Letter: Concert etiquette

When All Campus Entertainment (ACE) Concert Planning discussed having Ben Folds play this year’s Homecoming show, some committee members expressed concerns about whether the pianist would even sign. Folds’ last show at Williams in the spring of ’99 was infamously bad – reportedly, the acoustics and the audience response in Towne Field House were so terrible, Folds swore he would not play at the College again. The committee therefore felt lucky that he was willing to return to our stage, and judging by how quickly the tickets sold out, concert-goers were happy to welcome him back.

It was therefore thoroughly disappointing when Folds himself had to ask the audience to quit their yapping not half an hour into his set. He prefaced “The Luckiest” with a request that the people in the back quiet down so that the fans in front could enjoy the subtleties of one of his most beautiful songs.

Concerts are unlike parties and sports in that they are social events which do not invite running commentary. Not only was the incessant chatter – which thankfully died down in time for the set closer – disrespectful to the artist, but it was an insult to his fans who paid to hear him perform and had much of the music drowned out by the buzz of background conversations.

MJ Prest ’04