Michelle Bellamy: Why it’s better in the cheaper seats

Glitter, Rainbows, Rock, and Phantom of the Opera: I’ve had an amazing week here in the Cincinnati music scene. I don’t go to too many concerts, but it’s one of my guilty pleasures. I definitely try to go as often as I can afford them. On Wednesday, I was asked to paint faces for the Adventures of Kesha and Macklemore tour, so I got to go, paint faces (which was just a lot of fun putting rainbows, flowers, and ALL the glitter on people,) then once we shut down shop I made my way to the lawn where my oldest daughter and sister had a seat saved for me.

There is something to be said for attending the concerts of extremely talented performers. I don’t even mean just great musicians. I mean talented people who can move a crowd by their words and actions as well. Those performers that have the entire crowd standing, singing, and dancing. The people who have something to say and make it heard loud and clear above the noise, the beer, the clouds of smoke, the thousands of voices. These artists create those moments where the entire crowd sings in beautiful chorus- not because they’ve been asked to or because the singer held the mic out, but because the singer has been brought to tears by the overwhelming outpour of love and just can’t.

What actually happened in Cincinnati was actually written about on Billboard, too. It was just incredibly moving. Kesha was singing her new song, “Praying”, which is absolutely beautiful on its own, but during that song a huge portion of the audience held up rainbow colored hearts that each said “Thank You” on them. Kesha tried, So. Freaking. Hard. To continue the final choruses, but she was choked up. Now, I’ve heard people sing along to songs at concert before. I’ve even heard an entire audience sing along. I have NEVER heard such a beautiful, in sync, and harmonious chorus of that many people happen so spontaneously. That memory is one that will stay with me for ever.

Macklemore was also extremely funny and humble. His performance was high energy, spot on, and just really fun. I am pretty sure he had more costume changes than Kesha actually. His music and his performance just left me feeling happy and energized. I’ve always enjoyed his music on the radio, but now I just want to be his friend too.

I almost always get lawn seats because they’re pretty cheap, but I also splurged for pavilion seating for the Lindsey Stirling and Evanescence concert. I was really excited because I thought maybe it’d be better in there. I’m used to sitting on blankets and having people walk in front of me, but in the pavilion I’ll have a chair, and everyone is assigned. Maybe I’ll actually get to see Lindsey Stirling dance for real instead of on those big screens?

Let me tell you, I think I would have had more fun out on the lawn. There has to be some concert etiquette book somewhere. I’ll start with please, please, please do not carry on a conversation during the entire show. If you must converse, just talk quieter. Your companion is literally only centimeters away.

My view of Lindsey Stirling was excellent actually. She moved around a lot, so even though I had a straight line of tall heads right in front of me, I was able to see most of the show that wasn’t center stage. Lindsey’s show was everything I could possibly have hoped for.

There was a bit of confusion on one point though. See, on the lawn you just kind of have to stand or you’ll never see anything. You can also move around a bit if needed. In the pavilion, well, we paid for seats. We’d like to enjoy the show in comfort. I personally just follow the crowd. If they’re standing in front of me, I stand. If they’re sitting in front of me, I sit. I don’t much care either way. The moment Evanescence entered the stage, the crowd began to stand in front of me.

I stood. The moment I did, there was a brief pause on the stage. I heard a loud and angry voice behind me yell at everyone to sit down because some people would like to see the show. I can’t say I totally disagreed. I like sitting. I’d never have had the guts to yell it to a couple hundred people, but yeah.

So after a few minutes, most of the people sat- except one, lone woman. She stood- dead center, about six rows ahead but yes, directly in front of me. She stood for about twenty more minutes occasionally bending down to talk to her friends beside her. She’d glance back every once in a while at all the people seated behind her with a smile, then turn to watch the show. I make no assumptions on what she was thinking, but I will add that in the section next to us, security had to get involved to ask a different lone stander to be seated due to complaints from the audience behind her. That one actually got irate. They both eventually sat. The irate one sat to a loud cheer from those behind her with a pronounced pout.

But this is weird to me. I know Lindsey Stirling and Evanescence’s Synthesis are not traditional rock music, but I thought it was pretty standard to stand at rock concerts. I was quite confused when I heard the yell to sit down. It’s also weird to me, though, that out of all of the people in the pavilion, it seemed like there was one in every section that decided they were perfectly fine being the only ones standing and blocking everyone behind them. It seems like common courtesy would have to come in to play. Everyone in there paid for their seats, so to stand in front of someone, blocking their view just seems to scream entitlement. It states that the desires of that person are greater than the needs of everyone else. What if someone behind her actually could not stand up, and that’s why they paid the hefty ticket price?

I actually looked up concert etiquette when I got home because I thought for sure I was missing something. You know what I found on all of the articles about whether to stand or sit? Only one article said anything, and that was, summed up, don’t yell at other people to sit down because it’s a rock concert. Sooo… I’m still wondering if this experience is normal in the pavilion at Riverbend. I have no answer.

Overall. Lindsey Stirling and Amy Lee were angelic. They were perfect. The crowd was loud and in love. Aside from my confusion over those little things, this was a concert to remember. I think I’ll just stick to the lawn next time though.

Bellamy is a 35-year-old mother of three girls. She’s a teacher at a high school, which serves students with mental health and behavioral issues. She also guides walking tours in Over the Rhine. A couple of her favorite hobbies are a “little unusual,” such as ghost hunting and special effects make-up. In her free time, she likes reading, writing, drawing, or hunting thrift and antique stores for odd things.