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.”
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 – let’s talk about 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 cliches.
“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, exactly. 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. The best advice is to follow this rule: If you think you’re annoying the person next to you, then you almost certainly are.
Photo: Christina Ascani Zach Cordner/Invision/AP/Invision/AP