the people trying to watch what is going on onstage.
    3. RE screaming – Sorry, I am guilty of this one. As a parent of a choir boy, I am very excited to finally see the final product. Besides, my son does see me & hears me & performs much better when he sees & hears my vocal support. I do apologize to the people around me but once they hear that the soloist is my baby, then they get in on the act & start hooting & hollering as well. Come on, it’s fun! These concerts aren’t operas or symphonies. But if it ever happens that my son should perform in one, I would hoot & hollar juts as well!
    4. I agree. Girls, we have the zchus of being the emulators of Tznius, of modesty. It’s not a feminist issue of equality. It doesn’t look right for you to be jumping up & down singing & dancing. It also doesn’t really look right for you to be calling out boys names who aren’t your brothers/sons/uncles/husbands. Save that for the mommies like me!
    5. see above
    6. In the theater like Broadway, or the Opera (both of which I have been to), once the show reaches a certain time, the ushers don’t seat you until intermission, no matter your excuse or how much money you paid for your seat or who you are. I really feel that Jewish concerts should hold by that as well. enough with the Jewish Standard Time thing! If we show that it will not be condoned then the people will realize that in the future. Do airlines hold the planes for you because you got into traffic bec you didn’t plan out your day better? no! ans the same goes for concerts. If you come at least a 1/2 -45 min late, you should be made to wait till intermission to go to your seat.
    7. see above comments
    8. First off, almost all the concert halls I have been to do not allow strollers, baby carriges or even infant carriers inside the theatre; you must leave them either in the car or by the box office. they are a fire hazzard & are not allowed in the aisles. Security even gives wheelchairs a problem if they are sticking out too much on the side aisles.
    There – I responded.

  2. Kol Isha says:

    Disagree on the screaming thing. When my son is up there, I want to hear him singing, not people shouting his name! When you spend well over $100 to take your family to a concert, you want to hear a concert, not be in the middle of color war!! And as for the stroller thing, there was one in the aisle at a concert that I was at on Chol Hamoed…(ahem, ahem…) Right in front near the stage, actually. What really amazed me was not the kids standing in the aisles, but the adults as well!!

  3. annette says:

    the daytime concerts are more, shall we say, “heimish” & allow things like that. Not so in the nighttime concerts. I dont think it happened at any of the concerts I was at. In regards to the shouting-in my past life I used to attend Goyishe concerts. Trust me when I say that what goes on at Yiddushe concerts with the shouting is nothing compared to one of those concerts. People get excited & show it in different ways. I truly can’t help myself & I usually sit with same like people that understand my over enthusiasm. I was recently at another concert where I didn’t have anyone performing & I sat & watched & saw other parents showing their enthusiasm. It was quite fun to watch. It’s innocent & doesn’t really hurt anyone.

  4. Kol Isha says:

    Would you like me to tell which concert I was at where there was a stroller parked in the aisle about five feet from the stage??

    And the shouting may not hurt anyone, but you don’t think it takes away from the music? I do!

  5. annette says:

    if you can tell me which nite it was that would help.

    and i really don’t think it takes away from the performance. the performers feed off from it & perform much better with it

  6. kuppy says:

    kol isha is back bigger and more strict then ever WELCOME BACK

  7. Kol Isha says:

    Tuesday night. And the screaming may work well for the performers, but not so for the audience.

  8. Kol Isha says:

    Thanx! I generally try to keep my comments to myself but in this case I just couldn’t help myself.

  9. annette says:

    Kol Isha, was it in NJ? or elsewhere?

    As I was saying to a friend of mine regarding this issue, the performers can tell if the energy in the audience is on a high or on a low. this isn’t a movie or a broadway show where you have to be silent till the end & then applaud, or a piano bar or blues show with one performer playing & at the end show gentle applause. people who generally come to these shows know what to expect in terms of the yelling & calling out. The goyishe concerts (which i used to go to in my previous life) are alot worse. Im not making any comparisons L’Hav dil. but what we are doing is good clean fun.

  10. Kol Isha says:

    The concert was in New Jersey and you and I were both there even if we never found each other. And I don’t agree that people who come to concerts expect yelling and calling out. That is like saying that people expect teenagers to be rude because some are. Or that people expect talking in Shul because there are those who do. People do it? Yes, they do. That doesn’t mean that everyone finds that it enhances the experience and while I may be the only one saying it in a public forum I know that I am not the only one who feels this way. I understand the exuberance. But I think that it expressing it in that manner detracts from the listening experience. I don’t doubt that anyone who engages in vigorous vocal cheering means it as anything other than expression of support but I felt the need to point out that not everyone views it that way.

  11. Abe says:

    I agree with basically everything that was said and I definately hear two sides in the screaming debate. I think I have a simple way to decide if it’s okay to scream. If the person sitting next to you is cheering; you can cheer. If your neighbor says something, don’t give them a nasty look or comment, rather realize that they paid also and remain polite throughout the evening. If the person does not give any hints whatsoever to how he/she feels, then you can ask politely, or you can cheer to a normal degree just don’t over do it. If your waving your hands, under all circumstances keep them away from others and their view!

  12. author says:

    As someone who enjoys going to concerts, but does not have a brother, father, son, nephew, uncle, cousin on the stage, I’ll just say the cheering always feels like I’m stuck at a summer camp.

    It doesnt have to be a funeral, but its very annoying when I’m ready for the singer to start another song, and he is trying to say something and people are screaming from the back “SHLOMOOOOOOOO SHLOOOOOOOMO SHLOOOOOOOOMO. WHOAH WHOWOWHOW!!!!!” ….

    As for the families of those on stage, whether its a choir, teenager or adult on stage, the time for support is by rehearsel, or at home, or before the show starts.

  13. Kol Isha says:

    Why does WordPress not have a like button?

  14. SPLASHNEWS says:

    Hey, great article! I also hear both sides of the screaming argument but I think it’s okay to cheer as long as it doesn’t get out of hand. A person has to know his limits. If you wanna cheer, okay, but not screaming and not the whole show! I was at a concert recently and the two guys behind me were yelling snappy comments. At first I got a kick out of it but then, they would not shut up!

  15. Joel says:

    Well said!

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