by Jeff Yerger
Hey kids! Are you going to a concert? Will it be an arena show or are you going to see your favorite band play a small-ish venue? Raise your hand if this will be your first concert experience…one…two…t…too many to count. Ha! Well then, today’s your lucky day. I’m here to tell you all about the unwritten rules of going to a concert or show that’ll make your experience and everyone else’s around you enjoyable.
For those of you who HAVE been to a show before, listen up, because you’ve probably been doing it wrong. Like Fred Durst once said, it’s my way or the highway, so get those notebooks out and start take… what’s that?… who’s Fred Durst?… well, he was this guy who… he’s kinda like a… err… uh… never mind.
Let’s get on with the show. Follow these guidelines, and you’ll be able to rock out… the right way! Here are the “5 Don’ts of Going to a Concert”
Don’t take videos or pictures
My sister and I recently went to see Paramore and Metric play at Madison Square Garden; she wanted to see Paramore and I wanted to see Metric, so it worked out perfectly… oh, who am I kidding, I wanted to see Paramore too. Stop looking at me like that. Anyway, we get to our seats and Metric is ripping through “Help I’m Alive,” when suddenly the gaggle of girls decided it was the perfect time to send a Snapchat selfie to their preteen boyfriends. They then proceed to leave the flash on and retake the selfie, oh I don’t know, maybe, 20 TIMES!! Like OMG, RLY? Are you kidding me?
This is rule number one for a reason, folks. Technology is wonderful and amazing, but don’t abuse this privilege. Want to take one picture of the band playing? Fine, totally cool. I’m a big believer of having a memento for your experience at a show, whether it’s a ticket stub or a picture to record the memory, so one picture is fine with me. However, take another picture and you’ve just crossed the border into Jerksville, and you’re now the mayor.
And don’t even think about taking a video! When was the last time you watched a video you took at a show and thought, “Wow, that video came out well.” Guess what Steven Spielberg, they never do. So, you wasted 4 minutes of your time recording a video that later comes out like it was filmed by someone who drank WAY too much caffeine, and sounds like a tuba being played by a monkey underwater. Enough with the videos! Not only do your videos suck, but as you film, the people around you who might’ve actually come to the show to ENJOY the music, have to look around your stupid phone or iPad(!) to see the band.
Don’t text while standing front row or near the band. Actually, just don’t text at all.
This goes hand in hand with rule number one, but I’m not sure which one bothers me more. At a Fratellis show a few weeks ago, I saw a kid not two feet away from Jon Fratelli, staring down at his phone like a mindless zombie. Come on, dude. Here is a band, playing the crap out of the music they poured their blood, sweat, and tears into, just for YOU, and you’re looking down at your phone, not even giving the band an ounce attention. Unless Batman himself is at the other end of that text message asking you to save Gotham, go stand in the back and let the real fans gather at the front of the stage. Better yet, turn off your damn phone. Your bros can wait.
Don’t shout out song requests unless prompted by band
You may think you’re helping or being funny, but you’re not. I’ll admit, I’ve been guilty of this a few times before (put a couple beers in me, and I’ll write your whole setlist), but I’ve been working on stopping this habit. Unless the band asks the audience to shout out requests, don’t be a jerk and keep your song choices to yourself. Yes, the whole crowd at a Kings of Leon show wants to hear “Sex on Fire,” but maybe the band doesn’t want to play that until a little later in the set…or not tonight at all…or never again. Just let the songs come to you, maaan.
The problem is that this has been going on for decades, and we as audiences have seemed to accept this as part of the concert experience (thanks, “Freebird”). People will even yell out the names of old band members during shows. Do you know how much it must’ve pissed off Genesis every time they heard someone yell out “Where’s Peter Gabriel?” or “Bring back Gabriel!” at their shows (for the record, this was only uncalled for until Invisible Touch, which at that point, something had to be said)?
Don’t be that guy, people. I once was that guy, but not anymore. Be the change!
Don’t simply expect people to move out of your way just because you’re shorter than they are
Short people of the world, listen up. I’m sorry I’m taller than you, I really am, but guess what: I have just as much right as you do so see a band play. If I happen to park my bony behind in front of you, just ask me nicely if you could stand in front of me and odds are I’ll oblige. Just don’t simply expect me to move out of the way for you.
Let me give you an example. Back at the Fratellis show I mentioned earlier, my friends and I established a spot to stand in the middle of the crowd when all of a sudden we hear a snarky comment come from behind, “Oh! It’s not like I was standing here or anything.” The sarcasm was just oozing from every syllable. I turn around, and this girl and her boyfriend are standing behind us. She gives me this dirty look, as if I was supposed to know she’d show up behind me. (Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize this was assigned seating. Oh wait, it’s general admission!) The boyfriend, who we ended up talking to was actually a nice guy, and we then told the couple it wouldn’t be a big deal if they went in front of us. The girlfriend still refused, like a spoiled little kid.
Look, if she had asked me to move ahead of me so she could see, I wouldn’t have been able to say no. Instead, her snobby attitude got her a permanent ticket standing behind the pillar of Jeff. So, kids, don’t be rude. Friendliness can go a long way.
Don’t be an idiot.
This one’s a no-brainer, really (unless, that is, you’re an idiot and you missed the whole “having-a-brain” thing. In which case, the Paramore girls are still working on their selfies over there). Don’t throw anything. Don’t act like a drunken fool. Be respectful of those around you. Be respectful to the band. No yapping if a softer song is being performed. No hitting. No biting… what am I, your 1st grade teacher? You get the idea.
There you have it, kiddos. If you want a good, healthy, and fruitful concert experience, follow the “don’ts.” Fewer distractions = better concert experience. Put that phone down, and immerse yourself in the sound. Let the music wrap around you, move you, and make you forget about the outside world for a little while. That’s what going to a concert is all about. While you may not be in the band itself, you can still be part of the show.