Innocent Boston symphony turns into bloody free-for-all

Island Packet — It’s happened to all of us — you’re at the symphony, you’re having a good time, you’re enjoying music, wine, calming light fixtures and, like, culture or whatever, and then, before too long, you start thinking about how great it would be to punch some loser in the mouth.

Such things are par for the course when you attend the symphony — murderous violence, after all, has been a part of the experience ever since classical music was invented in 1894.

But the symphony-pummeling epidemic only grew worse last week when two concertgoers at opening night of a Boston Pops concert got into a scrum of some kind up in the balcony — pfft, it’s always the balcony people — and had to be thrown out.

Of the symphony.

Thrown out of the symphony.

By cops, probably. Or really stern-looking volunteer ticket takers in wacky hats.

This is the greatest example of near-cannibalistic savagery at a high-art function I’ve heard about since the time I started that broad-ax fight at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

I’m just kidding, of course — I mean, have you ever been thrown out of a symphony? Do you realize how difficult it is to get thrown out of a symphony? It is NOT EASY! These are not exactly people with itchy, trigger-finger tempers! Even if you, hypothetically, bring a bucket of BBQ chicken wings and a six-pack of Old Style (listen, I like my symphony with cajun-spice wings and domestic beer — shoot me), most of the time they’ll just sit there and eye you suspiciously, their monocles occasionally falling out of their eyes, harrumphing in disgust but never actually DOING anything.

No, to get kicked out of the symphony, you either have to beat the woodwinds out of a guy, throw a tuba around or grab the conductor’s wand and start waving it around to comical excess, which will cause the orchestra to begin playing really really fast, as anyone who’s ever seen Bugs Bunny will attest.

“The first time there was a scream, (conductor) Keith (Lockhart) looked up that way but he kept going,” Boston audience member and potential accomplice June MacIndoe told The Media. “Then about a minute and a half later … there was a big scream and you could hear chairs falling over and you could see them up there, fists going.” Luckily, each punch was accompanied by a hilarious cymbal crash and a toot from the bassoon. (Video of the Boston massacre is available on the Internet, but I warn you, it’s just minute after minute of stomach-churning gore. Seriously, if “Hostel” had cellos, it would look like this).

Anyway, once the violence began, things degenerated pretty quickly: Thousands were injured, many tubas were bent, local hospitals tended to too many reed-stabbing victims to count and martial law was briefly put into effect before riot gear and the four National Guard units not in Iraq were brought in to dispense tear gas and, later, light hors d’oeuvres.

Listen, we all know it’s not a good idea to go to live concerts anymore, what with the violence, traffic, drugs and possibility of getting clocked in the skull with a flying sousaphone. It’s a weird and increasingly dangerous world out there. Please, in the future, stick to concerts by safe, family-friendly acts, like 50 Cent or Lynyrd Skynyrd. At least those people know to hire security.


About Jeff Vrabel

My writing has appeared in GQ, Men’s Health, Success, the Washington Post, the official, Indianapolis Monthly, Billboard, Modern Bride and more. View all posts by Jeff Vrabel

One response to “Innocent Boston symphony turns into bloody free-for-all

  • David


    … No, wait – “First!”

    Very many funnies for you. Well written. The last link was the best – now I’ve got Shiner on my flatscreen. Thanks.

    My one complaint? I remember broad *swords* from D&D, but I think you made broad axes up.


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