Mrs SG and I have seen a lot and done a lot in our time, but until a few days ago we had never been to a rock concert. We like rock-and-roll music, we like being in an excited throng of people enjoying a common experience, we like (in Dame Edna Everage‘s immortal words) colour and movement. But we’d never been to a rock concert.
So when a colleague alerted us to the imminent arrival of the Ukrainian band Okean Elzy (pictured below) for a 1-night stand in Yerevan (where we are at the moment) as part of their world tour, we saw an opportunity for a new experience. We also saw an opportunity to show solidarity with the Ukrainian people in their unequal struggle to defend themselves against their rogue neighbour.
We bought tickets online and went to the Karen Demirchyan Sports and Concerts Complex, arriving with 15 minutes in hand to find our seats – which were very comfortable by the way – and observe the rest of the crowd. To cut a long story short: the show started more than an hour late, the volume of sound was well above our pain threshold and at the back of the stage there was a battery of lights that flashed directly into the audience’s eyes. So we sat in our comfortable seats with our fingers in our ears and our eyes shut tight.
We left before the end of the first number, and as we went out into the blissful quiet of an Armenian summer evening we saw latecomers still arriving. Presumably they had been to rock concerts before and knew that they always start late.
In my professional roles as consultant and author, respect for my customers (clients and readers) is paramount. Why should rock musicians treat their customers with such disrespect? Why do their customers put up with it? Why do people pay large sums of money to be kept waiting and then to be deafened and blinded? It makes me stroppy, but more than that it puzzles me.
PS I am not a music critic and I offer no opinion on the quality of Okean Elzy’s music. They’re very popular in Ukraine and elsewhere in the CIS, so they’re probably very good. I regret that their style of performance precluded my hearing them.