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Why does the audience keep throwing objects at singers?

The problem of rude spectators, from Taylor Swift to Baby K

Why does the audience keep throwing objects at singers? The problem of rude spectators, from Taylor Swift to Baby K

The fan who threw a drink at Cardi B last weekend while the rapper was performing on stage in Las Vegas did not expect the artist to respond to her throw with as much violence, but Cardi B did not hesitate long before taking aim and shooting her microphone towards her head. The case involving the New York rapper, now sued for battery by the show attendee, is just the latest of multiple assaults suffered by artists and singers on stage. In recent months, throwing objects at performers seems to have become the public's new favourite pastime, a trend that has already resulted in several injuries and just as many complaints within the fan bases of some of the world's most famous music artists. From Harry Styles to Drake, Adele and now Baby K, who was just forced to cancel all tour dates following an incident with a fan at last Monday's show in Teramo, more and more singers are complaining about their audience's behaviours. Although once upon a time the chaos and rapture created during a concert seemed to be an integral part of the entertainment, and therefore an unshakable accessory of the experience, as when in the not so distant early 1900s it was fashionable to throw shabby tomatoes at actors - hence the name of the film review service, Rotten Tomatoes - recent examples of singers being hit by fans underline a clear lack of manners on the part of the post-pandemic public.

In addition to the case of Cardi B, the exaggerated fan and the microphone that now absurdly finds itself up for auction, this summer another American performer was hit by an airborne object, with far worse consequences than Cardi B.  Last June, during the New York concert of singer and songwriter Bebe Rexha, a spectator thought it was a good idea to throw his phone at her,  aiming it at the face of the artist who was hit in the eye and had to be stitched up and treated by the medical staff present at the scene. The person responsible was arrested, and stated that he thought the gesture «would be funny.» In the days following the arrest of this spectator, the same thing happened to Pink, in London, who found herself during both concerts in the English capital holding very strange objects, from a wheel of brie, the first night, to the ashes of the mother of one of her fans, the second. Among the episodes of unexpected and unfortunate throws in the case of world tours is that of Harry Styles, hit by candy in Los Angeles, a water bottle in Vienna, chicken nuggets in New York and a more gentle, but still potentially dangerous, bouquet of flowers in Cardiff, as well as that of Taylor Swift, the favourite target of the signature bracelets worn by Swifties during her shows. In this latest instance, however, diligent fans have stepped up to the plate and created a Concert Etiquette Guide.

@nssmagazine Cardi B’s thrown microphone is up for sale! The starting bid was 500$, but as we speak, bids have currently reached 50.000+ $ #cardib #microphone #ebay #incident #live #performance #cardibmicrophone #auction original sound - nss magazine

Artists are really getting worried about this alarming trend, so much so that they feel compelled to openly address their fans. Singer and producer Charlie Puth tried it the easy way, asking his Twitter followers to enjoy the show without hurting anyone, while British singer-songwriter Adele made things clear during a concert in Las Vegas. Armed with a t-shirt-shooting cannon, she declared: «Have you noticed how people are forgetting f-king show etiquette at the moment and just throwing sh-t onstage? Have you seen that? I f-king dare you, I dare you to throw something at me. I'll f-king kill you.» 

@adele.romania Adele about people throwing stuff at artists on stage #girlboss < #adele #foryoupage #viral #fypシ #fy #adelelive #adeletour #adelevegas #blowthisup Rolling in the Deep - Adele

It's really etiquette we're talking about, after all, because although the feeling of fear that has pervaded our society in 2020 has motivated many to learn to face each day with more optimism, recent studies show that people are less polite than before. Psychological research from the University of Calgary, published online in The Conversation, calls it Post-pandemic Rudeness, a cycle of frustration and resentment that we all share and that is most often found in people's interactions with each other, especially by customers in relax and leisure spaces. In the case of concerts, there is also the adrenalin rush that takes spectators by storm when they see their idols, and the resulting energy rush driving them to act impulsively and irrationally to try and interact with them. Knowing how to establish a strong emotional relationship with one's listeners is necessary for an artist's success, but when the response elicited is violence, how should one behave? It's one thing to go mosh at a Slipknot show, it's another to go hear Taylor Swift sing Love Story.