A few small steps off the stage, one giant leap over the cliff for concert etiquette.
That was the resounding consensus from the nearly 130 comments left on a short item we ran last week about Grateful Dead legend and Mill Valley resident Bob Weir walking off the stage of the Sweetwater Music Hall in the face of unrelenting crowd chatter.
Weir, who was playing a solo acoustic set prior to a performance by his new Ratdog Quartet, walked off angrily in the middle of a rendition of Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall” on March 4. Weir had asked those engaged in extended conversation if he was interrupting them, and then said, "OK I give up. I'll be back up later with an electric band and we'll be loud enough and that will be that."
Weir was evidently still frustrated with those in the crowd who would not stay quiet, as he shouted “Shut the f**k up,” (see videos above) in the middle of the encore rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Knocking On Heaven’s Door.”
Tens of thousands of people clicked on the story, which set off a debate about a number of things, from whether Weir was justified in walking off to other examples of artists reaching the breaking point onstage.
But people mostly wanted to talk about who was to blame, and they weren't shy in spelling out the culprits. Some thought it was local residents:
John Brown wrote that "MV has been overrun with ***hole/frat boy investment bankers and attorneys, along with their Stepford wives and evil little spawn."
Julie wrote, "I think that in Mill Valley there is an enormous level of entitlement. By this I mean that I've gotten the impression that people here in town feel that they can behave in any way they want, whenever they want. Apparently this spills over into their behavior during a live performance, that even they have paid for!"
According to Melody, it was "Ignorant, arrogant yuppie scum. They wouldn't know great music if it smacked them in their investment portfolios."
Others said the chatter came from out-of-towners. Hannah wrote, "This is completely not an issue of 'Mill Valley entitlement.' A lot of the audience was from out of town anyway."
Mickey Mouth said, "More indications that the new generations are becoming a nation of self-centered jerks with no respect for others. Narcissism reigns."
And Fred Glave blamed hip-hop: "People today have no clue what music is. They've been inundated with rap, hip hop and the culture that goes with it to the point where this is what's to be expected. This is the way people are now. Pretty soon the word respect will not even be a word in the dictionary.
Jake Owens brought politics into the fray: "Because people in California are rude. It was not like that back in the 70's 80's. The good people left Cali in the 90's. Now it is all liberal."
Brian O provided a little bit of relevant Grateful Dead history to the dialogue: "As the Dead were between songs many eons ago and building up to 'Cosmic Charlie' a loud audience member hollered: 'Make it loud!' Garcia's reply was 'Get f***ed.' I'm glad that Bob Weir is carrying on a great tradition of telling a**hats to shut up."
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