I know you and I have a long and complicated history, but I wanted to drop a quick note to say thank you for being so accommodating to me this week. I come back once or twice a year, and generally try to make sure that there's at least one concert worth seeing while I'm in town. But this time you really went out of your way (with a little help from the nearby Bonnaroo) to make my visit worthwhile. Last night was Wilco
, tonight was The National
, and Monday is Voxtrot
. Well done, my friend.
That said, I've noticed a few things over the last two nights that trouble me a bit, and I want to point them out to you. I'm not trying to be mean here - I'm just trying to help. After all, if I don't tell you these things, who will?
(1) First, you should be aware that not every song played by every band is a clap-along. In fact, most songs aren't clap-alongs. Especially "Ada"
And, even if there are parts of songs that can be clapped to, that doesn't mean you should be clapping to the beat from the moment that song starts until the moment it ends. A lot of songs, especially songs by The National, have subtleties and nuances that make them what they are. I realize that subtlety is a bit of a foreign concept in a town where watered-down cinnamon-flavored chili
is a delicacy, but still...
(2) Second, be aware that opening bands are not an excuse to talk, or worse, to talk about how bad the opening band is. In some cases, such as last night, when the opener is Low
, the fact is that the band is actually excellent. They may not be playing their most upbeat material, and they might not translate well to a large auditorium, but that doesn't mean that the rest of us want to listen to you bitch about the fact that you don't like them. If you don't like them, go wait in the lobby and get a beer. Lord knows you drink enough at shows (see #3 below).
Indeed, even when the opener is truly abominable, such as Shapes and Sizes
tonight, you really ought to just keep it to yourself until after the band's set is over. Sure, you can text-message your friend standing next to you about how bad they are - did I mention that Shapes and Sizes were awful? - but there's no reason to verbalize your distaste for the band if people around you are enjoying them.
(3) Finally, and this may be the most important point, not every concert is a reason to GET WASTED! and PARTY!
After The National play "Lit Up", there's no need for you to spend the next 30 seconds yelling "I'm lit up! Woo-ya! Lit up! Drunk! Yeah!" When you pay $50 to see Wilco in a lovely, Broadway-class theater, it's kind of silly to spend more than half the show repeatedly leaving to get on line for another beer. And, at the end of that Wilco show in the lovely, Broadway-class theater, there's no reason to take your beer bottles and smash them into dozens of pieces on the floor.
Now, I like drinking as much as anyone, especially at concerts. But, Cincinnati, you seem to treat every concert as a reason to get uncontrollably drunk and make a fool out of yourself. In fact, I've noticed that you seem to think that just about any social event calls for large amounts of alcohol (as well as sleeveless tee shirts). I suppose if I lived here year-round, I might understand the desire to be constantly drunk, but really, what type of example are you setting for the younger cities like Dayton and Akron? Don't you think that they're going to want to be like you when they grow up? Be a role model, Cincinnati.
Despite everything, though, Cincinnati, you know I still love you. And I truly appreciate the fact that the town that never met a Jimmy Buffett show that it couldn't sell out in 5 minutes managed to sell out (or nearly sell out) shows by Wilco and The National. Now all we need is for you to start supporting some of the city's other great bands, like Wussy
, The Hiders
, and Heartless Bastards