The Evolution of Concert-Going: John Mayer Edition

My first time seeing John Mayer live was back in 2002 and a virtually unknown band known as Maroon 5 opened the show.

Friday marked my 11th year of seeing the pop-blues-jazz musician at the very venue where I popped my John Mayer cherry, The Comcast Theater in Hartford Connecticut.

The evolution of concert crowds could take a week’s worth of blog posts. For the most part, the demographics vary depending on a number of things: the genre of music, the popularity of the artist/band.  In short, it seems that as I get older, John Mayer’s fans get younger and with that grows a lack of old-fashioned concert-going respect.  While I appreciate that a younger generation appreciates the music of an extremely talented artist, I found it slightly irritating- well, maybe hugely irritating- that concerts (not just John Mayer) have become a cesspool of “cool kids” unknowingly or knowingly, depending on the level of “cool”, talking and screaming throughout an entire show.

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John Mayer, despite a less than average reputation among those who are not fans, is a blessed guitarist and was given the gift of creating beautifully deep, relatable and oftentimes sad lyrics. There is no Justin Bieber in his blood which draws women in the masses screaming for his hand in marriage. And despite his short-lived fling with country star Taylor Swift, he does not possess the raw talent to assault eardrums with cheesey lovesick tunes and atypical pop beats. I do beg you to try his music and ignore everything you know about Your Body is a Wonderland20130817_243

So why was I surrounded by screaming, drunk off their parents’ liquor stash teenagers on Friday? My friend Chris and I were able to move up close and by the second song descended defeated to find a spot on the lawn. The two girls next to us were screaming the lyrics so loud that people from two rows ahead were turning around in confusion. In all honestly we had a hard time hearing John Mayer.

Now I’m not saying you need to keep quiet! Hell, I get down at my shows and sing along to myself and clap and shout when the time calls for it. There is a serious difference between respectful concert-going and being brusque and ill-mannered to the people who are trying to actually watch the show- especially the jamming! Um hello, those jam sessions are usually the best parts to shut up at, the best times to watch and listen to all the awe-inspiring strums and wails.

By all means, continue the party. Before and after the show I want to see tailgating, I want to cheers to fellow fans in excitement and I want to meet new people. But I don’t want to hear what your plans are after the show while the show is still going on.

20130817_244Just last week I was reading a discussion on Facebook about this very topic. A popular fan page for Phish had posted a status about whether or not excessive talking during shows is appropriate or whether it is rude. Majority seemed to have sided with the page’s views that yelling and screaming is not only impolite but it resembles the type of fan you really are to the band you are in attendance for. A handful fought back with arguments that concerts, more than anything else, is an occasion in which talking whenever is acceptable.

John Mayer’s show, per usual, was an amazing array of old and new songs. His new album, Paradise Valley, which was written with the influences of the Grateful Dead at heart and in mind, drops tomorrow.

So what do you think? Take the poll below!

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The JM ’13 crew!