2018-01-14 / Family

Happy to be here — as long as we can sit

By JANINE TALBOT
Columnist

Spouse, Second Born and I attended a country music concert recently. It was a full house and the ticket price benefitted a very worthwhile organization. It was all-in-all an excellent night with top notch entertainment. The audience sang to the more familiar numbers and diehard fans warbled to just about everything. We were mesmerized by the unusual percussion instrument of the opening band and unexpectedly impressed with the main performer’s silky smooth vocal range as well as his spot-on impersonation of a few other singers.

A couple of days later I searched social media for comments from at least one of the performers about the Portland venue and audience. No mention. Nothing. Nada. Zippo. Zilch. I didn’t just look for the headliner and I didn’t just look on one site. I checked all three acts and the top three social media websites. Of the three bands on stage that night, one of them did mention what an awesome experience they had. In Boston. The night before and the night after Portland. Didn’t we rank at least a small notation?

It’s not the first time I’ve taken note of this happening after seeing someone perform since we moved to Maine, but it was only recently that the reason became crystal clear to me. We Mainers are not your typical audience. Think about it. When the lead singer in a band prompts the crowd to stand up, the majority will - clapping and shimmying to the music… until about halfway through the song. By the end of the number it’s like you witnessed a wave, only for sitting. Mainers are not fans of standing – or clapping, for that matter. We do it with fan-like eagerness right up to the first chorus. From there our clapping becomes more tepid, which only makes sense, because you usually have to stand when you’re clapping.

My personal observation is that Mainers love to be entertained. We just don’t like to “be” the entertainment. The mindset leans toward: We paid. You do the work.

Last summer, Second Born and I attended an outdoor concert in the pouring rain. When I say pouring, I mean sheets of water cascaded down our plastic white rain ponchos (I could have probably paid for our tickets if I sold them to the highest bidder), but we weren’t leaving until the last song was sung. I thought for sure the performer would mention how incredible it was that almost everyone stayed even as the sky fell down. Stone cold silence. How enthusiastic are you supposed to be when you have to shield your eyes from a torrential downpour just to see the stage? We should have gotten extra credit.

It isn’t any different when it comes to other types of acts. We’ve been to a few comedy shows over the years, and there have been times when we’ve held our sides in hysterics. For the most part, however, you won’t hear ceaseless guffaws or nonstop giggles interrupting a comedian’s act. Mostly it’s, “Hahaha – next?” Performers in these parts have to be on the ball and ready to zing another one at us.

Maybe you’ve been on the shoulders of someone else during a concert, or you stood for two hours swaying and singing to your favorite band. You could still have stomach pains from the last comedy show you attended. Attending an event in Maine doesn’t mean you can’t show your enthusiasm… it simply means you might want to familiarize yourself with the sitting wave.

 

Return to top