Last night in KC had to be the most blatant and shameless kid pimping that I have seen since the neglectful parent in Paris who hoisted their child STANDING ON THE PARENTS’ HANDS so that the child was in effect balancing at stage level.
1) The father who had a studio-quality, black and white photo of him and his son with Bruce. The father spent the entire time before the show hassling every person who walked past him (he was sitting in a low row sidestage, undetermined if that was his actual seat) to take his photo back to Bruce to get signed. Every time he was told no. He then spent the show trying with more people, including Bruce’s head of security, who also told him no. He then TOOK THE PHOTO OUT OF THE ENVELOPE and stood with it in his hands, facing the stage, in the hopes, I guess, that Bruce would see it when he came over there or returned from the mid-floor platform.
This then escalated to him writing, “Can me and my dad meet Bruce and get our photo signed?” on the back of an envelope and having his son hold it up all night. At no point did either of these people look like they were having a good time. At the end of the show, I saw Bruce’s camerawoman go over and talk to them (I saw them catch her eye earlier and a look of abject pity cross her face) but given that people who Know These Things inform me that the touring party booked it out of KC straight to Denver after the show, there was no way this was going to happen.
ONE: YOU AND YOUR SON ALREADY MET BRUCE AND YOU HAVE A PHOTO OF THE EVENT
TWO: WE ALL WANT TO MEET BRUCE AND HAVE OUR PHOTO SIGNED, THE PRESENCE OF A CHILD DOES NOT GIVE YOU ADDITIONAL CACHET
THREE: GO TO THE HOTEL TO DO THIS KIND OF THING.
2) If your sign begins with “THE LAST TIME…” you are an abjectly selfish individual and you should put your sign down and stop being greedy. “I DANCED WITH YOU LAST TIME, CAN I DANCE WITH [BAND MEMBER] NOW,” “I DANCED WITH YOU, SIGN MY PHOTO,” “LAST TIME YOU GAVE ME A HARMONICA, CAN I PLAY GUITAR THIS TIME” — I wonder if the people who wrote these things actually stopped and thought, “Wow, I had an amazing thing happen to me, how incredible was that, I am so lucky” or did they just start thinking, “Gee, what can I get THIS TIME?”
Do you know why “Raise Your Hand” was a trainwreck last night? Because Bruce missed cues when he was at the back platform because he was SIGNING SOMEONE’S PHOTO. I blame him for even starting this trend but it wasn’t the only time I have seen this request.
There were two kids sidestage who were running around with two-sided signs asking to play guitar, asking for a song, reminding Bruce that last time they got a harmonica, please play Part Man Part Monkey. The kids did not make these signs (unlike the “Badlands” sign in Omaha, which was clearly made by a 10 year old, and that 10 year old spent the whole show singing and jumping up and down of his own accord - his dad sat down more than he did. I high-fived that child on the way out of the venue) and the amount of selfishness and greed on those two signs does not seem to be good lessons to be teaching any child.
3) SUNNY DAY OFFENSES PART THREE MILLION
I was on the rail at the Patti-side platform last night and this is where a mother brought her child for Sunny Day. The kind woman next to me knew the woman and told her earlier in the show that she would let her have her spot. I did not, however, agree to this arrangement, which seemed to perturb the mother, when I would not help her child hold her sign or help her hold her child (I used the break to have a quick snack and catch up on notes surreptitiously, trading “He’s coming this way” warnings with @g_radecki as Bruce approached).
The child did not know what to do. The child was mortified. You cannot tell me otherwise because I was standing right in front of her. During the pre-show, when the arrangements for this debacle were made, I asked the woman next to me if the child was a fan and knew the song, because she was awfully little, and she said, “Yes,” and then corrected herself to say, “Well, she’s growing up surrounded by it.”
You know who else grew up “surrounded by it?” My lovely niece, whose number one dictate when planning her bat mitzvah party earlier this year was: “NO BRUCE.” Now, we actually took her to a show at Giants in 2009, where we stood along the back rail in the corner so she was out of the crush and had a place to sit when she got tired. We also brought ear plugs, water and snacks. People around us were all yelling at us to pick her up to get Bruce’s attention which we would have done IF SHE HAD ASKED US TO and only if she had asked us to, which she did not. She had a fine time and enjoyed herself, but it is not her music, which is absolutely fine. (I am going to try my nephew in 2013 now that he is old enough — 10 is the rule in my sister’s house — but he already knows more about the Beatles than you do.)
The father in Omaha who arrived around 7:30, grabbed his kid, and said, “Hey, go up there,” shoving him through the crowd. The kid moved up one space and stood there helplessly, before dropping back next to his father, who kept saying, “You don’t want to stand here next to me, you want to go up there,” gesturing towards the front rail. Actually, judging by the kid’s expression, he actually did want to stand next to his dad, who clearly wanted someone else to take care of his child or thought that the presence of his child and his poor planning mandated that a space should open up right up front. I gently suggested that a better spot might be the back of the pit where his kid could see over the crowd, and that I had done that with my niece who was about his kid’s height, and this was ignored.
[SIDEBAR: Rising tour in Vancouver, a mother, grandmother and daughter in the front row, except that the daughter was shorter than the stage (this was the pre-camera well barrier days) and they proceeded to ask me if I could help them hold her up during the show so she could see over the stage. After I got over my shock, I told them I had a bad back, and that if they went right now, security would be glad to reseat them in reserved seats, that they have a pool of seats available for situations like this, when people arrive at general admission and realize it is inappropriate for their child. They shrugged that off, and held the child up the whole show. Bruce came over multiple times to sing to the girl, who was bored out of her mind and did not interact with him at all.]
Your kid can’t see? Buy a seat. Your kid is crowded? Buy a seat. Your kid is scared of the people around them? Buy a seat. Or at least stake out the back of the pit so they have some room. And for god’s sake, buy some decent hearing protection for your kid. I don’t even see kids wearing foam earplugs, much less anything more suitable.
::END RANT::the actual, non-rant-y KC show review is here