What's wrong with the youth of America?
Monday night I attended a Death Cab for Cutie concert at Constitution Hall in DC. Constitution Hall is a great venue for a concert because it is small enough that everyone feels reasonably close to the stage, and its tier seating allows even the people in the back rows to get a good view of the stage. The venue also has orchestra seating on the floor. In my days as a younger Fraggle I have fond memories of standing near the front of the stage when my favorite bands were in concert. I would jump and scream and sing along with everyone else (I have also been known to surf a crowd or two, but I think that went out of fashion along with flannel shirts worn over waffle-knit henleys).
So I was surprised to notice that almost no one on the floor at the Death Cab concert looked excited. There was one guy with big hair who was enthusiastically pumping his fist in the air and there were two people near the back dancing along, but that was it. Everyone else just stood in place, nodding their heads slightly in time with the music.
What is wrong with these kids? Are they all so worried that they will look uncool that they won't move around during a concert? What happened to being moved by the music of your favorite band? I remember seriously considering doffing some of my clothes and throwing them at the stage during my first REM concert. And even though I am now well out of my teens, whenever I go to a concert of one of my favorite bands from my youth, I always have to make a lot of noise when my favorite songs are played. And I can never help singing along.
But not this crowd. I have to assume that Death Cab is for them what REM and Nirvana were for me back in the early 1990s. And it's not like Death Cab was playing obscure music--the large majority of their set list was from their most popular and recent albums, Transatlanticism and Plans. I will admit that the band is not the most dynamic I have ever seen in concert, but that shouldn't be much of an excuse.
In the end, it was all pretty sad. It's just depressing to see a large group of teens too self-conscious to get excited about a concert. While I will forever remember crowd-surfing to Hole, they will be left with memories of head bobbing with their hands sitting firmly at their sides.