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The Riviera Theater, Chicago, IL 02/18/08

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It is clear Jeff hates IT when fans sit through the whole show -- I certainly wasn't implying he actually hates the fans, thought that was obvious though.

And I quote:


Plus after the last Madison show, its clear Jeff hates sitting fans.

Your statement seemed pretty clear to me. I'll grant that maybe that's not what you meant...


He referenced the "lame" crowds he has to normally deal with last night -- its not a coincidence that the vast majority of the Riv crowd is standing, dancing, and enjoying themselves.

It's called playing to your audience. It's pretty typical that a performer declares that night's crowd to be the best, certainly better than the previous night's crowd. Don't take that stuff too seriously.


And no one is "going after" sitting fans. The comments from myself and others were in response to people "going after" standing fans.

Reading back, I found exactly one mention of such behavior. Maybe I missed some?


In my experience at the Riv, people go up to the balcony for a reason -- to sit! Is it that hard to believe that some people really prefer to sit at these shows? And that they're not disrespecting the band by doing so? Some of us aren't that young anymore, and standing for 2-3 hours, if not physically impossible, is at least extremely uncomfortable. Trust me, the band can't see the balcony anyway. They're not going to be offended if some people up there are sitting.


I think sometimes people are concerning themselves far too much with the fans and the surroundings and letting that impact their enjoyment of the show.

I only do that when I have no choice. Most people I deal with at rock shows are perfectly fine, but there are always a handful of idiots who think the show is about them and not the artist on stage. Whether they're attention whores, malcontents, rude chatterers, or just drunken morons, they're kind of hard to ignore when they're within a certain radius.


Of course, some things I take issue with are just a matter of preference. I, for one, am part of a small minority of Wilco fans who don't want to hear everyone around them singing along to the songs. I pay for my ticket so I can hear Jeff Tweedy sing, not the drunk jackass next to me. There's a reason Tweedy makes a living that way and the other guy doesn't. I know, I know, Tweedy actively encourages singalongs -- but that's a strike against him in my book. And I realize that there aren't a whole lot of people who agree with me on this, but no one will ever change my mind about it.


So stand, sit, dance, whatever, but RELAX, please, and try to enjoy yourself -- I know I will tonight, regardless of what happens around me. :cheekkiss

Excellent. :thumbup

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I don't feel like this is the right thread for this discussion so I'll make this my last reply on the old sitters vs. standers discussion.


Reading back, I found exactly one mention of such behavior. Maybe I missed some?

A couple:

for those of you heading to the balcony, you better not stand up during the show or else you'll get an earful!!!!
why would you anyway? there are seats, they're for sitting. if you want to stand, go down to standing room.
have you really watched a show at the Riv in the balcony with everyone standing? it sucks.

So my comment wasn't going after anyone, but in response -- as were a few other comments expressing why standing is perfectly fine at a rock show.

It's called playing to your audience. It's pretty typical that a performer declares that night's crowd to be the best, certainly better than the previous night's crowd. Don't take that stuff too seriously.


I know, Tweedy actively encourages singalongs -- but that's a strike against him in my book. And I realize that there aren't a whole lot of people who agree with me on this, but no one will ever change my mind about it.

While I believe playing to the audience may be a part of it -- I do take seriously that Jeff genuinely wants a lot of audience interaction (singing, dancing, clapping, and yes, standing). Of the dozens of articles, couple of books, dvds, etc. I've read -- he references his desire for audience interaction and extreme displeasure with lack thereof on a very regular basis -- so he doesn't just say that in shows to "play to the crowd" (especially when last night's "crowd" was an international audience via XRT online of Wilco fans, some of whom probably took offense -- there were surely more non-Chicago fans listening last night than were at the Riv -- so if he was trying to play to the big crowd, he failed miserably). Each fan is part of the experience and has responsibilities because of that. Its no coincidence Jeff has gone off on typically passive English crowds, and puts on the most energetic and longest shows to audiences that earn it with interaction. He has said many times that he feeds off that and needs it to truly perform. And, judging by his sarcasm towards gratuitous encores and the obligatory "you can do better than that" during sing-a-longs -- he hates rock n' roll cliche's like "playing to the crowd."


Not everyone goes in the balcony to sit -- some go b/c of lack of good seats on the floor. And regardless of that -- everyone pays for their own ticket and can watch the show how they want. That does not include drunken talking during songs, bumping into people, etc. -- but standing doesn't fall in this category for me, or clearly, for Wilco either. Its clear by your language you're angry about this topic and I know you don't want to hear it from me -- but I really do think you would enjoy the show much more if you loosened up and tried getting into the show and becoming part of the experience by interacting -- or at least not care when others do. Wilco is a band that relishes and feeds off of crowd interaction, and if I were you and really despised that as much as you seem to, I would limit my Wilco experience to listening to the albums. At a rock show, there will be some chaos you need to accept and people can stand if they want to. You'd get booted at a Celine Dion show if you stood -- but you don't at the Riv, and there's a reason for that. That's why people like Jeff Tweedy were drawn to rock n' roll in the first place.


Its the last night :thumbup -- if you're going, I wish you a great show!

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I'll make my final points as well:


The balcony, or at least parts of it, should be a refuge for those who want to sit. If you're unfortunate enough to show up too late to get a good spot on the floor, please respect those in the balcony who don't want someone standing directly in front of them. Obviously this doesn't apply in venues where there isn't that kind of setup -- but there are lots of places where it's standing-room down below and sitting up above. If the crowd up above clearly wants to sit, respect that. Don't make the show about you. Those other people paid for their tickets too. Yes, it's a rock show, and people should know what they're getting into when they buy their tickets -- but sitting, contrary to what some people have said here, is a perfectly valid way to watch a show -- any show. Disapprove of it if you want, but understand that those people are just as worthy of respect as the "standers."


I don't really agree that fans at a rock show have "responsibilities." Yes, it's great when the crowd helps to build the energy in the venue, but the artist has to be the instigator in that. The crowd is paying the artist to perform, not the other way around.


If the artist isn't moving the crowd, that's not the crowd's fault. Sometimes an artist just plays the wrong room, or wrong town, or on the wrong night, whatever. Or, sometimes they play a shitty show. The crowd can certainly have an effect on the performance, but artists are (or should be) professionals: they should be able to play a good show regardless of the crowd atmosphere. I've spent enough time on stages in my life to understand this dynamic. If the crowd isn't digging you, give them their money's worth and then get off the stage -- it wasn't meant to be, at that venue, on that night, in front of those people. Not every show is a corker. You play music for a living -- millions of people wish they could be in your shoes -- so don't get pissed off because the crowd didn't jump through hoops the way you expected them to. If the crowds in some town or state or country aren't up to your personal standards, then don't play there again, or just accept that future shows there won't be among your favorites.


It is not my responsibility, as a ticket-buyer, to provide the artist with some kind of transcendent experience. If anything, the artist should be doing that for me. Hopefully the audience and the artist can achieve that experience together somehow, but in the end, the main onus is on the performer, because he's the one getting paid.


Just my (admittedly ornery) opinion.

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your ticket's paid for like everyone else's, true, but i want to see the band, not just hear them. even if i get there at a reasonable time, i might not be able to do that from the floor. and i may want to stand. so, as with any general admission show, if you want to sit and see the band, get there early enough to be sure you get a seat that affords you that comfort. otherwise, don't complain when good folks who, whether it's a responsibility or not, want to stand and share their energy with the band - in the balcony or on the floor - decide to stand up, goofily dance around, and thoroughly enjoy themselves the best way they know how.




see everyone tonight!


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Respect is the key to all of this. At a general-admission show, everyone should be able to reach compromises to make the sitters and standers equally happy. Just don't be an ass about it, and it'll be fine. Be aware of the people behind you, and if they're sitting and you're blocking their view by standing, be sensitive to that and see if you can work something out.


And then the world will be all sunshine and butterflies, or something like that.

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Just wanted to thank the people involved in getting the shows up on the ftp site. and for what it's worth the flac's sound better on winamp than the mp3's on window's media player.


are the other 3 nights going to go onto the ftp site also? if not, let me say again that i think the residency is a prime candidate for the owl and bear site.





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