Recently, my girlfriend and her brother went to a concert at Benaroya Hall in Seattle. And though this is the home of the symphony, she wasn’t there to listen to any Western art music. In fact, she and her brother went to see Tinariwen, a group of Touareg performers from Mali who play a dance-inducing, celebratory sort of music - almost as if the sole function of the music is to get people to dance.
But here’s the catch - this symphony hall is crammed with layers of seats, and nowhere to dance.
Years ago, in a somewhat less elevated setting, I ended up at a Cake concert in a theatre full of seats, and, again, nowhere to dance.
So, what do you do when a band you really like, who you know you’ll want to freak out to, plays a venue full of seats?
Back at the Benaroya Hall, my girlfriend and her brother decided to make their way to the aisles instead of sitting motionless in their seats. They moved to the back of the hall until they found a small open space where the ushers would let them dance. And I can't help but think back to all those years before when I was at that Cake show where my friends and I did the less ambitious thing and simply wiggled as we stood in front of our assigned seats.
But, is the answer to just not go? Does having to stand at your seat, or moving clandestinely around the venue trying not to get thrown out for dancing mean it’s not worth going? Stadium shows are like this, too - if you can’t afford the tickets all the way up front.
If you don’t care about dancing, this may be ideal - no worries about looking silly in front of strangers. But, sitting still to watch a band is not much different from sitting on the couch in front of your speakers and doing the same thing.