February 18, 2014
We’re a little early, so we grab a few overpriced drinks as we take our seats in the beautiful Majestic Theater in Dallas to watch the much-anticipated Neutral Milk Hotel reunion tour. Two drunk men stand in front of us as the crowd trickles in, taking obscenely. The groups sitting around them are obviously as annoyed as I am, so when none of the speak up, I ask the men to sit down as Elf Power, Part of the Elephant 6 Collective, takes the stage to open the show. They refuse to take their seats, so I approach security who encourages the men to sit down. After debate, the men concede, fidgeting.
Just as Elf Power reaches the last verse of their first song, the men rush the stage and start to pull the covers off the instruments, already onstage, for the Neutral Milk Hotel performance. Eventually, other security guards catch up with them.
“Does anyone know who those guys where?” Andrew Rieger says to laughter.
“Way to waste a bunch of fucking money,” Jimmy Hughes says to applause.
Though I was glad they left, several things bothered me. Why would they rush the stage on the first song of the first band? Did they not have the consideration to at least wait until the headliner like everyone else? Plus, the guitarist had it right, it is a waste of money- and these guys didn’t look like they had any more money to burn.
The disrespect of the audience continued into Neutral Milk Hotel as many took photos despite hundreds of posters saying there would be no photos at the request of the musician. Before Mangum took the stage, an announcement reiterated the point. Within the first five minutes, audience members flashed dozens of photos while security guards, like the woman who let the drunkards rush the stage, commenced engaging in vicious stare downs with venue guests.
The musicians handled each instance perfectly and the music was excellently performed- I just wish Jeff Mangum had allowed photography, even without the flash. I want to remember the sights and sounds of the concert of a lifetime, but will have to do with a few flash-less photos snapped unknowingly to security.