Last Tuesday night, we went to see Mark Knopfler at the Orpheum Theater in Boston. Best known as the founder and lead singer of Dire Straits, Peter and I are more appreciative of Knopfler’s lesser-known accomplishments, like his scoring of the films Local Hero and The Princess Bride. We also love “All the Roadrunning”, an album he recorded in 2006 with Emmylou Harris, another favorite artist of ours. He’s a master of arranging, and coupled with his gravely yet soothing voice and his impeccable guitar stylings, he’s an artist everyone should see “live” at least once.
So anyway, we’re seated in the balcony of the Orpheum, and right before the concert starts, this 300-lb., bleach-blond guy, along with his leather halter top wearing wife, and two younger guys come climbing up the staircase, headed for the seats right behind us. The guy (I’ll call him “Dick”) and his wife are each carrying giant cans of beer, and Dick is soaked, bitching at the top of his lungs about “how hot it is in here”.
Peter and I glance at each other and silently hope they’ll settle into their seats quickly and quietly. No such luck. For the entire length of Knopfler’s first song, Dick “explains” the action on stage to his son at full volume. “See how that guy’s playing the flute? He was just playing the accordian a few minutes ago. These guys are really good. Blah, blah, blah…”
When the song ends, I turn around to Dick. “Excuse me, but I’m wondering if you could please keep your voice down,” I say. He glares at me for a moment and then slowly leans down until his sweaty face is inches from my face. “I’m talking to my son,” he says defiantly, “so just turn around and mind your own business.”
Dick was quiet for the next few minutes, but as the applause died down after the second song, I felt a big, meaty paw on my shoulder. I turn and Dick says to me, “Listen, this is not your living room. This is a concert and I paid the same amount of money you did for these tickets. So don’t tell me to be quiet, you ignorant prick.”
Peter hopped up immediately to get the usher who was standing five rows below us. The usher sprang into action, knelt down next to Dick and told him he’d have to be quiet. Dick launched into another - albeit louder - tirade about this being a public concert hall and how much he paid for his tickets. He was then escorted out of the seating area, but returned five minutes later. Dick was quiet during the rest of the show, but I kept wondering if a beer was going to be “accidentally” spilled down my back or if I’d be paid back some other way.
So is it just me, or are folks becoming increasingly clueless about being loud or otherwise obnoxious in public settings – concerts, movie theaters, trains, etc. – or am I just overly sensitive?