How America Killed the Live Event

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PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) -- Oct. 3 was apparently Freelance Psychotherapist Night at the Newmark Theater here in Portland. Somebody really should have told Fiona Apple this before she got on stage.

It wasn't really an issue until about the tail end of the singer's performance, when one of the clearly trained professionals in question opted to waive her fee and offer Apple some advice free of charge: "Fiona! Get Healthy! We Want To See You In 10 Years!"

Her colleagues, apparently not sharing the same view of Apple's aesthetic tells as this particular woman, lustily advised her to cram a notebook in it. Apple, for her part, made a simple request -- peppered with colorful adjectives -- to have the house lights brought up so she could see this woman being ejected from the room. That chafed against professional ethic of yet another of the theater's ubiquitous therapists on hand, who implied that Apple's best days may be behind her, remarking that "I saw you 20 years ago and you were beautiful."

As early and unexpected therapy sessions often do, this got the better of Apple's emotions and forced her from the stage after a rendition of "Waltz (Better Than Fine)" before her allotted hour was up. What did she take away from her windfall of free life lessons: That she'd just endured a "historically stupid night" and that she's "not going to try to convince someone I'm healthy."

Since there are a few people in this town who've now doled out their painstakingly detailed and researched analysis and received nothing in return -- not even thanks for what they know to be a good deed -- let us repay the favor with some advice of our own: Just shut it. Seriously, shut up. The price you willingly paid for a ticket -- no matter how high it might have been -- entitles you only to the performance and, perhaps, a seat. Nobody else who paid that same price did so to hear your thoughts on the proceedings or any other interjection you may have on hand.

In this forum, your words are worthless -- of no value whatsoever. Even worse, they only diminish the value of the tickets being held within earshot of you and do irreparable damage to the live concert experience in general. In fact, they so degrade the communal experience in general that they turn other patrons away in droves each year.