Be confident in your decision to dance, concertgoers!

July 11, 2012

Concertgoers: Have confidence in yourselves!

Last weekend I attended the Wilco/Andrew Bird show at Fifth-Third Park in Geneva. It was a lovely night (if a little lacking in the diversity department). The show was general admittance, so when I arrived, I had the option of standing on the field near (or nearish) the stage or sitting in the bleachers, which was what my friends and I opted to do.

People began arriving as early as 4 p.m. to get good parking. The opening act came on at 5:30 and Wilco took the stage at 8, as scheduled. For us early-arrivers, this meant sitting in the sun for nearly four hours before we saw the headliner.

I have been a Wilco fan since their first album came out, but I would never describe the band as “dance music.” You can rock out to some tunes more than others but I never think of “Wilco” and “bands that make you jump out of your chair uncontrollably!” in the same sentence. Maybe that’s just me.

For some reason though, when the song “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart” came on, a small cluster of people below us chose to spring to their feet and lose their minds, whooping it up and raising their beers in the air. This was a little bit strange to me, since the song, while one of my favorites, is, to put it mildly, a bit melancholy and slightly strange.

The really odd thing, though, was that these people kept looking around the rest of us bleacher-sitters and trying to get us to stand up and join them in their revelry. They couldn’t believe that we were just sitting there! We were so unbelievably lame, all of us.

“Come on!” they exhorted us, waving their beers. “Get up and dance!” There were a lot of things I wanted to yell back to these guys: “No!” or “Not to this song!” or “I’m pregnant!” or “I’m hot!” or “You look like an ass!” But just sitting there, swaying and smiling seemed to frustrate them enough.

I’m cool if these guys wanted to dance to the music. That’s what music is for, plus we all paid $50 and drove for a long time to get to the show, so who am I to begrudge anyone from getting their proverbial groove on? By that same token, however, we also paid $50 apiece for the show, drove an hour and a half to get there and wanted to exercise our right not to dance. In fact, my husband and I even read the newspaper through a portion of the show. I maintain you can enjoy live music just as well by reading as by watching the stage, and my dad, who does the crossword while at the Chicago Symphony, will back me up on this.

So my main point is, if you’re a dancer, dance. Dance, as the bumper sticker says, like no one is watching. Because you really shouldn’t need other people’s dancing to validate your own choice to dance. Dance away, friend. But leave me out of it. At least until a different song comes on.