A Concertgoer's Guide to Show Etiquette
One of the top trending stories on Facebook for the last several days was about guitarist Peter Frampton grabbing a fan’s video phone during a concert and throwing in to the back reaches of the venue.
Frampton came alive after a concertgoer in the front row kept filming Frampton, despite signs that explicitly stated no taping and no flash photography. And according to the story, from OnStageMagazine.com, this dude didn’t just stop with one song, he was continuously holding up the camera and filming. And we all know how much fun it is to stand behind that guy at shows.
Even though Frampton had supposedly gestured for them to stop, the wanna-be filmmaker kept going and even turned his back to the stage to take a selfie. At that point, Frampton got the phone, under the guise of taking a photo with the fan, and, instead, threw it where it could do no more harm.
Add that in with a few other incidents in recent weeks, like an overzealous fan at a Tim McGraw concert grabbing McGraw’s thigh and almost pulling him off stage (he swatted her to make her let go and, of course, she then lawyered up. They settled last week), and it seems like too many fans have forgotten that a concert is a communal experience with rules that are there to make the evening enjoyable for the greater good of all.
I go to concerts for a living and it’s getting weirder and weirder and ruder and ruder. There used to be some semblance of “hey, we all like this artist, we’re all in this together,” now it’s “every man for himself.” Remember when it felt like everyone in movie theaters seemed to forget that they weren’t watching in the privacy of their own home and would talk back to the screen, put their feet up, etc… (I know it still goes on), behavior at concerts is far worse because of the alcohol factor, if nothing else.
A few rules from my pretend Concertgoers Handbook:
1. The arena/club/stadium is not your private playground. People can tolerate a photo or two, but I have spent way too much time watching a show between the triangle formed by the person’s arms in front of me because that person doesn’t seem to realize that a concert is actually much more enjoyable when looking at the stage, as opposed to looking at the stage through a four-inch screen. No one gives a crap what you’re shooting anyway and you’re never going to watch it again.
2. Do not talk through the show. This is another one that confounds me. I can stand people singing at the top of their lungs —as irritating as it may be, I kind of dig that they’re that much into the music. What I can’t stand are the Chatty Cathys who talk throughout the whole show and often it has nothing to do with what’s happening on stage. They talk to their friend like they’re on the phone, chatting about their day, their love life, their dog. Even when they’re whispering, it’s still distracting when they do it throughout the whole show. If you’re that bored by what’s going on on stage, take it to the lobby. Concert conversation should be limited to "This is my favorite song," "Do you want a beer?" and "I'm going to the bathroom. Will be right back."
3. Do not get so drunk that I am terrified you’re going to stagger into me or, even worse, throw up on me at any point. It’s not just the frat boys anymore. It seems we’ve gone from going to a concert to hear music and having a drink or two to using the concert as an excuse to get completely hammered and the music is secondary. It’s like amateur hour out there every night.
4. Don’t sit there with your arms crossed the whole time or texting. No, you don’t have to be on your feet cheering, but there’s nothing like sitting beside a complete sour puss who seems like he would rather be having root canal than hear one more note.
5. Don’t bring your little kids. Did you hear about the woman who breastfed her baby in the pit at a Brad Paisley concert this summer? If you can’t find a babysitter, leave kids under 6 at home, unless it’s a show meant for toddlers, like The Wiggles or something like that. It’s too loud for their little ears and they shouldn’t be expected to have to wait through a long show.
What's your favorite concert pet peeve?