Don't Be an Asshole or: A Few Words On The Subject of Concert Etiquette

Categories: Open Thread

Unfortunately, I could only hold my tongue for so long. They weren't just having a good time. They were making a total spectacle of themselves, and bothering everyone around them. One guy, sitting a few seats down from me, had to use his hands as blinders to keep from being completely distracted by this couple and their unbearably bad dancing. It only got worse during Wilco's encore, when most of the people in their row decided to leave rather than suffer through more of these people's bullshit.

Enough was enough. I tapped them on the shoulder and asked them if they could sit down for the rest of the show. Their response was, as expected, that they were "just trying to have a good time." I politely pointed out to them that I was all for them having a good time, but that their good time was causing everyone else around them to have a really bad time, and that simply put, they were the worst two people on the planet.

In fairness to this couple, I'm really not against anyone who goes to a concert from having a good time. In fact, there have been lots of times that I wished Phoenix concertgoers would show a little bit more life. If they had wanted to dance the night away a venue like the Marquee Theatre or The Clubhouse it would have been totally acceptable. I would have just simply moved away from them. But we're talking tickets. We're talking assigned seating.

This pretty much brings me to my point, and it's not just directed at this specific couple, but also to the excessive woo'ers or the guy who shouts out the name of his favorite song he wants the band to play next over and over again, and especially the guy sitting in the middle of the row who gets up twenty times during the bands set: Please be aware of your surroundings, and that your "good time" is affecting everyone around you.

In Jason Woodbury's review of the show, he mentions in his Critic's Notebook that he overheard one concertgoer say, "I've never felt this good leaving a concert." I wish I could say the same thing. I wish that when I looked back at this show I'd remember how awesome Wilco's performance of "Via Chicago" was, or how awesome it was when Jeff Tweedy did a "modified version of the running man." Instead, I'm going to remember it for the two assholes shaking it in front of me.

Honestly, I'm glad I said something to them. I often don't. Do I really think it will make a difference? Probably not. They probably drove home after the concert and talked about what an asshole I was (ironic, isn't it?). But hopefully, crawling into bed that night, the thought burrowed like a worm in their minds. "Were we, indeed, being assholes?" Maybe, just maybe, someone will read this and recall a time they were an asshole at a show. It happens to the best of us. But it doesn't have to. And if just one person takes that away from this discussion, the world will be a much better place.

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43 comments
ChristineK/ChrissieK
ChristineK/ChrissieK

You have summed up every concert I've been to!  Here's another one: Single female around 300 pounds in her late 40s, skin like leather and drunk falling all over the people in her row while getting up to dance because "She is there to have a good time."  Then the best part, at the end of the show she then throws herself at the band AND they commend her for it.I can't tell if in this case, the concert goer is the asshole or the band is.  

Jfoisy1985
Jfoisy1985

Also you can find a similar article on cracked.com of 7 assholes who always go to concerts..my list is almost the same and why you say!?? Because every concerts have the same f$cktards who seem to go to the concerts just to be f$cktards and ruiun everyone roses time...

There is a difference from dancing and having a good time and dancing to be an asshole

Jfoisy1985
Jfoisy1985

sorry iPad corrected half of my words....not even going to try to fix al, the typos, but you all get the point.

Jfoisy1985
Jfoisy1985

10 people you do not want to get stuck next to at a concert....I manage to usually get at least one of these at every show...sometimes even two...I just went to a rammstein concert and got three all at once. Arggg..granted I am sure I was number 4 at one point or another

10 people who shouldn't go to concerts

1. Young kids who need parents to get in.  Parents are always miserable because they would rather kill themselves then be there one more second, and the kids are just annoying!!

2. The hippie Tasmanian daredevil that spins her lice infested dread locked hair in your face the entire time.

3. The free bird caller... The person who finds it necessary to scream out "play free Bird after every song is over" whether or not they are at a lanyard skinard concert...granted I did this at the Vince Gill concert and it was pretty funny :) 

4. The drunk perpetual vomiter who doesn't manage to even make it through one song before they are in a alcoholic comma at your feet. (guilty myself, but it was also the vince gill show, so it was understandable)

5. The I'm going to try to start a mosh pit no matter what a$$hole. No matter the show, even a Barry mantalo concert there is always one. 

6. The i know more about the band then you do jerk who feels the need to spill the entire life story of the band on any poor b$stered within ear shot.

7. The karaoke annoying singer who for some reason thinks that I paid $80 to hear their awful voice the entire time. 

8. The 800 lb man that tries repeatedly to crowed surf, but nobody can hold his a$$ up and continues to drop him. But never gives up until he eventually squishes a young girl (I'm always the person holding them up and gets squashed)

9. The 800lb women who has terrible back ache that always has to have her shirt off and sweats uncontrollably into my 8 buck beer.  Nobody wants to see those so she should just put them away before i turn into number 4

10. and now finally the 7 foot a- holes who plot themselves front row with arms up to block every person behind them. 

Bonus... The leg humpers...the old guys who find young girls to stand behind or next to and try to hump them the entire show...

I never have failed to have at least one if not more next to me at every show...always get the bonus when its standing room only!!! 

Dennis O'Hagan
Dennis O'Hagan

Wow, you have me wondering if it was the same couple that behaved exactly the same way in front of me at Friday's LA Theater show.  Dude was a wookie, had the long hair and bushy beard, kept flying the rock'n'roll horns with this flailing arms dance, and screamed "YEAH!!!!!!" and howled incessantly through every goddamn song.  I didn't say anything to them, but I frequently thought of killing them.

RobinGB
RobinGB

You need to wash the sand out of your vag, Mike. It's a concert. Musicians would rather have people dancing and having a good time responding to the music then sitting like a bunch of dead corpses. 

Emily Clements
Emily Clements

I have a distinct feeling that people you're talking about sat in front of me at the Arcade Fire concert. Oblivious, uncaring, strange, scenester looking, but missed the look by a mile, just something very abnormal about everything they did. I saw them again at the Of Montreal show, but that was at Marquee so it didn't matter at all. If the girl was impossibly small and seemed more like a sidekick than girlfriend, and if he ever picked her up awkwardly in some spontaneous dancing ritual, than they are in fact the same exact people who almost ruined Arcade Fire for everyone around them. 

Easydoesit
Easydoesit

If people got stoned on good pot before the show instead of being straight or getting drunk people would be alot more nice stoned than drunk or straight. God made Pot, Man made Liquor, who do you trust?

BRIAN HAMC PHX AZ
BRIAN HAMC PHX AZ

Just hire a $ member of the local Hells Angels MC like myself to stand next to you at a concert. I guarantee you no one will bother you the whole night long at all with me standing next to you.  Brian, Hells Angels MC Phoenix Arizona Charter. I AM FOR HIRE $ FOR REAL!

el aguila
el aguila

I was at the War concert this weekend at the Marquee, third row. They are a very generous band by signing autographs and giving stuff away such as towels and drum sticks and posing for pix during the concert. But then every jackass from the cheap seats wanted something. Even the good looking broads dancing for the band became seriously annoying. Ugh--assholes!

Wonder Warthog
Wonder Warthog

Stop by the Beacon Theater in NYC New York Shitty in March 2012 for 10 to 12 live shows  at the Beacon to see the great Allmam Brothers Band and meet our great fans who actually respect and get along with each other.

Ghost World
Ghost World

everybody is an asshole now days so we all might as well get used to it. this story reminds me of a scene in the movie ghost world with steve buscemi and he is in a  blues bar with and the broad sitting next to him jumps to dance to the blues music and she waves her arms and hips etc like a jack ass cunt and knocks over and spills the drinks all over the place and on steve and he gets all pissed off and thinks what the fuck? and he leaves the bar in a rage and full of anger and frustrated cusses and complains the whole way home in his shitty car about how fucked up people and socity are now days.   its a great movie and its all so true.

OLD HIPPIE
OLD HIPPIE

You never had problems like this at a Grateful Dead show back in the 1960s and 1970s.  we Dead Heads all had  love and respect for one another. you guys now days dont even know what love or respect is. now here comes the hateful mean unloving remarks from evil violent new times nazie readers of 2012.

Jason
Jason

You  2012 yuppies should have been at Altamont in 1969 at the stone concert. that would have really pissed you pussys off. the Hells Angels rode their 50 bikes right threw the crowd up to the front and parked them in front of the stage. they then beat everybody up with sawed pool ques and stabbed a negro to death right in front of the stage. I was tripping on orange sunshine acid at the time and it was one big bad violent bloody scene man! I have never mentally recoveed and I know live in a mental home since that day 40+ years ago.

joe.distort
joe.distort

going to a show with seats kind of ruins it for me before anything else even happens...its why i try to avoid it whenever possible. i think ive had seats for maybe 10 of my 300+ shows

Wesja13
Wesja13

I usually take a pocket full of pennies.  I throw them at that one bitch that stands through the whole concert with his fatass girlfriend on his shoulders,  right in front of you.  Throw to mame.  don't throw to kill.  my advice.  

teknik1200
teknik1200

Be weary of the dance police. There is a concert venue in Anchorage which forbids dancing.

Imagine seeing Los Lobos and not being able to dance. Now imaging them jumping into La Bamba and people jumping out of their seats.  This lasted 30 seconds before every light in the venue was turned on, and the music turned down until folks stopped dancing and sat down.

Quite possibly the worst concert experience I've ever had.

One of the People Around You.
One of the People Around You.

We had four middle aged guys in front of us who would have ruined the entire show if they hadn't been so drunk they just left half way through. They started by hitting on all of the girls around them, and offering them tequila from the flask they had snuck in. Then, when the music started, they began to dance, yell, and generally try too hard to show everyone that they were really, really into this band. One of them just started shaking his head side to side for about a minute, and the slight dizziness set in, his head slowly drooped in front of the guy to his left who just looked at him for a few moments and then slowly shook his head. Another one of them played air guitar for most of the solo/breakdown of Either Way, which was several minutes long.

For me, it's not about them having fun. I'm all for going to a show, not acting your age, and having a good time. I don't fault people for standing or for dancing--that's more than expected. It's when it starts to look like you're trying too hard that I get annoyed. I get it, you like the band and maybe you've liked them since, like, forever, but I don't need it broadcasted, and neiter does anyone else around you. Everyone near us was thrilled when they finally left, and we were all intermittently standing and dancing. Whether those guys liked it or not, they're concert going experience is shared, directly by those around them. It will always be a communal thing, so you can suck it up and think about the people around you, or just decide it's all about you and just do whatever you want regardless of the effects.

Concerned Concert Goer
Concerned Concert Goer

I'm sorry, I thought at first you mentioned that you were at a rock concert, but it's clear by your review that you believed you were at the symphony.  How dare those people *gasp* STAND and DANCE to the music!  What were they thinking?!

Mr. Duke
Mr. Duke

I feel your pain brother.  I had a very similar experience at a 311 concert a few years ago. It was at the Dodge Theater (now Comerica), and I had some of the best seats I've ever gotten for a show. We were about 10 rows back center stage.  I was completely stoked as was my girlfriend.  Much to my dismay, security was pretty lacks at this show, and they were allowing people to stand in the aisle. Of course my seat was the aisle seat, and my girl had the next one in. Queue dochey aholes.  Some dick and his girl start dancing right next to me. She's flapping her arms around like some cracked out monkey and proceeds to whack me directly in the head. They apologize and no foul even though they're standing in the aisle nowhere near their actual seats. Things are fine for about 10 minutes until she revs up her next round of the crack monkey dance, and hits me in the head AGAIN. Mind you I'm 6'2 220. I then lose it, and colorfully ask them to get the fuck away from me. Of course this king bummer of an asshole squares off with me, and I then to attempted to make his head part of the concert flooring. Luckily my fellow concert goers in my section were as annoyed as I was, so when security showed up they stop them from tossing me and explained the situation. They escorted the morons out, but the experience was fucked.  Makes you not even want to leave the house or join a political party who's main platform is forced sterilization of anyone with an IQ below 100!   

musicloverchick
musicloverchick

I get what you're saying, but you know what, music is for dancing, especially if it makes you feel good. My husband and I travel around the country  (on our own "dime"-insert inflation here) to see good music (what we do for our vacations) and what we've noticed is Phoenix, our home base, is one of the few places where people sit like stones during awesome shows.  However, at the Wilco show, we were thrilled to see people dancing! In fact, we were shocked that for the first time people were moving around and showing actual emotion towards a band! Our seats were in Tier C (Tweedy side) and where we sat no one was dancing, so we followed suit and stayed put and did some reasonable seat dancing;-) But I wanted to get up and dance! And, if others around me would have felt the love of the music and danced, I certainly would have! It isn't a movie where I have to sit and pay attention to a plot, it's live music people....and live music makes you feel ALIVE! But  I didn't want to be "that chick" as you've described, and be a nuisance to those around me. 

In my opinion though,the real assholes are the bros at many shows that are totally intoxicated and shout-talk thru the entire show and never even pay attention to the music.  Oh, and I would be remiss if I didn't mention those people that think the entire floor is their own personal dance space, they need to get real and I've told them so.

I'm not sure what the answer is, and everyone's entitled to their own positive experience at a show. And yes, I still enjoyed the Wilco show even though I couldn't stand up and dance but I would have felt GREAT leaving that show like the person you overheard as you were leaving, if I could have danced.

Legal
Legal

You forgot the add in the drunks/drugged out idiots who talk through the entire concert and or the a holes that try to record THE ENTIRE concert on their cell phones right next to you making your view, their cell phone.  Why would you waste your money to do that.  I mean not just a song or a minute but the ENTIRE concert. No its not worth going with people who not only break the social contract -enjoy the concert but don't infringe on other's enjoyment.  I think after the first ten minutes of the dance routine you should have accidentally spilled your drink  -on them. 

Turd Polisher
Turd Polisher

 The 1960S-70S Band WAR or ERIC BURTON AND WAR are not the War of 2012 you missed the real band called WAR by about 40 years pal. you young  lame boring motherfuckers  today dont know what you missed from not being alive back then.

Turd Polisher
Turd Polisher

 Thats what you get for hanging around with people like that.

Phoenix New Times
Phoenix New Times

Ehhh...I still think it's more like "Footloose." I'm sticking with "Footloose."

Phoenix New Times
Phoenix New Times

You're probably right. Nothing bad has ever happened at a Dead show.

OLD HIPPIE
OLD HIPPIE

I was at Woodstock NY in 1969 and the Atlanta pop fest in Georgia 1970 and the Charlotte jam North Carolina  in 1973 and it was all peaceful mellow and cool all 3 days at all 3 shows and this was in the hot ass summer time and there was plenty of drugs around like Quaalude's and LSD Mescaline etc and things still went fine. the wannee fest in north Florida  every year in april put on by the Allman Brothers Band is also very mellow polite and a nice 3 days fest to. the Memphis blues fest in Tennesse is nice people to.  so there are a few places to see live music where its still cool and mellow if you know where to look. it all depends on what type of people are at the shows. classy cultured people or unclassy uncultured slobs.  I hang out with classy cultured people.

Backintheday
Backintheday

 Hells Angels leader 73 yr old sonny barger was there and he was the guy leading the HAs on their bikes towards the stage where the rolling stones were playing.. and now in 2012 he is still alive and kicking and lives here in black canyon city Arizona at 73 years old. what a weird wacky world we live in. I never though sonny barger would live past 30 or 40 years old back then. that bastard is one tuff som bitch.

Phoenix New Times
Phoenix New Times

Just like "Footloose." Except in Alaska. And with Los Lobos.

Melissa Fossum
Melissa Fossum

I was RIGHT behind those guys and it definitely soured my experience a bit. I'm glad they finally got too drunk and left, even if it was a little too late into the show.

Dennis O'Hagan
Dennis O'Hagan

yours is the kind of ill informed post that illustrates the problem.  Just because a concert is "rock" does NOT mean people have a pass to be obnoxious.  Some "rock" concerts, like Wilco, contain extensive passages of quiet, delicate music, and it's disrespectful not only to the other fans but also the artists to hoot and holler, talk, or flail around like you're tripping at a Phish show.  If everyone else in the theater is sitting and quietly taking in the music, then perhaps one should get a clue about what proper behaviour for that moment would be.  I'd also note that it is not an uncommon complaint amongst artists that American audiences often won't shut the F up during quieter musical moments. 

Amber
Amber

Holy shit. I could have sworn you were sitting next to us but if you shot the video attached we were farther back in row 22. Exact same experience which was a bummer since I loved the set but couldn't get past the monstrosity that was the terrible obnoxious dancing in front of us. I likened the girls constant move to that of Joan Cusack in 16 Candles. The guy? All his own fresh moves.

Jasonptcgaz
Jasonptcgaz

 You got that right! thats why they are all so mean mad and violent now. the music sucks ass and make them very pissed off.

Margie
Margie

 That Baby Boomer generation back then  in the 60s and 70s was alot more cool mellow and loving than todays young spoiled rude disrespectful spoonfed surburban punks are. thats the difference in then and now. now days they are all wannbee tough guys and insecure violent gangsters with an inferiorty complex who have no respect for anyone. its like they are all from the dark side of satan now or kids of that psycho cult leader hippie charlie manson.

Michael Escoto
Michael Escoto

Maybe they can use that and turn it into a Footloose sequel.

Turd Polisher
Turd Polisher

 Its all true. Who else can we blame if not spoiled white spoon fed suburbia selfishness Evil and Satan? it all comes down to people have no RESPECT for others.

Phoenix New Times
Phoenix New Times

Wilco fans = Disrespectful spoonfed suburban punks...from the dark side of Satan.

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