Attending a metal show usually allows many older fans to forget their daily worries and fall into the music from their past. But for one local metal fan, last Wednesday's Disturbed show at the House of Blues turned into one of the worst nights of her life when the band's frontman, David Draiman, called her out for texting.
“So what is so important going on in the world that you need to be texting the entire fucking show?” Draiman asked, in an episode that was captured on another fan's cellphone and posted on YouTube. The fan in question that was being singled out from the several hundred others surrounding her was Shannon Pardue.
“At first it ticked me off,” Pardue says. “But then I just wanted to go away. I told my husband, ‘The most embarrassing thing in my life just happened to me.’”
Pardue’s husband, Jason, purchased upper balcony tickets for the March 23 Disturbed show at the House of Blues about six months ago and even wore his 15-year-old Disturbed concert T-shirt to the show that evening. Attending rock shows was more than just an escape from their daily worries for the Pardues; it was how the couple’s loved blossomed when they began dating in the early 2000s.
Despite what Draiman announced during the show, Pardue claims that she wasn’t texting the entire show. Like other fans, she’d taken pictures, posted a status update and even rocked out with other fans by raising her fist in the air.
She didn’t even start texting her 14-year-old daughter — who was at home in the middle of a nasty hail storm — until after the show was over, she says, and the band had already left the stage. As the crowd began chanting “one more song,” Pardue began texting with her daughter, who had just returned home from youth night at their church with thunderstorms ravaging the area.
When Draiman and the rest of the band came onstage, the crowd started cheering, but Pardue was still conversing with her daughter in text messages when the Disturbed frontman singled her out and the House of Blues spotlight fell upon them.
Pardue says she waved at first, and her husband, who was also a longtime fan, thought it was cool that Draiman, a rockstar who has sold hundreds of thousands of records and gained international fame, actually singled her out. So when Draiman asked her what was more important than listening to his band, she tried to tell him that her kids were more important, but he couldn’t hear her without a microphone.
Then he continued his rant.
“I’m not wrong. Am I wrong?” Draiman asked the crowd. “If you were up here and I did that to you, how would you feel? Seriously! It’s fucking rude. It is! If you don’t want to watch, don’t watch, but don’t stand there in front of the fucking stage in the front row of the balcony where everybody can see you texting the whole fucking time on your phone.”
“I looked down, and everybody was staring at me,” Pardue says. “Have you ever seen a movie where a dorky kid is standing there and 20 bullies are making fun of him, making him feel alienated? That’s what happened to me.”
Pardue just sat there and let Draiman unload on her from the stage, ranting like an old bald teacher who’s just fucking fed up with students using their cellphones in class. As soon as he started singing for the encore, she got up and left with her husband following close behind. On the way home, she told her husband that she was never going to a rock show again. Many other fans would later voice their support on social media, as well.
It took her a few days to get over the incident, but she’s still bothered by Draiman’s public shaming.
“Rock stars wouldn’t be where they are without people who come to pay for the show,” Pardue says. “Whether I had my eyes on him or not, I am still there and I can hear them. He’s an amazing singer, and they were good, but it was just his attitude. I’ll never pay to see him again nor will my friends.”
Disturbed returns to Dallas with Breaking Benjamin in August, but be sure to leave your cell phones at home or else bring a bullhorn with you.
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Christian McPhate is an award-winning journalist who specializes in investigative reporting. He covers crime, the environment, business, government and social justice. His work has appeared in several publications, including the Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star Telegram, the Miami Herald, San Antonio Express News and The Washington Times.