We went to see a fabulous concert Thursday evening at the Mabee Center: Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, and Ray Price, with Asleep at the Wheel as the backing band. Lots of Western swing, and everybody sounded great. And Asleep at the Wheel did a great cover of “Get Your Kicks on Route 66,” which of course Ron and I enjoyed immensely. What a fun way to spend the evening.
That said, I have a couple of complaints/suggestions to improve the concert experience at the Mabee Center:
1. Note to the ushers: Seat latecomers between — not during — songs. The constant parade of people chattering back and forth with the ushers, climbing over us, and walking in front of us for the first hour of the show was very disruptive, very unprofessional, and completely avoidable. At the Fox Theatre in St. Louis, you have two choices: Show up on time, or wait until a break in the show (which sometimes doesn’t occur until intermission!) to be seated. I like this policy a lot.
2. Note to the guy who spent half of Ray Price’s set talking on his cell phone in a voice you could have heard in Kellyville: SHUT YOUR PIEHOLE. If I wanted to listen to people talk on the phone, I’d go to the office.
This is the second time I’ve been to an arena concert that was marred by obnoxious behavior from ill-mannered people. But it’s the first time I’ve watched ushers tolerate — and sometimes even participate in — the disruptions.
We watched security guards pick up a guy and literally carry him out of a Neil Diamond concert in Dallas a couple of years ago because he couldn’t shut up. (Can you imagine copping to that later? I mean, I can see getting a little carried away at, say, a Black Sabbath concert, or maybe AC/DC, or perhaps even Ted Nugent … but Neil Diamond?) The ushers didn’t even ask people to quiet down at this show.
Good manners would appear to be a dying art when people can’t behave themselves at a Ray Price concert in an alcohol-free venue on a Christian college campus. Sad.
Mercifully, Cell Phone Guy finally hung up, and all the seats in our row finally filled, and by the time Merle Haggard got two or three songs into his set, things quieted down so we could enjoy the rest of the show. But I would strongly encourage ORU to give the Mabee Center ushers some more training. It’s a nice venue. It would be a pity to let ill-mannered concertgoers ruin it.