The thing about live performances…

Over at different strings, Kriselda called my attention to a recent lawsuit brought by four concert-goers against the band Creed. According to the MSNBC report on the suit, filed on April 22 in Chicago for the events which occurred at the December 29, 2002 concert:

“…the plaintiffs alleged lead singer Scott Stapp… ‘was so intoxicated and/or medicated that he was unable to sing the lyrics of a single Creed song.’
“‘Instead,’ they said, ‘during the Creed Concert, Stapp left the stage on several occasions during several songs for long periods of time, rolled around on the floor of the stage in apparent pain or distress, and appeared to pass out on stage during the performance,’ the suit reads.”

I’m looking at a little raffia basket full of the 300-400 ticket stubs my wife and I have accumulated in the 20 years we’ve been together. Most of those stubs are for music events: concerts and nightclub shows. When you go to that many shows, you get all kinds of experiences, from the transcendent(Luna at Irving Plaza) to the abysmal (Smashing Pumpkins at Lollapalooza, Randalls Island, NY in 1994) to the so-bad-it’s-brilliant (Johnny Thunders at the Cat Club, NYC). The thing is: you never know what you’re gonna get.

What did these litigious concert-goers get for their money? They got a show. They got a 2-hour car-wreck of a show. They got a glimpse of the performer as a fallible human, not a mechanical jukebox. They got to watch the rest of the band — and it is a band — attempt to soldier on through their mate’s antics. They lived through an experience, which — while it wasn’t what they’d bargained for — was certainly memorable, certainly something which will stick with them for the rest of their lives.

And what do they do? They sue. They sue because the concert didn’t meet their expectations. They sue because the live performance wasn’t of high enough quality. To which I say: if you want perfection, play the fucking CD at home and save your money, and the court’s time, and the livelihoods of the venue owners and employees. Save everyone the trouble and stay in your living room and when the CD is over, press “Play” again and the performance will be exactly the same as you expected.

Because… what’s next for these plaintiffs and their attorney? When they attend a Broadway play and the star’s understudy plays the role, will they sue? When they go to the baseball game and the star player is on the disabled list, will they sue? When they take the kids to the zoo and the pandas aren’t frisky, will they sue? Is this a whole new practice area for their attorney’s firm? Or is it just another punchline to a lawyer joke?

(And all this about a band with a large Christian-rock following. I know nothing about the plaintiffs’ religious background, but I wonder: did these idiots even stop to think that this is probably a sick man on that stage? Did they pause in their self-righteous arrogance for a second to give this man maybe a little understanding, a little brotherly love, a little forgiveness, a little tolerance?)

I just hope a judge with a smidgen of common sense tosses this case before it really gets started.