Sit or Stand: Adele Incident Sparks Debate About Audience Etiquette

A seemingly innocuous incident at an Adele show at Caesars Palace has garnered worldwide news coverage and serves as a reminder we’re witnessing the collapse of civilization.

Onstage, Adele reprimanded members of the security team at the Colosseum for “bothering” an audience member.

The audience member, Juan Lastra, was dancing and singing, using a selfie stick. Security alerted him to the fact people behind him were annoyed. Adele stopped the show during her song, “Water Under the Bridge,” to give security a very public scolding.

Do we have to say if something’s A.I.? Asking for a friend.

Here’s video of Adele giving security the what-for from the stage.

Here’s Juan Lastra’s video on TikTok, which has now been seen by 2.6 million people.

Adele said into the mic, “What is going on there with that young fan who’s been bothered so much since I came on? For standing up? Why are you all bothering him? Can you leave him alone, please? They won’t bother you anymore, darling. You enjoy the show. Leave him alone.”

On the surface, it appeared to be a simple case of security trying to impress upon the audience member he was bothering the people behind him.

We jumped on Twitter defending the security team, as we assumed it was their mandate to inform disruptive audience members when they’re ruining the show for others.

Sorry about the rough language, but it’s Twitter (yes, we still call it that, Elon Musk is not the boss of us) and we are very passionately “sit down and shut up” at shows.

The reaction to our Tweet was swift and mixed. We learned a lot from the ensuing conversation, to put it mildly.

We had no idea people in theaters equipped with seats stand up so much during performances, honestly. We also had no idea this whole realm is the subject of much debate, but it is. The battle between sitters and standers, and singers and STFU advocates has apparently raged for some time.

Here’s a great story in USA Today that addresses this issue. And by “great,” of course, we mean the writer agrees with us completely. Related: “It’s one thing to take a quick photo with a friend before or after the concert, shoot a short video of a treasured song, or rip off a text during a show–I admit to doing all of those things when the environment is appropriate. But the endless filming, view-blocking and selfie-taking has become so customary, we’ve resigned ourselves to accept it.”

When did interfering with the enjoyment of a show become socially acceptable? We missed the memo.

The question of a possible generational disconnect was raised in another Tweet. Apparently, the Colosseum not only allows, but encourages, guests to stand during performances.

That sound you hear is our brain imploding.

We were not aware the Colosseum encourages people to stand during shows (and we’re not sure the policy is in effect for every performer), but this policy pretty much guarantees we’ll never attend one there.

Here’s the messaging that appears on Ticketmaster.

Venues are clearly trying to avoid fisticuffs breaking out between audience members. They’re just doing it wrong.

After the online kerfuffle broke out, we posted a quick survey to see if we’re insane.

The survey results are a mixed bag, with about a quarter of respondents saying they’d sit, nearly 60% saying they’d stand and the rest having no opinion, which is possibly the weirdest part of the survey. It’s worth noting the survey was evenly balanced between sitting and standing until Adele’s fans got wind of the survey, then it quickly skewed toward support of standing.

The data clearly shows about 25% of audiences at shows are pissed off. Specifically, those who want to sit (the polite, intelligent, empathetic, self-aware people) while others are standing.

We would never pay to attend a live show if it involved: 1) someone blocking our view of the performer, or 2) other audience members screaming the music we’ve paid to see performed by, you know, a professional performer.

If you want to sing along to your favorite song, find a karaoke lounge. If you want to stand and dance, go to a music festival or other venue where there are no seats.

How is this behavior, which we’d describe as selfish dipshittery, enjoyable for anyone?

This is definitely A.I. If it weren’t, this person’s hair would be full of our gummy bears.

In the case of the Adele brouhaha, how does a performer scold members of the venue’s own security team for trying to make the experience more enjoyable for other audience members?

If people in the audience are encouraged to dance (as verbiage on signs and tickets suggests), why would security try to intervene in the first place?

We’d love to hear your thoughts.

We are clearly biased, as we are easily annoyed, and have pretty much stopped going anywhere people gather due to the high levels of discourteous behavior so prevalent in American society.

Movie theaters are dying because of this same phenomenon. Yes, that’s also happening because most movies suck, but, also, people are on their phones constantly and holding full conversations during movies.

We’ve written before about the rapid decline of common courtesy (exacerbated by the pandemic), which might make us sound a little like Andy Rooney, a person you’ve probably never heard of if you’re one of the people who thinks it’s cool to block the view of audience members sitting behind you at a Las Vegas show.

If standing and singing during shows is as common as it seems, ranting against this trend is like whistling in a wind tunnel. It’s a shame venues have apparently caved to what, in a civilized society, would be considered egregious behavior.

We’d love to hear your take, especially if it’s similar to ours. You know, the right one.

Update (8/31/23): The perfect illustration of the end of civility was posted in the comments of this story.

We will refrain from identifying the music lover who posted this passionate opinion. We’re all doomed.


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