One of the things I’ve learned since graduating a few years ago is how stupid you really are when you’re younger and attending a concert. It’s amazing, actually, how cool you think you act, but you don’t realize until later what a tool you actually were. I guess that means when I read this column five years from now, I’ll look back at my 25-year-old self and think “Wow, I guess I was a dumbass at concerts then, too.” Maybe it’s just a whole perpetual cycle. Anyway, concert etiquette. Here we go.
I’ve attended a couple concerts in the past few months, and have seen a recurring theme: people who don’t know how to properly enjoy a concert without pissing off others around them. And there’s been a distinct demographic of those who are flat out doing it wrong: college students and very recent college graduates. Please note that this column is not going to cover raves, because concerts are for real musicians and singers. Here are some simple rules to follow for not being the person everyone hates at a concert.
1. Don’t Show Up Blacked Out
Once upon a time, when your parents were the source of your monthly income, it was awesome to show up to any event without any memory aside from the opening 10 minutes. Why not, right? You didn’t necessarily pay for the concert, and chances are it was for the latest radio-sensation who is planning on coming back at least once a year because the industry has taught him or her to love money and continue touring. Fast-forward to postgrad life, and your borderline obsessive focus on your ever dwindling bank account balance. Your favorite artist has finally announced that he or she will play at your local venue. You start to panic a little because you realize you’re going to have to sacrifice one of the following things in order to attend:
1) Real food for dinner a couple more nights a week.
2) More debt on your credit card.
3) Being stingier when buying the hot girl or guy at the bar a drink.
Because you’ve told yourself you’re a real fan, you decide to buy the tickets with a sense of responsibility that you were able to balance a budget to make it happen. Bravo, you slowly maturing stud, you. After these great choices, are you really going to want to waste that purchase by downing too many shots at the pre-game to not remember what the artist’s encore was? You’re better than that now. You’ll be able to tell the story to your kids someday of that epic guitar solo that only occurred on that tour and never again. Wise choice.
2. Don’t Be The Woo Girl (Or Boy)
Everyone at the concert is pumped, I get it. It’s totally acceptable to go crazy for your favorite artist. However, there are certain times during the concert where the lead singer will list off a couple things they like about the city they’re in, or talk about some life experiences, or introduce the band members. There are some definite cheering moments in there. But is everything really worth a top-of-your-lungs, blood-curdling scream of enjoyment?
For example, when the artist says something so generic like, “Hey, who else out there likes FOOD?!” it is by no means a reason for you turn my left ear completely deaf. Food’s great, I get it, but that’s no reason to cheer like you just won the lottery. American troops shout-out? Hoot and holler all you want. Pacific Ocean reference? Might want to save your vocal chords.
3. Don’t Drown Out The Band, I Didn’t Pay To See You
Every concert has that period of slower jams that allows you to take a break, and maybe even snuggle up to your significant other if you’re lucky (or in some cases, unlucky) enough. I love these periods. It shows that an artist has some range and musical variety (I’m definitely not talking about you, Nickelback). Also, it’s a great time to sit down and stretch your legs. That sense of relief cannot be overstated the older you get.
What I really don’t want is to sit down and see you in front of me dancing like you’re listening to some rendition of a new Pitbull/Bieber/Gaga song. That’s just awful. Why? Because you immediately turn into the person everyone looks at and thinks, “I wonder how long until she starts yelling at the security guard to take her picture because it’s her 21st birthday and she’s a princess. Ugh, bitch.” As a college kid, I loved that girl. She was an amazing target because of probably daddy issues.
Now? Someone, please give her another vodka cranberry so she can pass out in her seat and give me peace as I enjoy the show.
4. Don’t Act Like You Know ALL The Words
We all do it, and acceptance is the first step towards recovery. I mean, as much as we think we know the songs, the majority of the time we are way off. My favorite example of this comes at the end of most songs at a show:
You’ve just done a superb job faking it like you knew every line of that supposed last chorus. Your hands are in the air, eyes are closed. You should be up on that stage, too. You’re ready to try out for American Idol. After holding that last note you start bringing your hands to not only congratulate the artist on a brilliant performance of that song that you kind of know, but also reward yourself for an incredible co-rendition. You start clapping, but unexpectedly you hear another line of the song from the artist. Your first and only thought is, “Shit!”
You look around and your friends are laughing at you because of your lack of knowledge about that song and artist. To quote “Step Brothers,” “You’re just coming off stupid.”
Friends, don’t be awful at a concert. Work on these four steps and you’ll be on your way to being a concert pro in no time. I have faith.