Tips for Having Fun at Concerts
Advice for Concerts
You may be thinking “What do I have to know?”. I would hesitate to call it a survival guide because this advice can apply to the mellowest of shows. However, if you’re into heavy music, I’ll cover that too. I’m open to all music with a beat. I’ve seen over 30 concerts (had to write them all down and count) from the Backstreet Boys to Alice in Chains to Slayer. I’ve taken every opportunity to see a show I felt I needed to see. I’ve been to venues from tiny nightclubs to huge stadiums and everything in between that were in my hometown as well as hours away. I’ve partied in the lawn and almost died in a pit. I have experience.
Where to start?
Let’s start with the best part… The PIT
The pit is the closest section to the stage, usually, and it’s the roughest area in the venue. You may think you won’t see over the tall guy in front of you but after a while the crowd evens out and you’ll see a lot. Unless you have serious health issues, you should at least try the pit. Mosh pits often form in this section but avoiding them is easy. I’ve been to thrash metal shows where I didn’t leave with a scratch. One thing to consider though is that “the wall” may form and you’ll get crushed in between everyone. The only time I found this to be a problem was during Slayer shows but this is mainly because I’m a short girl and most Slayer fans are fairly big guys. If you know the demographics of the fan base, that can help you determine if you should worry.
I forgot to mention that you’ll be standing for a long time. 99% of the time the pit will be standing room only. If you can’t stand for at least a couple of hours, I wouldn’t recommend the pit. I’ll admit my back gets very sore towards the end and I don’t have back problems. Just in case, you should consider taking a painkiller before or during the show to prevent this problem.
This next point is very important. Pits get EXTREMELY hot. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the dead of winter, inside or outside. When there is a crowd and there’s barely room for your arms, the body heat, and odor will be all around you. Hours before the show, you need to prepare and don’t think this is being neurotic. This could also apply even if you won’t be in the pit. You need to eat a good meal beforehand because the price of food at these events, as well as the water, is outrageous. Also, as I mentioned, you need to be drinking water hours beforehand. During the show, you’re going to be begging for water. I’m really cheap so if I do buy water at a show, it’ll be one bottle. You have to keep in mind that if you leave the pit at any point during the show, even intermission, you’re going to lose your spot. The only way of gaining the spot back is by angering a bunch of people in the crowd, not recommended, or by crowd surfing in hopes of getting dropped before they hand you over to security. I’ve never crowd-surfed so I can’t recommend it but I’ve never understood why you would want to leave the pit, unless it was the last song or if you felt like passing out. After the show, I usually have a huge jug of water there for me in the car and I drink it like I’ve never seen water before. If you’ve got a decent road trip ahead of you, you should plan on a bathroom break on the way home. For me, I don’t have to go to the bathroom during concerts because I sweat out most of the water.
Here are some other tips for handling the pit:
- Water. I really can’t mention it enough.
- Shoes- Wear sneakers. Don’t dress up. No one cares what you’re wearing
- Clothes. Similar to number 2. Wear jeans and a t-shirt in the winter or shorts if it’s hot. Dress according to the weather but keep in mind it’s going to be hot even in the winter in an arena. Make sure no part of your clothing is touching the ground. I made this mistake once and tripped over my jeans that were too long. I managed to get myself up but that was extremely lucky. People will help you get up though in most cases. The favor needs to be returned though; try to help someone if they fall. People have died in pits from getting trampled. Think Black Friday at Wal-Mart, except people at concerts are less vicious and don’t want to hurt you.
- Understand where you are. Basically, don’t complain about being too hot or getting shoved around a little bit. Someone might spill beer on you but if you’re wearing clothes you don’t care about, it won't matter. Everyone is uncomfortable. Don't be the only whiner.
- Getting there early-It’s totally up to you. If the concert is close to me or if I have the time I will make an effort to wait early. If the show you are going to will be aggressive you might not have to get there too early. However, if you can assume it won’t be that aggressive, you’ll want to get there a bit earlier. It also depends on the venue. Here’s an example: I saw Avenged Sevenfold one time and their shows can get rough. I got there as the doors opened, which is considered really late in the world of concerts and I almost got to the barricade before they actually came on. Use the opening bands to your advantage in this case. However, when I saw the Backstreet Boys, I knew I had to get their early because the crowd wouldn’t be crazy and I wouldn't have a mosh pit to push me, literally, forward. I got there 2 hours early and that was just enough. They are also very popular so I took that into account as well. I still laugh at the fact that people came in when doors opened, and were shocked at how huge the line was.
- If you plan on getting there early you should take into account how big the band is, how small the venue is, and the weather. If I plan on going to an indoor show and wait outside I wear a jacket that I can wrap around my waist when I get inside. Don’t bring a winter coat into the pit unless you have someone sitting in the seats. Don't bring too much into the pit if you can help it. You’re not going to want to hold it and especially wear it. Waiting in line is easier with friends because you have someone to save the spot in the line although I’ve managed to wait 4 hours by myself and it worked out okay.
Other Seating Options
Alright, that’s enough about the pit. The lawn and seats are other options for seating at a concert. I don’t really like seating because I like being able to work my way up to the stage. You can try to hang around in the aisle but you’ll most likely be told to go back to your seat. I’ve only been in the lawn a few times and it’s really only when I don’t know too many songs of the band and I don’t have a lot of money to blow. If you’re of age, this might be the place for you and your big group of friends to hang out and drink since it’s cheaper and you don’t have to buy your tickets together. Since it’s outside you should still plan on drinking enough water and eating beforehand, again, to avoid spending money on food and using it on a merchandise, or alcohol. That’s always fun.
It’s expensive. I only get a t-shirt if it shows a lot of bands on it or I really love the band. If you have the money, definitely buy something. I’ve wanted to buy shirts online afterwards because I didn’t want to wait in line but I never find the tour shirts.
Some places charge ridiculous amounts for parking while other venues it’s free or included in the price of the ticket. If the price is really high, like in Camden, NJ where it’s $25, try to find street parking somewhere that may be free. You should really find this out ahead of time
Know most of the music
I’ve seen a plethora of opening bands and whatnot that I’ve suffered through, and not because they were bad. I’ve found that the songs you actually know, or are at least familiar with, are the most fun. That may sound obvious, and it is but you might find a new band you like. Also, don’t drag people along who don’t like or know the band…Which relates to my next point...
I used to think people who went to concerts alone were losers, until I went to my first show alone which was Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax. It was a pretty intense first show alone and while I was in fear of ending up in the hospital with no ride home, it was definitely one of the best. I’ve now been to many alone and I definitely think you shouldn’t miss a chance to see something that could end, just because you can’t find people to go with. It is nothing like going alone to the movies. You might feel a bit awkward walking in, out, and during intermissions, but that band is going to be in a different city and that opportunity will be gone. I’ve seen a few bands that have since broken up and I never would have seen them if I waited for my friends to become available. I do have to say that I had a hard time enjoying myself when I went to seated shows alone. If you’re in a pit, you’ll be fine. Everyone gets scrambled anyway.
Taking Pictures and Videos
I used to charge my phone all the way just to take 2 hours’ worth of pictures and videos. I came to realize that I was spending more time looking at my screen than the live performance in front of me. I couldn’t even remember the show, which is really unfortunate. What I do now though is take pictures throughout the first song or two and the phone goes back in my pocket. This will free up your hands to catch picks and different things the band might toss into the crowd. Beware: this is when people start acting like animals. If you look around everyone else will be doing the same thing. It’ll be on YouTube the next day and there will always be someone with clear, better footage than you and it won’t even be worth it. Then you can go on YouTube the next day to help cure your PCD, or Post- Concert Depression.
I think I covered everything, if you have a question leave it in the comments section and I could probably answer it. Thanks for reading!