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Wednesday, August 13


Last night we went to the Jonny Lang concert at the Athletic Club of Bend. Our next door neighbor buddies came with us and offered to drive. So we got there in style - riding in their red convertible Slug Bug. It was a great night for a short ride with the top down. When we got there my hair was a little worse off but hey, when isn't it?

We arrived about 45 minutes early but it was already getting crowded. The last time we went to a show there we sat up on the little hill, against the building. Scott remembered that the acoustics up there are horrible so instead we opted for a nice spot right next to the reserved seats. We spread out our blankets and set up our (required) low-back chairs. Off we went again, in search of beer and food.

We didn't have to wander far - there was a beer wagon next to the stage. Once everyone had a cold Deschutes brew in hand we wandered a little further and found the food booth. The options were good and we were happy. Scott had a cheeseburger and it came with plenty of toppings - fresh lettuce, tomato, onion. We girls each ordered a chicken caesar salad - tasty with plentiful chicken and not "over dressed". Our other friend had a pesto pasta and he seemed happy too.

Before the opening act started I was sure to make a run to powder my nose. The restrooms are located in the Athletic Club locker room. I am not sure how it would feel if I was a Club member, to have all these random concert-goers tramping in and out of the locker room after my workout. But, I guess that comes with the territory. They must have been informed there was a concert that night, right? Anyways I am guessing it must have been stressing at least one person out because the restroom had that unmistakable smell. You know what I mean, right? Those - er - herbal supplements? I guess that's one way to relax after getting some exercise.

The opening act was a local musician named Reed Thomas Lawrence, and he was excellent. He is going to be making some other local appearances soon and I highly recommend checking out his set before he goes on the road. We liked the music so much that Scott went over to his booth and bought one of his CD's during intermission. Very good stuff!

After some announcements, Jonny Lang was welcomed to the stage. And this was when the night really started to go downhill for us. A woman not far away from us took a picture of Jonny on stage, and a security guard came over and harassed her about it. Now, I know there are lots of bands that don't want fans to take pictures at shows for one reason or another. But it is usually made clear at those venues that cameras are not allowed. As far as I could tell there weren't any signs proclaiming "no pictures please". On the other hand there were lots of signs reminding us "low back chairs only" and "no outside food or drink". Is it an unwritten rule now that you are not supposed to take pictures at concerts? If so that is a surprise to me. Recently we went to the KT Tunstall show at the Tower Theater and I took several pictures. The ushers at that show saw my camera and even asked to see the photos. In the interest of courtesy to other patrons I turned the flash off. Since we were outside this time I don't think her flash popped so I don't know what the issue was.

After the security guard walked away five or six people walked up and stood there. Right in front of us. Completely blocking our view of the stage. They weren't dancing or anything. Just. Standing. There. From where I was sitting, it didn't appear that their view of the show would have been any worse if they had sat down. And if they had sat down, then they wouldn't have been blocking the view of the stage for our group, and roughly 50 other people. In case you don't know, the ground at the Athletic Club is quite flat except at the very back, where the acoustics become poor as I mentioned earlier.

So, at this point here is a picture of our view of the stage. Nice, eh? I guess... if you are really into looking at people's butts, not the show. Being the shy guy that he is (ha!) Scott walked up after the song and said something like "Hey man, do you realize that some of us back there are having trouble seeing? We would all really appreciate it if you would take a seat so that all of us can enjoy the show." One guy laughed at him and turned around and waved at all of us that he was blocking. Everyone else just ignored him. Scott came back to our seats, muttering about how disrespectful people can be. Everyone around us thanked him for trying. So we were obviously not the only ones who were irritated by the "standers".

Meanwhile a few couples also came to the front and were dancing to the next song. I have to say, I like watching the dancers. They are clearly having fun and give me something to look at other than their butt. Some of them were better dancers than others, but it was still neat to see them enjoying the show in that way.

By about the fourth song I needed to stretch my legs and wanted an ice cream. I figured I couldn't see anyways, but could hear the music. As I was walking over to the food area I saw the same security guard that had harassed the lady with the camera. Here's a recap of our conversation:
Jen: Why, at a concert that requires low-profile chairs, are people are allowed to stand in front of the seating area?
Security Guard: I don't think they are really supposed to do that.
J: Well, there are a bunch of people standing in front of us, and it is really bothering my group and all the people sitting near us. Can you ask them to move?
SG: I don't have time to run around telling people to move. They would just move back. It's not my job to tell them to move.
J: Oh? OK then, what is your job?
SG: My job is to make sure people are having fun at the concert.
J: Interesting. Do you realize that there are about 50 people over there that are not having fun, because they can't see the show?
SG: Like I said, there's nothing I can do. I don't make the rules, the promoter does.
J: I don't understand, you said they weren't supposed to be standing. Is there someone different I should talk to?
SG: There's no one here that is gonna help a sarcastic bitch like you. I am walking away. I am done talking to you.

I stood there in shock - confused and upset. I asked for help, ended up on the receiving end of a bunch of double talk and then just was called a foul name by an employee at the concert. I couldn't help it - tears came to my eyes. I looked over and the security guard was standing a few feet away, watching the show. Not paying attention to the patrons to "make sure everyone has fun". No, he apparently couldn't be bothered to actually do his job, and I was preventing him from enjoying the show.

An Athletic Club staff person was at the ice cream booth and he noticed that I looked upset. He asked what was up and I told him about my frustration over our blocked view and my conversation with the security guard. He looked shocked, but admitted there wasn't anything he could do since he worked for the Athletic Club and security worked for the concert promoter. He did say that he was very sorry, and offered to give me my ice cream for free. I told him that wasn't necessary but I appreciated the offer.

When I got back to our seats, Scott and our friends were ready to go. Everyone else in our area was packing up and leaving too. We gathered our things and headed back to the Slug Bug. While we were walking through the parking lot I heard another couple say that they wouldn't bother going to concerts at the Athletic Club any more - they could hear them just fine from their house and the view was better. We laughed and agreed that it would be much more pleasant to look at our yard than a bunch of butts.

Overall? The main event of our night was an epic FAIL. I can't believe how we were treated by other concert-goers, and I am disgusted that an employee of C3 called me that name. Looking back I am somewhat happy with the rest of the evening since we got to hang out with our neighbor friends, go for a ride in the Slug Bug, and really enjoyed the opening act. But the next time I have an opportunity to attend a concert at the Athletic Club, I will probably pass.


Skip Offenhauser said...

I think the Athletic Club needs to read this. You were rational and fair in your comments and observations. I am an ACB member and would want them to know of the experience you had.

Miss Julie said...

Wow, that's horrible! I'm sorry that nasty gaurd made you cry, and a tiny bit cheered that the Athletic Club employee was nice enough to offer free ice cream.

I think someone should send this post to Cameron Clark at C3 Events, I think he would be very annoyed with his employee, and hopefully not give that guy another chance at ruining future concerts.

Poor Jen!

shopping monkey said...

That's a sad story for what should have been a fun night. We won't go there anymore for concerts because of the audience: every single time we've gone to a concert, we've been treated to a large number of audience members talking through the whole show, loudly. Not just a little murmur or chitchat or friendly greetings, but obnoxious, blustery, top of the lungs discourse. Last time (long time ago) it was a Keb Mo concert, acoustic and soft, and I was horrified for him at the utter rudeness of the audience. After stink eye looks failed to quiet various neighbors, we finally asked the loudest of the offenders to please try and keep it down. To which they replied with expletives and the suggestion that we get up and move. I still cannot believe that people pay good money for concert tickets, then spend the entire time talking about themselves and their exploits. It would be even worse to have to look at their butts the entire evening...

Josh Sullivan said...

Dude, that sucks. I've had a few experiences with really rude people in Bend, but none that bad.

You should've punched him in the throat and unplugged all the speakers on your way out the door. ;)

Fawn said...

That stinks! I have heard that ACB is not the best place to see shows and I just think that is so unfortunate. I've heard similar things about the amphitheatre. I just can't believe what some people think they can do.

mugmkr said...

I've had a number of really bad experiences at concerts in Bend over the years...rude people at Lyle Lovett's second appearance at the Les Schwab amphitheater, and out of control, off the scale rude security guards at Lucinda Williams show at the Athletic Club come to mind, though almost every show I've seen here have not been without incident. My rule of thumb is to never pay good money for an act that plays quieter music. People in Bend just want to talk all the way through the show. Don't know why. Sorry you had such a bad experience, Jonny Lang is really good, and that makes it more of a shame.

Melissa said...

What jerks! It's always so shocking when people are openly rude right in your face and don't care. I bought actual $$ seats for Lucinda Williams because the ground seating can be so poor there. You should definitely send this to C3.

Lyle said...

unbelievable! I agree with the rest of them. The promoter needs to know. To bad that you didnt take the offer up on the ice cream and then accidently trip into the SG (Stupid Guy).

Anonymous said...

That's really, really crappy what the security guard said to you, for sure. And I agree with others that C3 should know about that.

However, it's a rock concert. People are going to stand at rock concerts, and they're going to stand in front of other people who choose not to stand. They always have and they always will, and if you want to be able to see, you need to go stand in front of them. It's just the natural law of concerts without seats.

I know you won't agree with me, but it's the truth. Just sayin'.

Jen F said...


You are correct, I disagree. But technically it was a blues concert, and a mellow one at that.

I've been to lots of concerts at other venues where people are standing, so it's not like I am some kind of n00b. But most (er, all?) of those venues are "stand-friendly" and provide others who wish to sit down a variety of places to do so without having their fun ruined by an obnoxious view of a bunch of butts.

Bottom line: The venue specifically states that general admission ticket holders are allowed, and should be SEATED in low profile chairs. The SG admitted to me that they weren't supposed to be letting people stand but wasn't willing to do something about it.

ACB and C3 should not set rules that they don't intend to enforce. THAT is why I have a problem with this particular venue.