Concert Etiquette with a Diehard Fan

May I gripe for a moment?

Well, you actually don’t have a choice in the matter…I’m going to whine.

I go to a lot of concerts. It’s my thing. Some people golf. Some people get manicures and pedicures. Live music…that’s my love. A lot of times, I hit shows solo. But sometimes I have friends that go along. And there’s the rub.

I love meeting up with my buddies at shows or taking them to shows. I love watching a friend who has never seen an artist before fall in love with the music. I love singing along with my friends and sharing that smile during a show like, ‘Heck yeah, this is the greatest concert ever…” However, there are RULES to going to a concert with me. When the rules are violated, I get irritated. And it makes me not too much fun to be around. So, just to set the record straight, let’s set them out in print, shall we?

1) I get to the show for door time, unless otherwise stated. Why, you ask, when there’s always downtime prior to the show actually starting? Well, quite frankly – you can’t trust venues and artists. Arrival at door time means that I guarantee I can see the act I came to see. You never know, especially on co-bills, when the venue is going to switch around who is playing first. Or, the artist could start before the venues “suggested” start time. If I show up late, I could MISS something. And who knows, I just might like the opener. Or if you get there early, you might catch the tail end of sound check, or hear an artist jump in with the opener on a song, or get to chat with the artist at the bar before the show. YOU JUST NEVER KNOW. This means a couple of things: If I’m picking you up, I am picking you up at the stated time and expect to leave within five minutes. If we’re meeting for drinks or dinner before hand, I will leave our little party in order to make it there for doors. You get the idea.

2) Don’t ask me what time the show will start. See #1. Venues and artists are unreliable. They start when they feel like it. I can make an educated guess, but frankly, if you’ve been to a concert before, so can you. Don’t expect me to do the work for you. Look up the start time on the website and do the math. Opener starts 30 minutes after doors open. Plays 45 minutes. 15 – 30 minute downtime between sets. BUT THERE ARE NEVER ANY GUARANTEES.

3) Holding seats/spots is a right limited to quick runs to the bar or bathroom. I loathe this almost more than anything, but especially when shows are crowded. Don’t ask me to hold your seat or spot because you want to go outside and smoke a cigarette or go chat with your other friends. Between set times is okay, but make sure you do it with plenty of time before the band or act starts. I came to watch the show, NOT to worry about whether or not drunk girl and her frat boy boyfriend behind me are going to push into the 5 x 2 piece of cement that I’ve contorted my body to stretch over. You can only hold off the vultures for so long. I can tell someone once that my friend went to the bathroom, but if you’re not back 30 minutes later, they are likely to push into the spot/seat – and I’m likely to let them. Plus, if you’re leaving in the middle of the set, that’s just rude to the artist.

4) For the love of God, don’t talk to me (or others around me) during the show! This should really go without saying, but let me clarify: Quick observations about the artist, the song being played, etc., are acceptable. Trying to talk to me about what’s happening between a mutual friend and her boyfriend while the artist is performing is not. Talking loudly to someone else while I’m trying to watch the show is also sure to irritate the living piss out of me.

5) Excessive woo hoos/requests/singing along/over zealousness. So you’re a fan too? That is awesome. Applause – good! A “Hell yeah” when the artist plays your favorite song – completely respectable. Singing along so loudly that I can’t hear the performer? UNACCEPTABLE. A shrill “WOOOO HOOOOOOOO” after every song? UNACCEPTABLE. Continuing to yell “Play [INSERT SONG NAME HERE]!” over and over again? UNACCEPTABLE. Keep it cool, kids. No amount of alcohol null and voids this rule.

6) Leaving before the show is over. I’m a diehard fan. I want to stay until the very last note is sung. That means when the music stops, I’m going to wait to see if there’s an encore. Or a double encore. And then, I’m most likely going to try to go look at merch or get something signed, so (especially if you’ve driven with me) don’t expect to leave before the last song is over to beat traffic. Not going to happen.

That’s it, really. I realize, after reading this, that I sound like a total bitch, but really, I’m putting these out there for your benefit as well as mine. I don’t want to be grumpy at a show. I want to have fun with you, my friends, and leave saying, “Best.time.ever.” The rules are fairly simple…let’s all play along.

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