We went to the Evanescence concert at the Rave in Milwaukee. Though Amy Lee proved she is an incredibly talented singer and the band did a great job, we would have had a better time at home listening to a CD. Even my daughter and niece, both teens who love this band, were disappointed and anxious to leave.
The Rave has three or four rooms. The one that Evanescence played in was huge. There is no seating there; you have to stand. I didn't think this would be a problem because we had been at an all-standing venue the week before to see Good Charlotte. I didn't realize that the Rave was substantially larger.
Security was so intent on preventing cameras from coming in that they checked purses and sometimes frisked people to make sure they weren't carrying one. Nevermind that cell phones are allowed, and that cell phones nowadays can be used to take pictures and video. More to the point, nevermind all the stuff they allowed to go on there.
While cameras are prohibited, underage drinking is not. They do check IDs, but the bar is at one end of the floor and once a patron has bought his beer, he can take it to all of his underage friends.
Forget, too, about the sign that says that the singer has requested no smoking, absolutely no exceptions. The room was foggy with smoke. Note a couple of things here; we were on the second floor, and both exits led to a stairwell. People were smoking and flicking the ashes on the wooden floor, a floor slippery with alcohol. Now I understand why you hear of places like this going up in flames.
It was not only a fire hazard, it was a hazard in other ways, too. My daughter was almost burned by a fan dancing in packed quarters while waving her cigarette. I'm sure other patrons weren't lucky enough to avoid the burning end of the cigarette.
My daughter and niece were offered illegal drugs there....but it sure was important to keep cameras out. The sexual activity made me feel like people were coming here because it was cheaper than a hotel room, despite the fact that there were kids there who were a lot younger than my daughter.
Our teens got as close as they could but still had difficulty seeing the band. If I had realized how bad things would get, we would've stayed together and probably left early.
My sister-in-law and I were standing way in the back, and even there we were constantly pushed. Every time I thought I could get into the music, somebody would bump into me. They obviously weren't trying to get closer; we were already way in the back. They were walking by us to get to the beer.
Contrast this to Station 4 in St. Paul, where we had seen Good Charlotte the previous weekend. Station 4 was small enough that you could stand in the back and still see the band well. It was more like being invited to a private concert. The non-smoking policy was enforced. There was a bar, but you had to show ID and remain in the bar; at least, I'm guessing they made patrons stay there because I saw no drinking on the main floor. The bar was in a clearly separated area.
Interestingly, they weren't threatened by cameras. We got some good pictures there.
I learned a lot from this. I'm checking the venue wherever I go. I don't mind if it's large as long as there are seats so I'm not pushed and shoved while trying to get into the music. If it's a standing venue like at Station 4, I'll make sure it's small. All other venues I'll avoid.
When my daughter goes on tour, she plans to stick to smaller venues, too. She was so impressed with Good Charlotte and the way they met with all their fans. You can't realistically do that at the larger places but you can at places like Station 4. She also realizes that she doesn't want her fans leaving as disappointed as she left the Evanescence concert.
This is an example of a way in which bad things can become positive. We now know a lot more about what we need when touring in the future. In addition, instead of omplaining to the Rave (which would've probably been ineffective) I wrote an email to Station 4.
If you're an Evanescence fan and can attend a concert at a decent location, I would encourage you to go. Amy Lee is exceptionally talented. What a shame that we were in the same room as someone of her caliber and couldn't enjoy it.