It's time for another round of, "Sit or Stand," the endless debate on proper concert etiquette. The issue returned Saturday at the Warren Community Amphitheatre for the finale of the River Rock at the Amp Concert series featuring Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes.
Unlike the tribute bands that dominate the summer lineup, this was the real deal, and to help cover the costs for the national act, promoters Sunrise Entertainment sold gold and silver VIP tickets with seating in the grassy area in front of the stage.
The problem is that the stage isn't elevated at the amphitheater, so if the folks at the front of the stage decide to stand and dance to the party music soundtrack provided by the Jukes, the ones behind them will have a hard time seeing. And those in the silver VIP seats actually may have had worse sightlines than those who opted for the $10 general admission tickets and sat halfway up in the amphitheater's bowl.
It resulted in at least one fistfight Saturday, one that was quickly broken up by, of all people, Jukes' frontman Southside Johnny Lyon.
To their credit, Sunrise founders Ken Haidaris and Marty Cohen already are looking for ways to improve the visibility for next summer, from using risers to create an elevated stage to changing the slope of the infield in front of the stage.
But no matter what they do, there are still going to be arguments and occasionally smackdowns between those who wanna dance and those who are going to object to anyone standing between them and the stage.
In this case, I have to side with the dancers.
Now, I'm a strong believer in showing respect for your fellow concertgoers and believe that the venue and the style of music should dictate behavior. No one should stand up at a Warren Philharmonic Orchestra concert, throw devil horns in the air and yell, "Yo, 'Bolero'! That's my jam!"
But this is Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. One of the top three songs associated with the band is its cover of Sam Cooke's "We're Havin' a Party," and havin' a party doesn't mean sitting on your hands and softly tapping your toes.
Lyon clearly was playing to the dancers who gathered at each end of the gold VIP seats. Not only did he seem to want folks up and moving, he didn't mind when their moving occasionally brought them up on stage with him (on more than one occasion, he discouraged security from chasing off overly exuberant fans).
The band has been providing the soundtrack for summer parties for more than 35 years. That also means many of its fans are in their 40s, 50s and 60s, and there comes a point with folks of a certain age where comfort takes priority over rockin' out.
I get that. I'm 51. And when your knees are supporting as much weight as mine do, I'm not channeling Bill Clinton when I say, "I feel your pain."
But I prefer general admission shows where the folks up front aren't the ones with the most money or the best connections. They're the ones who want to be there the most, who get there early and stake their spot, knowing it will mean standing for several hours and foregoing multiple bar and bathroom trips in order to keep that spot.
At 6-foot-4, I can see over most crowds. Someone a foot shorter might be reading this and thinking, "I bet he'd feel different if he was my height."
Maybe. But there are pluses and minuses with every situation. On airplanes, in theaters with no leg room, in basements with low ceilings, it - to quote a song from the musical "Avenue Q" - sucks to be me.
If you want to go to rock concerts but you don't want to stand, it sucks to be you.
Andy Gray is the entertainment writer for the Tribune Chronicle. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.