But what do you do? Especially at bigger shows that seat 15,000. You can't really dance. What do you do when the Stones or the Eagles or even U2 announce, "We'd like to play a brand new song for you...."? And you've never heard the fucking thing before, you don't know whether to sit or stand, and more than likely that's when everyone heads to the concession stand for another $7 beer.
The best shows I've ever been to were at the Zoo Bar in Lincoln, especially when the Self Righteous Brothers played there in the late '90's. Small stage, small venue, everybody got smashed and got up and danced and had the time of their lives. If the SRB's had ever gotten so big they could play the Qwest, I can't imagine what Billy C and Stevie P would do in the lower level. Callahan would probably just call for a fake punt.
Eric Clapton, Billy Joel, Bob Seger, Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera , John Mayer and Nickelback are all playing the Qwest in the upcoming months. In the past few years, the "Q" as those who don't read the Omaha World Herald call it, has had record sellout crowds for Paul McCartney, the Stones, U2, the Eagles, Prince and Simon and Garfunkel. Plus Eddie Van Halen played there drunk off his ass back in 2004, but if Valerie Bertanelli left you, half of your tongue was gone, and you had to share a stage with Sammy Hagar in Omaha, you'd get your Goose on too. The Qwest Center aint the Zoo Bar, I can't dance with honeys while doing shots of whiskey with the band, and Eddie never shares anyway.
Having been to a number of these shows (and I'll admit it, I'm probably going to see Seger only because he's better live than in the studio and I'm a sucker for "Ramblin Gamblin Man"), there's a new etiquette to attending concerts:
- Bring a woman. It's the perfect date night. Every act has a few ballads that chicks are suckers for (See: Clapton, Eric, "Wonderful Tonight"; Joel, Billy, "She's Got a Way"). I'm sure Callahan and Pederson brought their wives to the Stones. If they didn't, we should all be very afraid.
- Go to the show having already crafted the perfect buzz. "Prime" somewhere if you will. Don't go in shitfaced, but certainly don't walk into a place that's more than likely going to run the gamut of 5-65 year olds stone cold sober. Oh, and order a couple of drinks before finding your seat. Some of these shows run 3-hours -- remember the theory regarding the new songs nobody gives a shit about. That's when you go for more.
- Cell phones have replaced lighters for the "Free Bird" moment, which means it's probably a good thing everyone from Lynard Skynard is dead. Word is Keith Richards is really pissed off about this because he thinks everyone is just taking his picture. If people really wanted a picture of a dead man, they'd just go to the morgue.
- This isn't fucking church or a Husker game. You and everyone else has the right to stand the entire time if you so desire. I don't care if people behind you bitch. Stones and McCartney tickets went for over $300 face value. At that price, I'm going up there to play a drum solo if I want. As Mick Jagger would say, it's only rock and roll. Short of going Altamont and the Hell's Angels, almost any behavior is acceptable. If somebody wants to sit on their ass during "Helter Skelter" and you're blocking their view, that's what Paul Thomas Anderson would call a TP (Their problem), not a YP (your problem).
- Speaking of which, the older touring acts seem to bring out the reefer in folks. My favorite story is from an Eagles show at the Bob Devaney Center in Lincoln in January, 1995, when an older couple in the 3rd row behind us literally passed around a joint the entire show. It got to the point that during an instrumental portion of "Boys of Summer", Glenn Frey walked up to Don Henley, and I could read their lips plain as day, and said, "I smell pot." They both looked at each other like they wished they had some too. Like I said, anything goes. But there is the possibility that some "Husker Fan" could rat you out. Hasn't happened at the Qwest Center on my watch yet. And there was no rat that night in Lincoln either.
- In some cases (i.e., Billy C & Stevie P at the Stones), the concert rises above event status as a place where people think they just need to be seen. Especially in Omaha, where a lot of folks still aren't used to the fact that one of the Beatles actually came here. Avoid these people like a Michael Bolton concert. They probably couldn't name three songs from the performer. Speaking of which, I can't even name three Michael Bolton songs.
- I'm sure the younglings at the Justin and Xtina show are going to dance their asses off. That's because there will be children there wanting to see if they can bring sexy back. Dancing at a show (other than at the Zoo Bar) over the age of 25 is a very subjective thing. Oh, and if you ever go to a show at the Zoo, you have to dance.
- Above all, I think John Cusack in High Fidelity shows us all how to do it at any show. In the scene where Jack Black takes the stage to do his rendition of "Let's Get It On", Cusack stands in the crowd, grabs his girl, puts her in front of him, and they just sway back and forth to music enjoying every second of it. The image is here (imdb won't let you use their pictures on blogs for some reason). You can probably pull this off during any song, and provided you have a date. Or you happen to be Bill Callahan and you think a good rub with your boss might make up for shitting the bed last season.