When the weather outside is frightful, nothing is better than
squeezing close to the bodies of 4,000 strangers at a concert. Most
of the time.
I love seeing live music, and nothing is more fun than getting
really close to your favorite band before they become completely
inaccessible. If only all the fans could just get along! Concert
etiquette may sound silly, but if you want to fully enjoy the show
A couple of weeks ago, I went to see Maroon 5 at the Fillmore
Auditorium. Well, I really went to see Gavin DeGraw, who was
opening. My friends and I were standing on the floor in the crush
of bodies. People kept trying to squeeze in front of us and a poor
vertically challenged girl standing next to me was lucky enough to
end up with a 6-foot male pushing in front of her and blocking her
But it gets better! A girl tried to push in front of me. When I
wouldn’t let her, she grudgingly said, “Excuse me.” Not wanting to
be pushed back farther, I asked her to go behind me. I don’t think
this was an unfair request. I wanted to see the concert without
shovage for a few minutes. But apparently this was the worst
experience of her life, because her reply to me was “You know, it’s
people like you who are cursed for life.” She then proceeded to
push behind me and spill her $5 beer.
Though I wonder what her standard is for telling me I will be
cursed for life, I get her point. Sometimes I don’t have fun at
concerts anymore. I just want to escape alive. At punk shows the
bands preach helping each other in the audience. We should all help
and respect each other at shows. I know rules and rock ‘n’ roll
don’t really go together. But try it sometime. You might be
surprised at how far a little respect goes.
I think there are five basic rules every concertgoer should
know. In case you aren’t aware of the magic five, let me enlighten
1. Crowd surfing/moshing is not necessary at every concert.
Listen up, fans who dive into crowds 20 times at a show where
everyone else knows better – you don’t need to risk bodily injury
to have fun at a show! There are some shows, like punk shows, where
surfing and moshing are expected and perfectly acceptable. But
crowd diving at a John Mayer show? Give me a break.
2. Pushing your way to the front of the crowd is not cool.
So you want to screw the people who waited in line for 6 hours
to stand up front, do you? Don’t try it. I wish every venue had
multiple standing levels, so that people could see from anywhere in
the venue. But not everywhere is as nicely designed as the Gothic
or the Fox. I can’t tell you how annoying it is to try to watch a
show while you get shoved every five seconds as someone tries to
push his/her way up front to get close to the band. Go wait at the
tour bus or something. Let the rest of us watch the show in
3. If you are very tall, please yield to the vertically
I’m 5’8″, so I don’t mind letting people who are shorter than me
move in front at standing-room only shows. I don’t let every person
come in front of me, but if someone much shorter is standing right
behind me, I ask if they’d like to switch. It never fails that some
6-foot-plus person ends up standing right up front and ruining the
view of many. I realize you can’t control your height, but you can
control where you stand.
4. Don’t be a belligerent drunk at a show. Please.
Last year I went to see Hank Williams III at the Aggie. Alcohol
was sold during the show, which is not a bad thing. But so many
fools got drunk and started fights that the show became less fun. I
saw three bloody faces and two twisted limbs come out of that show,
all due to alcohol. So drink if you like, but try not to ruin the
show for everyone else.
5. Take the cigs and drugs outside.
I don’t care if you do these things. But don’t do it next to me!
Personally, I enjoy breathing. So if you feel the need to smoke
whatever, please go outside or upstairs. It’s hard enough to get a
clean breath when you’re surrounded by sweat from 10 people you
don’t know. Smoke doesn’t help the breathing process. Talk to your
doctor if you have questions.
Thea is the station manager for KCSU. Her column runs every