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The Pretenders & Blondie Concert – Over Zealous Security

Buggles 15 December 2010 20

Just back from a sensational Pretenders & Blondie show at the Royal Theatre, however the atmosphere of the evening was spoilt by the anally retentive behaviour of the hired security company.

Observations this evening included:

1) People in the upper section using their mobile phones to either send text messages or update Facebook statuses, told off under suspicion of taking photos. Very difficult considering the distance from the stage.

2) People in the upper section wishing to have a dance in front of the seat they paid good money for, told in a not so friendly fashion within seconds of standing up, to plant their butt back in the seat it came from.

3) A fan during a slow song during the Pretenders performance using their mobile phone to wave from side to side, the way we did when we all had cigarette lighters in the 80s, told to cease doing so.

4) One particular security gentlemen seeming to charge like a ‘bull at a gate’ with arms waving at any person that stood up and walked down the stairs in his general direction, with the intention of the person clearly being to exit the venue, obviously to visit the gents or ladies, or purchase a beverage.

In the past there has been a lot said of why the big name acts on many occasions bypass Canberra, given what I witnessed tonight, I’m sure there are people out there that will in future think twice about going to shows at the Royal Theatre (which all said and done is a fantastic venue) given the over zealous behaviour by the hired security

Am unsure of regulations in terms of security in the ACT, but these individuals did not as I have often seen at other venues around town also adorn a badge with a number. Can anyone shed any light on rules and regulations in this regard


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20 Responses to The Pretenders & Blondie Concert – Over Zealous Security
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Swaggie Swaggie 10:10 am 15 Dec 10

Fully agree with #2 if there were people behind. Midnight Oil’s one off gig in Canberra was memorable for me by some cretin deciding to block everyone’s view of the stage by standing up and doing his impression of Pete Garrett. A little consideration for the people sat behind you is appreciated.

Erg0 Erg0 10:18 am 15 Dec 10

Sounds like they were a bit quick off the mark, though they weren’t exactly beating people with sacks full of doorknobs. I rate standing up when nobody else is and Facebooking/SMSing on your mobile phone during the performance as two of the more annoying habits of fellow concert-goers, so I support anything that curbs such behaviour.

ConanOfCooma ConanOfCooma 10:40 am 15 Dec 10

I’ve seen some mega-names in music in the last few years, in Sydney, and never once have I been prevented from using a phone or camera, even to take pictures from my awesome front row vantage point.

Marilyn Manson even posed.

John Moulis John Moulis 11:16 am 15 Dec 10

The Royal Theatre is a hole. Very badly designed and a disaster if you want to see performers rather than just hear them. Earlier this year we saw Lee Kernaghan, the first time we’d ever been there. We booked early so expected to get good seats. Instead we were seated in a level pit area in front of the stage on cheap plastic seats with rows of others in front of us. As soon as the rows in front began filling, our views were completely blocked. We complained to an attendant and asked for some decent seats. We were directed to seats in the tiered seating on the extreme side of the theatre far away from the stage. We should have brought our binoculars. After that we resolved that we would never again attend an event at the Royal Theatre.

EvanJames EvanJames 11:22 am 15 Dec 10

How times change. I saw The Pretenders at the old Canberra Theatre years ago, people could stand up the front at the stage, I was right up against it. I got a drumstick! That was back when Pete Farndon and James Honeyman-Scott were still alive (just).

In those days, security were the roadies.

Pommy bastard Pommy bastard 11:33 am 15 Dec 10

1) People in the upper section using their mobile phones to either send text messages or update Facebook statuses, told off under suspicion of taking photos. Very difficult considering the distance from the stage.

“Hey yah, hi sweetheart, how are you. I’m at a Blondie and Pretenders concert actually. Yah, v.good. Lots of people here trying to have a bop, but security are V.heavy. Lots of zimmer frames have been knocked over and stuff. False teeth all over the place. Hmmm…hang about got a tweet coming in. It’s from Frank. He’s in the front row, trying to get a look up Debbie Harry’s surgical stockings. Oh Yah, better update my facebook status, wait a mo. “At a Blondie and Pretenders concert actually, yah.” It doesn’t do to let that slip does it? Where are you? Oh you’re here too, got good seats? I’m trying to sneak a picture of the stage on my camera. Hang about??!? Hell, they’ve finished and gone off!! Were they any good?”

ConanOfCooma ConanOfCooma 11:53 am 15 Dec 10

Pommy bastard said :

…trying to get a look up Debbie Harry’s surgical stockings.

Makes me sad.

She was one hot gal back in the day.

schmeah schmeah 12:11 pm 15 Dec 10

Sure – who goes to a concert to spend all night on facebook, but that doesn’t mean the security have to be so heavy handed with anyone needing to make a phone call or waste time on social networking.

Plastic seating, poor views, binoculars needed – sounds like a venue best avoided.

I haven’t done that much theatre in Canberra, but I did see Tim Minchin at the Canberra Theatre, and while I didn’t have the best seats; they were comfortable, well tiered and I’d imagine even the folks on the back row wouldn’t have had a problem with their view.

gospeedygo gospeedygo 1:21 pm 15 Dec 10

I don’t get people who film concerts using mobile phones. Who would want a distorted, shaky and fuzzy video of a concert? Seem like concert bootlegging has gone backwards.

Kerryhemsley Kerryhemsley 1:29 pm 15 Dec 10

1) People in the upper section using their mobile phones to either send text messages or update Facebook statuses, told off under suspicion of taking photos. Very difficult considering the distance from the stage.

Yeah well “Video Killed the Radio Star” Buggles

It always amazes me how many people will line up and pay good money for bands that were in their prime in the early 80s.

Grail Grail 1:52 pm 15 Dec 10

For whatever curious reason, Canberra’s theatres are designed for theatre and stage performances (i.e.: plays, dance recitals). I remember back in the day we used to have kick-arse concerts at places like sports stadiums (indoor and outdoor). My experiences of music performances at theatre venues are all marred by theatre seating and lack of room to dance.

georgesgenitals georgesgenitals 1:54 pm 15 Dec 10

Sounds like security were being a bit silly. Most of the concerts I’ve been to were a lot more relaxed than than, including big names like Metallica, Def Leppard and Van Halen.

palndrumm palndrumm 2:42 pm 15 Dec 10

Makes an interesting contrast with the U2 concert in Sydney last night, where half the people around us seemed to watch the entire show through their mobile phones as they recorded it, and the crowd were even asked by the band to take out their phones and wave them in the air at one point…

dtc dtc 4:29 pm 15 Dec 10

its not real unless there are photos

Roadrage77 Roadrage77 5:29 pm 15 Dec 10

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for decent security at a concert. But hangin on the telephone like my cousin Maria did last night isn’t exactly tantamount to dropping an atomic bomb. It’s clear to me that some of these security guards have hearts of glass. One way or another, they’ll get their just desserts and I’ll stand by you if they ever try and stop your rapture.

I will now accept the trophy for worst post of 2010.

debsluvchild debsluvchild 5:37 pm 15 Dec 10

Seriously, who goes to a rock concert to sit down?

The first few dancers up the front were shuffled away by security. Thankfully, Chrissie Hynde wasn’t having any of that and called for everyone to get up. Without the crowds up and dancing the bands would have had little to feed off.

Security have always done this at the Royal Theatre, you’d think they would have learned after all these years….

Androyd Androyd 5:45 pm 15 Dec 10

Riotact has previously had concert reviews about the Royal Theatre being an enormous barn which sucks the life and atmosphere out of many performances!

That said, it was a good show last night (does anyone else here actually have concert review style comments, or just whinges and counterwhinges about security?). Both bands a bit more sedate than in their heyday, no surprise there, but Chrissie Hynde has still got the presence and the voice. Unusual to have a pedal steel player as part of the 5 piece band, it gave some songs a country tinge but in others gave a good howling slide guitar feel. Highlights included a rousing Middle of the Road and a lovely Hymn to Her, just Chrissie’s voice over pedal steel. Blondie did a lot of newish material, which is laudable at least in theory – a lot of the new stuff could have been off any Blondie album from last 30 years – but people were mostly there for the hits. Ms Harry ain’t as striking a presence as she was 30 years ago (who is?) but the voice was surprisingly strong and she was having fun. Clem Burke hyperactive on the drums, Chris Stein almost doing a Rick Brewster with stillness and stinging guitar lines, and 3 other generic competent players filling out the stage (some very 80s keyboard, even on the new stuff). Some self indulgent outros could have been trimmed, but otherwise they went off.

Felix the Cat Felix the Cat 9:03 pm 15 Dec 10

I didn’t get to Blondie amd Pretenders last night (past my bedtime plus my Zimmer frame was in the repair shop…) but previously I have seen George Thororogood perform there and he was great. I was close enough to touch him, not that I did or even wanted too and I don’t recall there being any over-zealous security guards.

Buggles Buggles 10:39 pm 15 Dec 10

As i said in my initial post, the show itself last night was sensational. Chrissie had the crowd pumping with a fine performance of her hits, whilst Blondie mixed in some new material with the best of the old in ‘Atomic’, ‘The Tide is High’, ‘Rapture’ and ‘Heart of Glass’

In terms of the venue itself I have no issue with it, and have been to many great shows there over the years, with some of the more memorable being Midnight Oil, Rob Thomas, Savage Garden and Bryan Adams. Given its size, its the perfect venue to see some of the these acts in a 2000 seat venue, where you get a great view, rather than say for example a 16000 seat Sydney Entertainment Centre.

In terms of security, I previously hadn’t noted anything beyond what I’d class as reasonable. Sure if someone is standing in an aisle incessantly, is video taping or recording an act (which is listed as a no no on the conditions of entry), or rushes the stage, sure I’d only expect security to do their job.

When though someone is simply sending a text message, perhaps given the age the crowd last night maybe to a babysitter to check on the kids at home, or gets up for a brief time to dance in front of their seat to a favorite song, does security need to be so anal. I respect the guys have a job to do, which can be a difficult one at times, but there is a difference between addressing what is a potential problem, and someone simply having an enjoyable night out seeing a show they’ve paid good money for.

Grrrr Grrrr 3:00 pm 16 Dec 10

Pay peanuts, get monkeys .. or pay a fortune for tickets and still get monkeys.

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