Monday, October 29, 2007
an open letter to the sears center
Since November 1 marks one year since I both e-mailed and mailed the following letter complaining about being escorted out of a Bob Dylan concert, and I have yet to receive any form of response from Steve Hyman, the executive director of the Sears Center in Hoffman Estates, nor anyone for the matter, I've decided to publicly post the letter and NON-FLASH photography.
(And as an update, thanks to the live-music sharing website db.etree.org and a kind man name Jerry, I now own a copy of the show so I can finally catch up on the songs I missed.)
November 1, 2006
Dear Mr. Hyman,
I recently attended the Bob Dylan concert at your venue on Saturday, October 28. Dylan is my absolute all-time favorite musician, and when I found out he was going to be playing in my hometown of Hoffman Estates, at a brand new arena, it was like Christmas had come early. Everything seemed perfect from the get-go; we had no trouble parking; got into the venue easily; the employees we encountered were really friendly, and we were extremely impressed with our seats—section C101, row 9. This was my seventh time seeing Dylan live, and honestly it was the best I've ever heard him sound.
When he began the sixth song of the set I was still enjoying everything about my experience. Well, that was the case until suddenly the show was rudely disrupted by two of your security guards who made everyone in my row stand up. I thought nothing of it until they approached me and asked me to come with them. I asked why, clearly confused, as I had done nothing that was against the rules of the arena, but they just repeated, "You need to come with us" without any further explanation. I would have refused to follow them, and looking back on the unnecessary actions that followed, I should have. But I felt bad that they were blocking everyone's view around me, so I obliged and followed them out.
Apparently I had been singled out for having a camera. I was led to a small office and had my camera confiscated by your security personnel until the end of the show. Now, upon entering your venue that evening, the security guard who searched my purse saw my camera (I obviously wasn't trying to conceal it in any way) and simply said, "No flash photography." I told him "That's fine. I never take flash photos, and besides, the flash is broken anyway." Back in the office, the only way I could think of proving that I was not taking flash photography during the show was to prove that my camera is incapable of it. I demonstrated that the flash doesn't even pop up, so there is no way it could have flashed even if I wanted it to. (If you need further proof of this, I can send you copies of my recent Canon service order.) When I was allowed to return to my seat some twenty minutes later, even perfect strangers sitting in my section (some of them with their own flashing cameras!) were just as confused as I was and asked why I was removed since I had never used the flash.
This offensively unnecessary situation completely distracted me for the rest of the show because all I could concentrate on were the hundreds of cameras flashing all over the arena. There were people in the third row from center stage literally holding cameras over their heads and flashing pictures! Not only that, but there were security guards lounging around in front of the stage in plain view of all these people flashing photos, and not ONE of them ever even made an effort to tell someone to stop taking pictures, much less lead any of them out of the arena, causing them to miss part of the show. Needless to say, I am appalled and outraged at the way I was treated at this concert, seeing as I didn't even flash my camera once. I still can't fathom why I was singled out, asked to hand over my camera for the duration of the concert, and made to miss part of it, when I didn't even do anything wrong.
So in short, thanks to the hypocritical and unnecessary actions of your venue and staff, my highly anticipated night of seeing Dylan perform in my hometown was ruined. It should have been the all-encompassing perfect evening it started out as, and instead was one of the most disappointing events I've ever been to. If you want to establish a rule, then that rule needs to apply to everyone. Otherwise, please allow your guests to harmlessly enjoy the show, especially those guests who actually make the effort to follow the instructions of your entry guards.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at the above address or e-mail.
Thank you for your time.
For the full album pre-confiscation click here