Words & Deeds

Deeds: It’s time to embrace concert security — even in Boise

A security guard searches a fan of U.S. thrash metal band Slayer at the entrance of the Ancienne Belgique concert hall, in Brussels on Nov. 17. France has demanded that its European partners provide support for its operations against the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq and other security missions in the wake of the Paris attacks.
A security guard searches a fan of U.S. thrash metal band Slayer at the entrance of the Ancienne Belgique concert hall, in Brussels on Nov. 17. France has demanded that its European partners provide support for its operations against the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq and other security missions in the wake of the Paris attacks. AP

Bring on the metal detectors, the pat downs, the revolver-holstering security.

I hate it. But bring it on.

If you’re a fan of live music, last week’s terrorist attack at a Paris concert venue was a tipping point.

International tragedies on the other side of the globe always feel weird. Depressing but disconnected, right? I didn’t know any of the 89 victims gunned down inside the 1,500-capacity Bataclan.

Yet this felt like family.

Every person inside that intimate venue had gone there expecting to bask in the same cathartic, addictive euphoria. We are united in our passion for music. It feeds our souls.

When I received a text message from a friend alerting me that the band on stage had been California-based Eagles of Death Metal, this morphed into something personal. Nobody knew where the band or crew were, the text said.

This wasn’t some foreign group gigging in a faraway land. Eagles of Death Metal have played in Boise at The Big Easy (now called Knitting Factory). This abomination suddenly felt like it could have happened anywhere. Even here.

It seems like an unlikely scenario in sparsely populated Idaho. That night in Paris, it was a mathematical improbability, too.

And it suddenly makes griping about the nuisance of concert security feel strikingly different.

I hate it. But bring it on.

“We all just need to understand that this is the world we live in,” says Creston Thornton, owner of the Revolution Center Concert House and Event Center in Garden City.

The RevCenter has been subjecting patrons to metal-detecting wands for more than a year. You’ll also notice Garden City Police outside the building during shows.

“It’s necessary. There’s a gathering of people,” Thornton says. “You’ve got to know what’s going on. You’ve got to be alert to it.”

Earlier this year, the RevCenter installed a full-security camera system throughout the venue, too. Thornton can use his phone to see what’s happening inside the venue, he says. If there was an issue, they can pass along footage to police afterward.

Wow, that’s Big Brother-like. Guess I’d better behave myself at shows.

“Yeah, me too!” Thornton says with a chuckle.

It’s OK to joke. Because if you stop to think about it, this entire situation makes you want to bawl.

It was only two years ago that I wrote about a Letter to the Editor in the Statesman that chastised Taco Bell Arena for wanding concertgoers at a tame Piano Guys concert. ISIS — not to mention America’s gun-violence scourge — now makes this inconvenience seem not just acceptable, but preferable.

If psychotic nutjobs blast their way into an event using AK-47 assault rifles and grenades, metal-detecting wands aren’t going to slow them down much.

But we can’t stop enjoying our lives. I’m going to keep taking my little boys to football games. We’ll go to airports. To concerts.

It will be annoying if I have to slip off my shoes, walk through an X-ray machine or stand next to an armed guard while taking my kid to see something like “Mythbusters” at the Morrison Center.

I hate it. Bring it on.

Free comedy

Need to escape the relatives next week?

Local comedian Heath Harmison and opener Aaron Woodall will perform Nov. 26-29 at Liquid, 405 S. 8th St., Boise — including a free 8 p.m. show Thanksgiving Day. Otherwise, it’s $12 on Nov. 27-28, $10 on Nov. 29.

Christmas radio

Boise radio station 107.9 Lite FM normally switches over to holiday music each season. This year, they’re holding a listener contest to guess when.

At press time Nov. 19, the “Jingle Bells” still hadn’t rung. In the past, they’ve launched the format as soon as early November to as late as Black Friday.

Is it possible they’re snowing us this time?

(No way, Santa.)

Michael Deeds: 208-377-6407, @michaeldeeds

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