The Classy Concert Goer: Here Are the Nine Fans You Never Want to Be

I am very fortunate to be able to get out and attend concerts. Lots of them. By December of 2016, I will have been to twenty-seven shows for the 2015-2016 season. For me, the road time spent to each show averages two and a half hours one way but there are many cases where a four-hour plus drive is in store. I love every aspect of going to a show of any size. I love the trip there, I love unwinding at a hotel, I love fashion so I will plan concert outfits up to a month in advance and I love finding new restaurants before the show. Then comes the show itself, magical in every way. Perfect. For those two and a half hours, nothing else matters except the band.

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From Peter Frampton, August 2015

With all that being said, there are certain fans you will encounter at every show. These are the concertgoers you don’t want to be. Period. Let’s count them down in the least to most offensive, shall we?

9. The Ditcher

This one is the least offensive because unforeseen circumstances absolutely do happen that can cause you to be late to a concert. You get stuck in traffic, parking is a nightmare, the sitter didn’t show up on time for the kids, etc. However, if you haven’t encountered the unforeseen, when your ticket says that the show starts at 8:00, don’t come strolling in at 8:15, 8:20, 8:30, 8:45. Oh, what’s that? You don’t want to see the opening act and that’s why you don’t show until 8:30 only to cumbersomely make your way through an entire row of people to the two middle seats in the row as you balance three beers and two bottles of water? I hate to break this to you, but the band you’re there to see was once an opening act. That opening band is there to support the main act and they are going to play just as enthusiastically as if they were the main act. Don’t be the ditcher.

8. The Steam Engine

Personally, I don’t mind smoking. However, the vaping trend is on the rise as a cigarette alternative and you may have even noticed vape shops popping up everywhere in your hometown. In nearly all cases, smoking is prohibited at indoor venues. Outdoor shows usually have a designated smoking area. The vape sensation blurs the line though. This electronic device causes the user to emit a vapor that billows with the intensity of an 1850’s era locomotive. While you can’t vape at indoor shows, for the most part there are no limitations to vaping at outdoor concerts (unless it’s an outdoor venue with assigned seating). If you’re going to vape throughout the night, that’s your business, but at least be considerate. Blowing that vapor directly in someone’s face for two hours who may not be a smoker can be extremely irritating the same way someone leaning on you the whole night is irritating. Don’t be the steam engine.

7. The Rooter

This is a phenomenon that occurs at general admission shows. You know the drill. The show starts at 8:00 so you promptly arrive at 5:00, exactly one hour and a half before the house doors open. You’ve paid your dues waiting outside the venue (usually in the cold), you get your ticket validated, you skip the bar and the bathroom to claim a spot at the front of the barricade. Hint: Most generally, the people who arrive this early to shows are the most respectful fans. Hang with them. They have your back. The show starts and about an hour in (or when at least four drinks have been consumed), and BAM, here comes the fan from the back. He or she will push and shove and knock into everyone to try and make his or her way to the front. They will do it with absolutely no regard for anyone else. It’s annoying to everyone they’ve attempted to bowl over. Don’t be the rooter.

6. The Expert

I have personally witnessed this at a Moody Blues show, and it’s quite the eye-rolling experience. The band has taken the stage, started the set, and in between songs you hear, “TURN DOWN THE BASS!” from some guy in the back.

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Moody Blues, Palace Theatre in Louisville, KY

At first you write it off as an isolated incident. Whatever. Here it comes again, ruining the in between moment after the next song, “TURN DOWN THE BASS!” Yeah bud, that 5:00 sound check? That was juuuuuust for you and the sound guy said, “Hey, let’s mess with the bass so some guy in the audience will tell us how to do it right!” Now, this may sound shocking, but guess what? The guys in the band? They’re pros. The guy running the sound? He’s a pro (oh my god who would have thought!?) The road crew who sets up all those Marshall stacks? Pros! They’ve done it before and they’ll do it again, night after night. They strive for quality and consistent sound. Believe me, they play the sport so they know the equipment. Don’t be the expert.

5. The Request Maker

This is similar to the expert. On many occasions, the request maker knows one song and it’s usually the band’s biggest hit. They will yell out in dire earnest for that hit in between every other song. There was a fan at a Smashing Pumpkins show who incessantly yelled out, “Tonight, Tonight!” After the band played it, said fan continued to yell out, “Tonight, Tonight.” Billy Corgan looked her way and kindly said, “We’ve already played that, actually.” It’s not a request show. There’s a setlist for a reason and you have no bearing on that setlist. It’s also disrespectful to the artist when you are yelling stupidly. Don’t be the request maker.

4. The Video Star

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My view at Tesla, REO Speedwagon and Def Leppard before show time

The cell phone. That lovely little device can wreak havoc on a perfectly wonderful concert experience. I can’t tell you how many shows I’ve attended where I am literally surrounded by cell phones. Even in the first six rows, the cell phones are an absolute epidemic. The video star is the one who has his or her cell phone held in front of his or her face, obstructing all views and filming The…Entire…Show. How on Earth do people have enough battery or memory for over two hours!?

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My view at Tesla, REO Speedwagon and Def Leppard when  the crowd flooded in from the back seats before security intervened

I loathe the video star. She won’t stop. She takes video from the time the band walks out until the band nearly walk off the stage. The reason I loathe him or her so is because she’s missing it. He or she isn’t living in the moment at all. He’s viewing what’s happening through a screen. You never watch the video again. If you upload the video, the sound and quality are so poor that people probably think you were filming your TV screen. Filming a guitar solo or your favorite song? Okay, that’s one thing because it’s moderate and brief. But please, please Put…Your…Phone…AWAY! There’s a band up there and they deserve your undivided attention. You came to this show to hear them play. You won’t get those moments back. Don’t be the video star.

3. The Selfie Addict

Oh, the art of the selfie. I strongly considered making this fan, “number one”. The selfie addict is usually female and often travels in packs of two or three. They are determined to get, at minimum 50 selfies when the lead singer walks down the catwalk, when the band is in the middle of their big chorus, or during any other opportunity that they can seize.

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Riverbend Festival in Chattanooga, TN 2016 – A Fabulous day for all!

Unlike the polite fans, who ask the person beside them to snap a picture BEFORE the show in front of the stage, etc., the selfie addicts not only incessantly take pictures in their duos and trios, but they are convinced they look super hot despite how many beers they’ve had and how many duck faces they make. Don’t be the selfie addict.

2. The Fighter

Unfortunately, this kind of fan can ruin a great time for a lot of people. The fighter has typically been told many times by security to return to his or her seat after multiple attempts at making his way to the front of the stage. He or she may get ‘into it’ with someone beside them and/or a boyfriend/girlfriend. The fighter is exactly as it sounds: a fight starts with someone around him/her. It typically escalates to involve others, it’s usually alcohol fueled and it always ends with the top rank of venue security hauling him or her out kicking and screaming like a three-year-old. Don’t be the fighter.

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My favorite shot from Rock on the Range, Columbus, Ohio 2016 – The crowd was fantastic!!

1. The Obnoxious Drunk

And now, the worst possible fan you can ever encounter at any concert (drumroll please!), the obnoxious drunk! This is the most volatile and dangerous fan to everyone, including the band, because he or she can easily become the other eight fans we’ve already mentioned. This is the person who has been drinking heavily before the show and continues to do so. He or she is loud, rude and yes, they absolutely have the potential to throw up on you before the encore. The heavily inebriated women are worse than the men and it’s the unladylike behavior that gets them thrown out. These fans absolutely pose a safety risk to themselves and others (remember the fighter?). Be respectful and responsible. Please, please don’t be the obnoxious drunk.

There you have it! The nine concertgoers you don’t want to be! At the end of the day, it’s about respect. There are so many bands that have so much talent. They get up there and give it their all…for you, the fan. Respect that. Stay classy, my friends and Rock On.

Writer: Amanda Knight

All Photos: Amanda Knight

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