The job of a live-music critic is to find fault with concerts when faults are there.
Therefore, if I complain about someone like Selena Gomez relying too heavily on backup singers and backing tracks – like I did earlier this week – it’s mainly because I feel that’s something her fans might (or should) be complaining about, too.
This is the part where a whole bunch of you step back and go, “Selena Gomez?? That’s not real music. Why don’t you branch out and write about some of the great local acts we have here?”
Then her fans retort: “Selena IS real music. You’re just jealous because she’s beautiful and you’re not.”
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And the rest of you are thinking, “Who is Selena Gomez? You all need to get a life!”
Now, if everybody is in an appropriately crabby and finger-pointing mood, we can proceed – first with five of the most annoying types of major touring acts.
1. The ones who make you wait. My ticket says 7 p.m. Your opening acts were fine, but it’s now 9:45 and my cellphone is dying and I’m thinking about how early I have to get up tomorrow. I mean, what, are you busy catching up on “Game of Thrones” back there, or can we get on with this thing already?
2. The ones with bad sound engineers. OK, you’ve done this hundreds of times in dozens of cities. Plus, you’ve been here all day and I assume have done a sound check. So why does every word that comes out of your mouth sound like the adults in the old “Peanuts” cartoons?
3. The ones with the endless stream of clichés. “This is no joke, you guys are the best crowd we’ve had on this tour.” “How’s everybody on this side? And how’s everybody on this side??” “CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINAAAAAA! YEEEEEEEEAAHHHHHH!!”
4. The ones who can’t resist the urge to play you a brand-new song. I know you get tired of playing your biggest hits. The thing is, we don’t get tired of hearing them. One might even say we paid good money to hear them. We love you. But when we hear you say, “I wanted you guys to be among the first to hear this one,” we will go to the bathroom or get another beer.
5. The ones who cancel over House Bill 2. We’ve been over this before, but in short: Political statements are fine; I’d just prefer you make them here.
Of course, the other thing that can make or break a concert experience is, well, us. And so here are five of the most annoying types of fans I routinely see at big shows.
1. The ones who treat themselves to seat upgrades. Technically, it’s a violation of venue policy. But that’s not my main issue. My main issue is, I know, from experience, that if you’re the type who will move into better seats just because they’re empty, you’re the type who will also engage in some other type of annoying behavior once you’re sitting in them. Such as...
2. The ones who sing along too loudly and too drunkenly. A little singing is acceptable. Shouting the words at the top of your lungs will make me pull out what little hair I have on my head.
3. The ones who can’t stop taking selfies. This is just a guess, but I’ll bet your friends on Snapchat don’t care to see a video clip of you bobbing your head to the music, and that your Instagram followers aren’t impressed just because you captured your wide-eyed, wide-mouthed mug in the same frame as a blurry singer or guitarist. Plus, everyone here thinks you look like a tool.
4. The ones who are really tall. Yeah, I guess you’re right, that’s awfully heightist. But then how about this: The ones who climb on their boyfriends’ shoulders on the lawn at amphitheater shows, the ones who hold up cellphone cameras to get shots from the highest angle possible, and the ones who hold up big signs. You know what, ma’am? I can’t see through poster board, and no, the lead singer won’t marry you.
5. The ones who ignore the no-smoking signs. You just want to take a few quick puffs, right? And, I mean, who’s going to narc on you? But please. Keep it in your pants. As with all of these things, the best advice is to follow this rule: If you think you’re annoying the person next to you, then you almost certainly are.