Saturday 1 October 2016

Leave the iPads, children and beach balls at home

Published 26/05/2016 | 02:30

Bruce Springsteen fans after queuing at the HMV store in Henry Street, Dublin, for tickets for his concert in the RDS in 1988. Photo: Tom Burke
Bruce Springsteen fans after queuing at the HMV store in Henry Street, Dublin, for tickets for his concert in the RDS in 1988. Photo: Tom Burke
Selfie sticks are not welcome at the Springsteen gig.

Selfie sticks, brollies and inflatable beach balls - just some of the nuisance items banned at the Bruce Springsteen gigs in Croke Park.

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As the countdown to the concerts of the year continues, Ticketmaster this week issued a public information notice urging fans to be on their best behaviour, including arriving when gates open at 5pm and not lighting up during the outdoor event.

And for fans who splashed out up to €131 to see the sexagenarian rock god over the coming days, it was music to their ears. From constant selfie-taking to beer-spilling and non-stop talking, undoubtedly modern concert-going can be more 'Badlands' than 'Magic'.

So with just 24 hours until the 'River' flows into the capital, here's our grumpy guide to gigging like a Boss.

* 'Screen door slams, something, somethiiing' - if there's anything worse than someone bellowing the lyrics to your favourite song in your earhole at a gig, it's someone bellowing the wrong lyrics to your favourite song in your earhole at a gig. Should the iconic opening chords to 'Thunder Road' kick in at Croker as they did in Madison Square Garden recently, excited chatting and singing along is, of course, to be expected. Just remember, people have paid to listen to the Boss, not some out-of-tune Southsider in double denim.

* Thousands of Irish people are living in crippling fear of "goldfish syndrome" - at least that's the only logical explanation for the distracting sea of red dots you see at virtually every gig you go to nowadays. According to Aiken Promotions, "video cameras and audio devices will not be permitted" at the River Tour this weekend. Well, good luck trying to stop the usual planks from recording the whole thing on their jumbo iPad Pro. As for the rest of us true fans, we'll be using our eyes, not our 'i'.

* Just Because The Night belongs to lovers, it doesn't mean that the gig does too. Admittedly, with the world's most famous HOF (that's 'Hotter Over Fifty', to the uninitiated) rocking out in his signature sprayed-on T-shirt on stage, libidos are likely to be running unusually high at Croke Park this weekend. But spare a thought for the singletons in the stands by keeping Public Displays of Affection to a minimum. As a simple rule of thumb: cuddling's OK, straddling - no way.

* Let's get the controversial 'kids at concerts' one out of the way. Officially, under-14s aren't allowed on the pitch at the concert, while under-16s are supposed to be accompanied by an adult at all times. But that's unlikely to stop some hipster parents here bringing their tots to see someone old enough to be their great-great-grandfather. At the risk of channelling Victor Meldrew, if your littlie has to wear noise-cancelling headphones, they probably shouldn't be there in the first place.

* It's the nightmare scenario that the hashtag #ShortPeopleProblems was practically invented for: you rock up to the gig of the year and get prime position, only for a veritable giant to stand right in front of you. Now, before anyone gets their (very) long johns in a twist, we're not for a second suggesting that supersized people should stay at home rewatching 'The Ties That Bind'. Simply that they ask themselves 'what would Bruce do?' and give right of way to shortstops where possible.

* Say "Do 'Born in the USA'!" again, we dare you, we double dare you, guitar-plucker. Despite being clearly labelled 'The River Tour', fans of the 1980 album are sure to be dreading sitting next to the one numpty who's expecting Springsteen's greatest hits. Although he's been reeling out favourites like 'Dancing in the Dark' at other dates around the world, remember this is the concert of a lifetime, not some cheap 20-cent jukebox in Eddie Rocket's - and save the requests for the DJ at Coppers after.

* Why, oh why, is it always the person sitting right in the middle of the row who seems to have the weakest bladder? Beer runs in the middle of 'Born to Run' are no better. So for once, can we agree to leave the E Street Shuffle to the guys on stage, and avoid unnecessarily clambering over fellow concert-goers please? It's simple: go to the loo before you leave the house and avoid tanking up during the gig. After that, unless you're nine-months pregnant, hold it in!

* Between the bulging backpack, folding beach chair and oversized banner, you can spot a personal space invader a mile off at any of this summer's hottest outdoor gigs. Don't become one of them by leaving any non-essential stuff at home. While we're at it, keep your second-hand smoke to yourself too. Even though it flies in the face of the previous 'no clambering over people' rule, nicotine addicts get a special dispensation to visit one of the designated smoking areas at GAA HQ - within reason.

Irish Independent

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