I’ve been to a pretty decent amount of shows to come up with my own list of rules that I follow when I go see bands, and I’m sure that everyone who’s into live music has their own variation of it. I’ve read a lot of different ones all over the internet—some I agree with, some, not so much. I figured I’d give my own take on it.
‘I have no one to go with’ is not an excuse to miss out on a show you want to see. Making friends at shows is one of the easiest things to do because you and all the people around you already have at least one thing in common. I can’t even tell you how many people I’ve had long and interesting conversations with while waiting for a band to go on stage. I still remember a girl telling me about meeting Nick Jonas in New York (and me being super jealous) at a This Century show two years ago, and just yesterday I exchanged stories with a girl who also went to Warped over the summer. I’m pretty bad with names, but I do remember good conversations.
Be nice to the opening act. They’re probably not the reason you bought the ticket, but remember that favorite bands were once opening acts too. Even if you’re not familiar with their music, be respectful and cheer for them anyway.
Don’t complain if people push you or step on you. It’s just what happens at these things. But also, don’t be a douche and push your way to the front if there’s clearly no room for you there. The people in front of you got there first, so don’t be rude.
Don’t worry about looking cool. I stole this one from Hank Green’s 13 Things to Know About Concerts video, but it’s so very true. And I quote, “It’s not about looking cool. It’s about being excited about something together with other people who are also excited about it.”
It’s still fun watching from the back. There comes a point where you just get tired of trying to get as close to the stage as possible. This has been happening to me a lot lately, and I’ve learned that it actually sounds much better at the back. Standing near the sound booth is the sweet spot, because you get to hear what the sound techs hear.
If it’s your favorite song, put the camera away. This is the one rule I swear by. Live music is meant to be an experience, and it gets hindered by our need to document every moment. Hearing Death Cab For Cutie play I Will Follow You Into The Dark live a few years ago was such a magical moment for me. I remember finding a video of that exact performance a few days later, but watching it was nothing compared to actually being there. Taking photos and videos is fine, but know that it’s completely okay to not capture everything. (But please don’t use iPads. I don’t want to watch the show through your screen.)