People Watching with Fitz and the Tantrums
On Friday Dr. Jones and I got a baby sitter and headed into the big city to hear Fitz and the Tantrums perform at the Rockland Trust Bank Pavillion. We heard them live once before when they opened for OneRepublic on their 2017 tour. They put on a great show. It’s like a big dance party. You can’t help but feel happy listening to their music. They played their big favorites and several songs from their upcoming new album. Everything was great.
Now I don’t have a big history following or listening to what the kids call “popular music.” When I have listening time these days I usually put on a podcast or listen to a Broadway cast album. Mostly I went to sibling school band concerts or choir concerts and saw the occasional touring broadway show. I always went and saw The King’s Singers whenever they came to town. My first big stadium concert (other than Provo Utah’s Stadium of Fi-Yah!) was when a friend took me to Phil Collins at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City in the mid 90s.
My wife, though, loves bands and has many groups she follows. She saw Fitz and the Tantrums were coming to town as the middle act between Coin and Young the Giant and asked if I wanted to go. I was happy to be her +1. In addition to hearing great music (Fitz was amazing, the other bands were just loud) it afforded the great opportunity for an anthropological exploration of the many types of concert goers.
The Die Hard
The Die Hard is the always dancing, always singing concert goer. They may not wear the merch, but they know the songs and seriously dance. When we saw Fitz in 2017 there was one fan they had to ask to confine his dancing to his seating area as he was vigorously spilling out into the aisle. He would have blocked Ryan Tedder’s running through the aisle and the resulting high-five he gave my wife!
The Hip Family
These are parents who wish to impart a sense of coolness to their children. Or they just don’t want to get a sitter. We saw several families with kids who seemed to be round the age of our 2 older kids. I even think our 5-year-old daughter would have loved it–we just didn’t want to buy them a ticket. Sorry kids. Just more evidence of hour we are not “the hip family.”
The Average Fan
This is where I fit in. I usually would not think ahead to buy tickets for some events but once I get there I really enjoy it. I am not gyrating in the aisle. I do not know all the words. I do follow instructions when told to put my hands in the air like I just do not care. I enjoy the experience.
Similar to The Average Fan but with less interest. It’s like they decided I could go to a concert. Or not. There were people sitting right in front of us who might as well been listening to a Fitz CD or playlist. They were drinking their beverage of choice, chatting about whatever and looking at photos of their dog. They acted as if they were completely unaware that there was a concert going on. Maybe they just didn’t care about Fitz and the Tantrums, but they didn’t seem to light up any more when Young the Giant came up. We left after a few Young the Giant songs–it was just too loud for us.
The Corporate Sponsor
Although I think we can all agree that stereotypes are a bad thing, I think we can also agree when one of these things is not like the other. While at the concert I saw several individuals in good seats with no apparent interest in what was going on. Their age, demeanor and apparel suggested they were given the tickets for bankrolling the venue’s concert series.
Depending on the artist some of these groups may be more malicious or annoying than others, but if you have a group you love I still think it’s worth the effort to see them live. Making money from selling albums or streaming services is increasingly difficult. Live shows are one of the best ways to directly support the artists you love. So get out there and be an Average Fan or Die Hard. If you are an Unaware just stay home and listen to the radio. It will be cheaper.