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Battle in the Balcony? — Why Now?
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Battle in the Balcony?

The Associated Press reports: Fight breaks out at Boston Pops concert

Concert-goers, and even Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart, were caught off-guard when a fight broke out on opening night at usually sedate Symphony Hall.

Television video of the fight Wednesday night showed two men struggling in the balcony — one with his shirt pulled off — as several people stood around them.

Lockhart briefly halted the performance, which featured singer-songwriter Ben Folds, while the men were escorted out.

This didn’t happen when Arthur Fielder was the conductor, although one suspects that even Arthur would have been caught “off guard” by people brawling. Of course it was in the balcony. One certainly hopes the individuals weren’t season ticket holders.

Really, it’s not like this was opera or hippity-hop or whatever.


1 Steve Bates { 05.10.07 at 5:40 pm }

The balcony has nothing to do with it. Neither does being a subscriber. Decades ago I heard The English Concert (that’s the name of a famous baroque orchestra) when they performed in another city in Texas. I sat in the expensive seats, among the subscribers; the ticket was part of a package deal for participants in an early music festival.

And I seriously considered cold-cocking the guy sitting behind me, who repeatedly tapped his (expletive deleted) toe just barely out of time with the music.

This wasn’t a Willie Nelson concert; this was a name-brand world-famous classical orchestra. The conductor should at least be able to beat time without “assistance” from the audience. If I had decked the man, and if I had been brought to trial, no musically sensitive jury in the world would have convicted me.

2 Bryan { 05.10.07 at 7:16 pm }

Pagers, cell phones, talking, etc. – it’s as if people don’t understand that you have laid out some serious cash to hear the people on stage.

I assume it was an over heated discussion as to whether requesting “Freebird” was permitted.

3 Steve Bates { 05.11.07 at 2:10 am }

Give the people in The English Concert 10 minutes, and they’d give you Free Bird if you asked for it. Apart from being among England’s finest performers on any instrument whatsoever, they are used to a rehearsal schedule that is frenetic compared to musicians on the Continent. They can learn anything, in any record amount of time, and perform it with a perfection that will make you cry, or more likely, make you sell your instruments on the spot and take up something less strenuous like commercial fishing.

Who knows what those jerks were fighting over. Annoying audience members come with the territory; back when I managed a group I was in, I sometimes had to defuse situations (though I’ve never confronted an actual physical fight). You’re right; this thing didn’t happen in Fiedler’s day. And why not? Because in Boston in those days, the only people who could afford any tickets to a Pops concert were so upper-crust that they had no need to fight about anything; they had nothing to prove. In a manner of speaking, it’s the George Bushes of the world (though presumably more musically inclined) who need to behave in crass ways in situations that require at least a modicum of consideration for performers and other audience members alike.

Owning a tux does not make a man a class act, on or (in this case) offstage.

4 Bryan { 05.11.07 at 12:35 pm }

Actually the Pops concerts were always affordable back in Fielder’s tenure and they really were the “pop” pieces of the classics, with a few more contemporary arrangements thrown in. It wasn’t cheap, but it was cheaper than a Stones concert.

People just don’t think they have to behave in public and it has nothing to do with “hippies”. Talk radio and evangelicals are at least as responsible as Act-up for the loss of civility.

The people who did it should have simply been ejected, since it’s Boston, they should have been sent to talk to the Mother Superior.