Show Going Quandary: To Sing Along or Not?
After spending nearly 24 hours on the grounds of Pimlico Race Course over the weekend I decided that the best way to spend Monday night would be to put myself in danger of being swept up in a violent circle pit at Rancid's sold-out 9:30 club show. I stayed out of harm's way and was plenty glad I caught the show -- Rancid still brings plenty of punk rock energy and I'll never get tired of hearing the many anthems from their 1995 classic "... And Out Come the Wolves." (Lord knows that album is about 8,000,000 times better than "Smash," by former labelmates the Offspring, a fact which I was reminded of on Saturday.)
Last night I did something I rarely do at a show -- sing along. (I do it in the car all the time, natch. With bonus Finn-like hand gestures when listening to the Hold Steady.) A healthy majority of Rancid's songs feature choruses with most of the band members singing in unison, so what's the problem with a few (hundred) other voices added to the mix? I wasn't "on the clock" (that would be Christoper Porter; check for his review tomorrow) so I figured it would be OK to indulge in some casual fan behavior. Honestly, I was surprised that I actually remembered all the words to songs like "Radio," "Hoover Street" and "Journey to the End of East Bay." ("Ruby Soho," well, I knew I knew the words to that one.)
Still, I couldn't help but feel a little guilty. Everyone else was doing it, the band even encouraged it, and in this case it only added to the general revelry in the club. But does it set a bad precedent? Most of the time, audience members should not sing along. There are moments when it's acceptable, but we've all been to shows where you end up hearing more from the dude behind you than the person you paid money to hear on stage. Or maybe I'm imposing some unnecessarily harsh rules.
When is it right and wrong to sing along?
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