That's the question on everyone's mind as the government prepares to enact various security solutions to what current administration officials claim is a long-overdue problem.
"For too many years we've allowed access to major shows, like The Rolling Stones and Dave Matthews Band, to anyone who had the money to buy a ticket," says Bernard Fife, director of the newly formed Concert Security Department. "Where do these people come from? Are they really fans? And how did they get better seats than me? Those are just some of the issues before us as we strive to make all concerts, from club shows by Strangefolk to stadium blow-outs by Springsteen and Metallica, safe for all good Americans."
However, some civil rights groups are already protesting the Concert Security Department's plans for a safer live music experience. The proposed Concert Registry, a massive database that would cross-index every music fan and the shows they've seen within the last five years, as well as what they bought at concession and merchandise stands, has major support within the Bush administration, despite growing apprehension from civil liberties groups.
"We're going to know where they bought their Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers tickets, how much they spent on their Eagles tickets, what kind of car they drove to the Nelly concert, where they parked and which restrooms they used while the support acts were playing before Radiohead hit the stage," promises Fife, downplaying the concern for civil liberties expressed by the NRA, ACLU and the ASPCA. "But let me assure you, in no way will these measures intrude upon the average concert fan's civil rights. After all, if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about."
Another hi-tech solution backed by the government is the controversial plan to place body scanners at the turnstiles of every major event. Called 'fanalyzers,' these scanners can record, identify and cross-match over 5,418 different body language characteristics, thereby identifying potential troublemakers. These devices have already been secretly beta-tested at shows by bands like ZZ Top, Whitesnake and the Pete Best Band, and have yielded surprising results.
"There are exactly 9,378 different ways you can hold up a butane lighter while Lynyrd Skynyrd plays 'Free Bird,'" says Fife. "9,377 ways are perfectly innocent, but it's that 9,378th way that you have to watch out for."
Fife also mentioned that the scanners had correctly identified over 1,900 people most likely to clap during ballads, 1,341 people who are inclined to stand on their seats and block the view of those behind them, and over 1,181 people who have been known to spill more beer than they swallow. "We're making progress," says Fife. "But as you can see by the numbers, it's not an exact science."
Will the current administration's efforts to produce a safer concert environment pan out? Or will neo-cons within the White House use the new Concert Security Department as a platform to fund future 007-like gadgetry such as the Electron Beam Liberal Zapper or the proposed Scalper Early Warning System? And what about all those groups claiming that such plans violate the rights of Americans?
"In no way, shape or form do we plan on infringing upon the rights of good Americans," says Fife. "However, keep in mind that we're only in phase one."