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John Lamb, Published May 02 2009

Lamb: Will you stand by your band?

If Elton John plays his 1983 hit “I’m Still Standing,” will tonight’s Fargodome audience be able to respond on its feet?

The question is worth asking after what happened at the last Fargodome concert, the Eagles on March 15.

I reviewed that show, and from my seat in the press box (like sports writers, to meet deadlines we write during the show) I noted that not many people stood for the concert.

The next morning people were commenting online that when they stood, at least up front on the floor, they were told to sit down or be kicked out by Fargodome security, as per the Eagles’ request.

“We sometimes just do what we’re told,” Fargodome General Manager Rob Sobolik said Thursday morning.

Sobolik said he hadn’t heard anything about tonight’s concert to suggest the audience couldn’t stand, but added he doesn’t usually find such things out until the tour’s head of security comes in hours before the show.

He said the dome’s policy is generally to let people stand as long as they don’t get in others’ way or the aisles and behave themselves.

Sounds reasonable.

There are a lot of reasons people should get kicked out of a rock concert. But standing?

That’s the kind of disruptive behavior that can get you booted from an opera, symphony or maybe an Amish worship service, but not a rock show.

Did Stevie Nicks sing “Sit Back”? Did Ronnie James Dio sing “Sit Up and Shout?” Did Adam Ant demand “Sit and Deliver” or Michael Stipe of R.E.M. suggest listeners “Sit in the place where you live”?

No.

I realize rock stars like the Eagles and their fans are getting older. But good music is ageless. You’re only as old as you feel and good rock makes people feel young, so why force them to sit?

People who paid $190 for those Eagles front seats may have felt entitled to sit, but apparently others wanted an upright option.

If acts want to milk more money out of fans, do intimate theater shows.

Or if they need to play arenas, have reserved seating sections to the side, while those in front of the stage can stand.

If a fan wants to pay $190 to sit, they should get a rocking chair with a cup holder. Maybe even a blanket and a pillow since those tickets rival airline prices.

Maybe singer/guitarist Glenn Frey wasn’t kidding so much when he quipped at that March show, “This is the Eagles assisted living tour.” Apparently he was confused because he later gestured for the crowd to get on its feet.

When AC/DC played the dome in January, there was no way I was going to sit down in my $69.50 seat.

For those about to rock, I stand and salute for you.


Readers can reach Forum reporter John Lamb at (701) 241-5533