Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Monday, July 14, 2008

Concert in the Park (2)

There are two types of people: those who come into a room and say, "Well, here I am!" and those who come in and say, "Ah, there you are."
-Frederick L. Collins

Whenever Spouse and I go to concerts- whether they are of our favourite singers or strangers to our ears- we enjoy listening to the original songs of that particular person.
Nothing so strange about that, one would say, unless, of course, they happen to be an entertainer best known for their ambitious recitals of others' work, which falls into a different category altogether.
It so happens that during our recent venture to see Lucinda Williams, an exceptional number of people spent an inordinate amount of time requesting the songs of other musicians.
"Pink Floyd!" some fellow shouted many a time.
"Tom Petty!"
"Neil Young!"
I was unable to hear some of the other requests but am confident that they followed a similar pattern.
Those people asked, it seemed, for everybody but Lucinda herself, which was not the object of her intentions, and they had made their annoyance obvious as she attempted to carry on with her music.
I myself had no notion of just how distressing the scene was for those personally involved, and while I considered the actions similar to an itch that would soon dissipate, Lucinda was growing ever more bothered.
When she vanished for a few moments at the end of a song, a growing murmur of confusion spread across the audience.
She emerged minutes later and announced, to everyone's astonishment, that the incessant calling for other songs was affecting her, the band, and therefore the entire night.
She stated in a level tone that it was not easy to stand up there and sing when people obviously longed for something else.
So, she added, voice gaining a distinct edge, she hoped that people had not come to the concert searching for a different kind of music. Those that had, she insisted, could leave if they wanted to.
"Go. Just go," she urged the heckling few, the ones that had plagued her for songs she had not written and which the rest of us had not paid money to hear.
I wonder why it is that anybody would attend a Lucinda Williams concert and howl at the singer for non-Lucinda tunes.
That is akin to entering a seafood restaurant and demanding a hamburger, and becoming outraged at the results.
Mater is fortunate enough to be readying herself for a Tom Waits concert at the end of the month. I, who would have been there in a flash were it at all feasible, have tried in vain to picture my mother tutting and mumbling, arms folded, cross and unhappy when Tom Waits stubbornly refuses to sing the old Irish dance hall numbers that she knew as a youngster.
Mater would never consider such a thing, both due to her fine manners and to the fact that she wants only to hear the music of Tom Waits, as promised.


Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Having been to concerts where similar numbskulls and nitwits were in attendance, I can sympathize with your discomfort. Bravo to Lucinda for facing them down. And, I must say, I can only imagine how delightful it must be to have a mother who goes to Tom Waits concerts!
By the way, you stopped by tonight and queried me on Jonathan Strange....I just had to come by and say that, YES, I adore that book! One of the most inventive things I've read in years!

Beth said...

I am so distressed that there were hecklers at a Lucinda Williams concert--what kind of people would heckle someone with such beautiful gentle tunes? I am very glad that she faced them down--good for her. I like the idea of a kind, gentle folk singer standing up to the Pink Floyd gang.

Pappy said...

Too bad Pappy wasn't there with the old "Billy". Couple of well placed shots and on with the concert. I abhor boorish people in public venues. I have quieted a few in my day. Glad Lucinda silenced them. Hope Mater enjoys her concert - I think I would enjoy that also. Pappy

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Pamela, you said it very well ;) She was brave to do what she did.
I do wish I could see Tom Waits but it'll be enough to know I know someone who went :(
I can't praise Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell highly enough. I've raved about it many times on this blog.

Beth, I don't know what kind of people they are. I don't understand it. I prefer her slow, gentle songs- I read afterward on a forum that someone also shouted at her to pick up the pace.

Texican, Oh, if only you'd been there ;) That would have sorted them.
"On with the concert"- how funny, but sometimes you need to stand up to them.

tangobaby said...

The lack of manners of some people is simply astonishing to me. Some people were definitely raised by wolves.

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Tangobaby, I'd agree except that it's insulting to wolves ;)
I don't know where these people come from or how they have such an obvious lack of etiquette.

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