A brimming room of malodorous middleschoolers, obnoxious chatty extraverts, iPad-camera-picture-taking giants, fangirls/fanboys, suspected stoners, and condescending introverted antisocial hipsters (I probably fall under this category of concert personalities). It’s a concert. You bought a ticket. Now you’re here and the concert hasn’t started yet, but you might already be regretting it. You came to see your favorite artist, the one that blows your mind with their style, rhythm, lyrics, image, musical skill, or whatever it is. But you forgot the part where you squeeze yourself elbow-to-rib into a hot, poorly ventilated, concrete room with limited visibility of the stage. Metal concerts, of course, are an entirely different story. Over my years of experience with concert-going, here are some hopefully-useful tips I’ve picked up for an overall better night of entertainment.
1. If you were invited by friends to see an artist you know nothing about or you have somewhat limited knowledge of their work, do some research. You may really find the band members’ personalities hilarious/infatuating, the lyrics might really strike a chord with you, or their rise-to-fame/success stories inspiring. As a result, you will undoubtably appreciate the performance even more. Get cultured!
2. Bring friends whenever possible. Concerts are always more enjoyable with the people you regularly choose to spend time with rather than with the vast number of sweaty, weird strangers who were also let in to see your favorite band.
3. Above all, be determined to enjoy the concert. You paid for the ticket. Get your money’s worth.
4. Find a strategic location in the venue from which to gain a clear view of the stage as well as have a way of escape to the restrooms, merch table, and the exit. Hopefully the human hallway that usually leaves open passage to the restrooms will be left open. Here you will find the most oxygen.
5. Play chicken. As people continue to swarm in, do not be so “courteous” as to give up YOUR spot. Put on your “battle-hardened sea Admiral” face and do not compromise. Do not budge. It feels good. Exceptions can be made for handicapped/military/women with children/some life-threatening catastrophes.
6. If and when you fall in LOVE with that new electronic artist from Ireland, that lo-fi synth-pop duo from Canada, that woodsy Appalachian folk band, or whoever it is and NEED their merch or CDs, stay and enjoy the concert. Live in the moment. Encores are almost always inevitable, so wait until then to grab your swag from the merch table. This will ensure that you beat the rush afterwards as well as save you both from the burden of lugging around your treasure throughout the concert or from it being stolen or dropped accidentally. Depending on the attendance of the event, you may need to opt for pre-show or post-show merch shopping.
7. Wear comfortable, closed-toed shoes. This is a recommendation. I am not the shoe police.
8. Do not bring a camera/iPad. Hey, it could get stolen along with any personal pictures or info you would not like to be shared. More importantly, would you actually prefer to make a low-quality recording of the amazing concert that you’re missing, or just live it?
9. Fun. Have some.
10. Realize that despite our different concert personalities, we have the best intentions (usually) and that we are all here to see something we mutually admire.