My Indigo Girls Concert Experience

Here it comes, the rant that has been boiling up inside of me since last Wednesday… The Indigo Girls concert left me experiencing the many stages of grief that I can only accredit to the strange ambiance of the overly stubborn crowd.

First came the denial, are there really CHAIRS covering the floor of the Vic? The floor that is meant for raving, dancing, serenading, or whatever feels good when you hear those first melodic notes that instantly bring you back to sitting with your first crush on a summer night. While Kathy G and I were both taken back, questioning the layout and finding anywhere that could spare a couple feet for us to watch, we found a small group of people standing excitedly in the front few rows. Who knew, maybe these women were just waiting for the perfect song to stand up and let all those memories of all their younger gay years loose. It started to feel like a concert…..Until suddenly, out of left field, we are loudly scolded, actually screamed at, by a woman sitting a few rows back. I turned around with a smile and a nod conveying the fact that we are at a concert, we will not be sitting, and because I am a nice Minnesota girl I will move a bit to the side to accommodate your angry ass. Little hiccup, and back to the tunes.

And then the anger came from within.

I was in my very early teens when I first saw the Indigo girls. My mom, my aunt and her partner took me to not only the first, but the first two Lillith Fairs. Yep, they guessed me right! Even though many of the women in my generation don’t have nearly as much of an emotional connection to The Indigo Girls, their music has always brought me back to a zone of comfort, in being myself, and letting the music help guide you. How could I possibly be angry when I am surrounded by nostalgia and good friends? Still standing as to enjoy the $45 tickets, I feel drops of liquid. Sure it was the balcony, we look up, and brush it off turning back to the show. And then it happens again. While my friends looked back up to the balcony, I turn around and see Angry Annie, the woman who previously received a courteous smile, drink in hand, laughing and pointing at me with her partner. Enough? Nope! She sprayed again, this time I caught her.

Speechless in my pissy state of mind, I just didn’t understand why she was being such a bitch. I mean, doesn’t she remember being young, screaming the words “Shame on You”, secretly crushing on the girl next to you while you found your inner hippy? Apparently not. In fact as I looked around, nobody was really into it. As I moved into the stage of bargaining, I looked around the room. I wasn’t going to have a pissing match with this woman who had no idea why I was there. I wasn’t there to be criticized for being young and excited to experience something that really helped transform the lives of women decades ago. I did something completely out of character. I walked away from it – and instead of starting a riot, I headed to the back bar where I found Kathy and plenty of room to dance. She shook her head in disbelief and we continued to experience the amazing concert from the cave under the balcony.

Then came the depression, with no one to dance with and angry women in the concert magic zone, we cozied up to the bar. It was seriously disappointing. I know that a crowd can determine the show’s overall value, and somehow I let it completely distract me from why I was there. Instead of feeling lighthearted and slightly sunburned like I did so many years ago, I felt stifled and a bit damp. In fact, I didn’t even want to sing and dance anymore, I was next to the damn bathrooms. A few $10 dollar drinks later and I was able to segue into stage of acceptance.

As we left the venue, I was over it. These women and I had completely different experiences with the music. I was 11, figuring myself out, lucky to have a liberal enough family to take me to such a lesbian breeding music festival. It was a time in my life when I was carefree, no one was telling me who I was or what I needed to be. I felt like I was free, and could do anything, just like all of the women around me. I know that a lot of the women who were directly affected by the actions of the Indigo Girls were not lucky enough to live their youth completely accepted. There was no L Word, there was no L Stop and there was no It Gets Better. I realized that this music does mean a lot to me, but its true function was something revolutionary to these women, something different, something I have to respect- whether or not I am dancing.

The grief may be coming from the standpoint that the things that bring us together now are bars and reality TV. These things don’t even bring us together as a single community- as I found at the concert. Older women did not act cordially towards the younger crowd whatsoever. Maybe if they knew that the women I was around are activists, politicians and old souls, they would think otherwise. Instead I felt like they looked at us like a joke- a group of young dykes out to get drunk and do who knows what. I held off the writing of this piece because I am still a bit taken aback. Is this anything that can even be addressed? All I want to know is why there is this disparity that we have seen between generations and why anyone thinks it could possibly be productive.

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About Lauren

Lauren was born and raised in South Minneapolis and like many other innocent midwesterners got sucked into the black hole of Chicago politics 4 years ago. As the LGBT Coordinator for the Gery Chico for Mayor Campaign she attempted to take on the entire city and hasn’t looked back since. Now working for a communications firm, she spends her extra time running around with cases of PBR playing in different sports leagues, hosting couchsurfers from all over the place, and deciding how she is going to change the world. A simple lady at her core, she has decided that the first person to send her an edible arrangement must be the one.


4 Responses to “My Indigo Girls Concert Experience”

  1. O M G Lauren — the old debate..sit or stand at a concert – sorry man – but if it ain’t chamber music – this old girl is not only standing – she is rocking and singing and laughing and getting her $$$’s worth….let loose ladies — life is short.

    Posted by K Guzman | November 16, 2011, 8:56 am
  2. You’ve touched on something that I think goes beyond generation gaps — something I refer to as the “impenetrable dyke clic.” That is, why are we lesbians so exclusive — and, as you experienced — sometimes downright nasty to each other — when out in public? It’s something that really gets me down about our community.

    Posted by Val | November 16, 2011, 9:34 am
  3. I think it would be great, especially at shows where the audience demographic ranges so wildly, for there to be both sitting and standing sections. The Vic easily could have kept the front half of the room chair-free and put chairs in the back, raised half for people who can’t or don’t want to stand. Or vice versa. Yeah, it’s a rock show, but I don’t think it’s fair that someone who pays $40~ for a ticket doesn’t get to see the show because they aren’t able to stand up. And some people just can’t! Bad backs, etc. Not every venue can accommodate both sitters and standers, but the Vic could.

    Posted by Lisa | November 16, 2011, 11:22 am
  4. It’s also very true that the crowd makes the show! I hope the Indigo Girls weren’t discouraged by lack of excitement from our Chicago crowds.

    Posted by Vivian | November 16, 2011, 1:09 pm

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