real life

I too was kicked out of a concert for dancing.

Jo-Anne George was dragged out of Rod Laver Arena last week. The 57-year-old was bruised not only in ego, but up and down her arm, too.

Her crime?

Getting a little too into the musical stylings of the great Stevie Nicks.

What a monster. Lock her up and throw away the key.

You know what other event has a high possibility of going awry? The office Christmas party.

After throwing down $204 for tickets to Thursday night’s show, Jo-Anne rightfully made it her mission to get out of her seat and dance to all her favourite songs.

“The security came up about three times and told me to sit down,” she told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“The next minute three of them had me and were dragging me along the floor of the aisle. They threw me out of the stadium.”

“All I wanted to do was dance.”

When I heard Jo-Anne’s story I felt an affinity with this woman. What is this, that Footloose town with its knickers in a bunch over a little bit of boogying? Let the woman dance, for goodness sake.

And then a long repressed memory came bubbling up. Because I too was kicked out of a concert for dancing.

Stevie Nicks on her Australia tour. Image: Getty.

My crime took place back in the winter of 2010.


A freshly-minted, hapless 19-year-old, I was celebrating my birthday the only way I knew how - a night out with friends, filled with drinks, dancing and live music.

I had my ticket to a long-awaited Laura Marling gig in hand. A gift from my dad, who in a brief moment of coolness shared my appreciation of her gorgeous songs.

For those not familiar with her music, Laura is a British folk singer with the most angelic melodies and a voice like honey on hot toast. So not exactly a head banger.

But before the night was over, I would be in tears pleading with the bouncer to let me back inside.

What's Laura Marling like live? I really couldn't tell you. Image: Getty.

Two songs in, I waved goodbye to my friends who were lingering by the bar (they liked Laura's music, sure, but mostly they were just there to celebrate with me.) And in that moment, it was absolutely crucial for me to make my way to the front and centre of the crowd to gaze up at the stage.

Unfortunately, I did a bit more than just gaze.

While the other concert-goers were softly humming along and swaying gently to the music, I was struck with a sudden urge to break out into interpretive dance. The music (quite literally) moved me.

Huge mistake.

I was the 2010 equivalent of Apollo at the opera on The Bachelorette.

I whooped and clapped after the song finished, 'How good was that?' like an uncultured peasant, while the slightly-more-hipster fans around me politely applauded with little fairy claps.


And in one swift movement, I was ushered outside. No warning, no chance to object and no opportunity to tell my friends.

After about 15 minutes of begging and cajoling the bouncer to let me in to hear the rest of the set, I bummed a smoke off him and resigned myself to waiting it out, my friends still inside at the bar, oblivious to my absence.

It was brilliant, apparently.

'Are you crying too?' 'Yeah it's pretty good ay!' Image: Channel 10

Was I being a pain in the neck to the people around me? Maybe. Could the fans behind Jo-Anne see past her flailing arms? Probably not.

But I like to think that the inimitable Laura Marling would have appreciated my unique moves and sheer enthusiasm.

Whether it's a Metallica concert or the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, I'd rather be the person who only sees two songs, but really bloody enjoys themselves for those ten minutes, than the person sitting nervously on their hands, toes tapping, trying to suppress their urge to dance.

Jo-Anne, that kid from Footloose and I are the true heroes. Can't stop, won't stop dancing.

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