Concerts: Don’t Be That Guy

I love concerts more than anything. More than chocolate. Wait. Not more than chocolate.

There’s nothing like hearing good music while being squashed in a tiny space with complete strangers pushing you around.

When I was 16, my 21-year-old boyfriend (Yeah, my parents loved that.)  took me to my very first concert:  Aerosmith. I thought, Aerosmith? Don’t they only have that one song: Walk This Way? This is going to stink.

Let’s stop here for a moment and reflect on how sheltered and innocent I was.

  1. I couldn’t even use the word “suck.”
  2. I barely knew who Aerosmith was.

My next concert was when I was 19 at the 930 Club in Washington, DC: The Get Up Kids. They were kind of punk.

The smaller setting traumatized me. As much as my boyfriend tried to protect me…

  • I got pushed and elbowed.
  • Someone squeezed my butt.
  • Crowd surfers kicked me.
  • I was nearly trampled.
  • I screamed, “You’re in my personal space!” and “Stop touching me!”

I hated every second of it because no one warned me. Give a girl a heads up!

But now it’s different.

I want to be where the action is. Feel the lead singer’s sweat. Catch the guitar pick or drumstick or whatever else the band throws. Jump up and down.

Here are some things I wish someone had told me. So I’m telling you. Plus, I don’t want you  to end up like the crazy guy from the recent Cowboy Mouth concert.

  • If you’re near the front, look behind you. It hurts when a crowd surfer lands on your head.
  • If you crowd surf, prepare to be groped. Complete strangers will squeeze your butt, boobies, and moobies…on purpose.
  • Dress in clothes you don’t mind getting dirty. Inevitably, someone will spill beer on you.
  • Don’t wear the t-shirt of the band you’re seeing. Like in PCU, don’t be that guy.
  • Know some of the band’s songs. It’s more fun when you sing along.

With this knowledge, run along to your concert prepared and ready to rock.


About thoughtsappear

I eat lots of sugar. It's the only way to keep up with my new baby and to outrun zombies. View all posts by thoughtsappear

48 responses to “Concerts: Don’t Be That Guy

  • SuziCate

    I always love hearing how much fun people have at concerts and all the crazy stories. I very seldom go to them because I always get migraines from the lights and noise and I don’t particularly like being in large unruly crowds…I wish I liked them, seems I miss out on big adventures by being a dud!

  • savesprinkles1234

    My first concert was also Aerosmith!! Way, way back in 1988 (were you born yet?). Their warm-up band was Guns & Roses. I was in the 3rd row at Merriweather Post Pavillion and it was AMAZING!!!!!

    My only experience at the 9:30 Club was kind of a funny one. My friend LeeAnne begged my boyfiriend, at the time ,and I to go see the bad Poi Dog Pondering with her. I’d never heard of the band and didn’t realize that it had a large Gay following. I also didn’t realize that my then boyfriend was a HUGE homophobe. Once he saw that there were Gay men there, he refused to use the restroom in the bar because I guess he thought they would rape him or something. We even offered to stand outside of the bathroom door while he went. LeeAnne and I refused to leave early so he could go potty elsewhere and the dude pissed his pants! By this time, Lee and I had had a few too many drinks and couldn’t stop laughing at the huge pee spot on the front of his khakis. This was my very last date with him.

  • Betty

    Okay, so, I just commented on your birthday post that (basically) things get better with age. Well, as someone who spent their 20s and 30s majoring in rock-n-roll and concerts, I have to say that concerts did start to suck in my 40s. Even Bruce. Especially when I went to see Bruce at the Meadowlands and had nothing behind me except the concrete wall of the arena. A couple of months later, HBO aired a Bruce concert which I was able to dance along in the comfort of my living room, with access to cold beer without having to teeter down and back up 500 steps. I could also hear him (as opposed to just the audience singing along.) But best of all: clean bathrooms. And while I’m on the topic of Bruce, I’d just like to end by saying RIP Clarence.

  • Amy

    “Don’t be that guy.” My husband and I say this all the time! Love PCU.

    I think my first concert was The Monkees (back in the late 80’s when they were making a come-back) at Six Flags. I screamed so much I couldn’t talk the next day.

    Athens, GA has tons of little venues for concerts (being the home of REM and the B52’s, music is a big deal here). I love going to the smaller shows for all the reasons you mention, too. Plus, you don’t have to walk far to get another drink!

  • Linda Medrano

    I went to a lot of concerts when I was in my 20’s. I saw Janis Joplin, The Moody Blues, The Rolling Stones, The Animals, all in San Francisco. Because it was in the 70’s, it was actually fairly mellow because everybody smoked dope. Bill Graham Presents did big free concerts in Golden Gate Park and we saw Tracy Chapman, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young reunited for one show. Outdoor venues are wonderful. I also saw U-2, two blocks from where I worked playing on top of a freeway off ramp. I saw the Stones again a few years ago on one of their “farewell” tours. We went to see Prince as well.

    A girlfriend of mine married a set guy who toured with Billy Idol and Def Lepard so we got to sit with the light and sounds guys at those concerts. I was glad we werern’t in the general seating (standing) areas because these crowds were rowdy.

    I love live music, but really hate crowds that are a little carried away. I have a touch of a problem with not feeling like I can breathe if there are too many people pushing and shoving.

  • fnkybee

    Concerts are one of my all time fav things to do! One thing I heart about living in Nashville is the constant supply of live music every where you turn.
    My first concert was..don’t make fun of me…New Kids on the Block. Yep, I was that girl. I have been to more concerts than I can count or remember. When I got with B he took me to a…wait for it…you’re going to be so jealous….Slayer & Gwar Concert. I had NO idea what I was getting myself in to. It was at a small venue in Cincinnati. I was 19.
    Lessons for that kind of concert.
    1. Don’t hold the pre concert doobie in your cigarette pack. The door people will smell your cigarette pack and when the smell still lingers from the doobie you will be 20 questioned till the cows come home.
    2. Wear a helmet. As I was standing in the crazy crowd of crazy people someone threw a circle serving tray and hit me upside the head.
    3. just don’t go.

    ps. I hate mosh pits.

  • Blarney

    Also, don’t be that person who TALKS through the whole concert? Seriously? Or maybe I’m just old and cranky.

    I was impressed to hear in your earlier post that Kiefer bagged a drumstick! I got handed the set list at a Shins concert, and I got a piece of Morrissey’s shirt (it smelled really super good for a long time). I didn’t fight for it, though. Another concert-goer who’d battled for it handed to me. A tiny swatch, but fine by me. I’m not a big Morrissey fan. 😉

  • marinasleeps

    Dude I have always loved going to concerts. I never minded being pushed. or all that . It just came with the territory.
    my first was Deftones.

    I miss going to concerts.

  • Deborah the Closet Monster

    Most of the concerts I’ve attended have been small, folky concerts, so it’s good to be prepared for what happens if I go to the Other Kind of Concert. 🙂 Granted, I did see P!nk perform live in Hollywood for Halloween festivities one year, for which I’d have welcome instruction on the madhouseness to come . . .

    Love this. 🙂

  • omawarisan

    Oh there are so many “that guy’s”…I always love the guy that stands and turns to “help get the crowd into it”. He’s often someone who violates the t-shirt rule.

    Crowd surfed once at the old Wax Museum club in DC at a Ramones concert. Those days are gone.

  • TC

    I love the get up kids! And I love Concerts too. I’ve beento many concerts, big names such as lady Gaga, and smaller groups such as youmeatsix. But my favorite concert so far was All time low, there a little indie band from America, have you heard of them? The crowd was small enough, and the music was amazing, it was a very intimate concert. Anyway, I agree with what you are saying about crowds getting carried away, I think it spoils the atmosphere.
    Thanks for posting this! Its a very interesting topic.

  • fatisnotanoption

    One time at a small concert, the lead singer ran off the stage and started sprinting HEAD first until his head rammed right into my stomach. WTF. Then he was like, “oh sorry. I didn’t see you.” Ummmmm OOOOOOUCH!!!! I was 17. lol That scared me. A lot.

  • Nikitaland


  • Brittany

    Nothing is better than chocolate!! I have never been to a concert (GASP!!) But I feel 100% prepared now for the moment that I do finally go to my first concert!

  • educlaytion

    I love me some music and am still in the mix at dozens of shows a year. The summer festival season is about to start, so I’ll be seeing tons of bands. Yes, I know who the Get Up Kids are too. I don’t crowd surf. I have problems with how girls are treated when they do. I usually have words* with some of those guys who grope the fun-loving, albeit misdirected, crowd surfing girls.
    *elbows in their face.

  • Hippie Cahier

    I recently had a concert in my living room. No one crowd-surfed, everyone brought food and/or beverages, and I got my own private performance during the “sound check.” You should come next time. We could use a crowd-surfer.

  • TheIdiotSpeaketh

    I gather these rules will still apply when I go to my first Katy Perry concert?

  • Catherine

    This post really made me want to go to more concerts. I have only been to TWO in my life I know crazy. Matchbox 20 in high school and Jimmy Eat World recently. I REALLY gotta get out there 🙂 You will be my inspiration!

  • apieceofthepiehole

    OK, I need to let you know something happend to you when you hit 35. You begin to hate concerts again. I LOVED concerts like you, and then between my 30th birthday to my 33rd birthday it all started to go down hill. The U2 concert (which is my all tim fav band) some thugs dumped beer on a girls head all kinds of drama, Cold Play twice: All I was surrounded was by idiot that were too drunk to care they were there and the final straw The Killers where a fight broke out (I was preggers at the time) right in front of me and I ended up getting my foot stepped on and shoved around. I really wanted to see Muse and Munford and Sons, but I will just watch it on the HD concert channel we get and drink my glass of wine and be old and hold on to the fact that I have way to much expecation on humanit when I am throwing down dead presidents to tolerate BS at concerts. I never thought this would happen to me, so be careful it does not happen to you:-)

  • Sara no "H"

    Ha ha I remember the 1st concert I went to and a girl had steel toe docs on (bc that was the cool thing at that time) and she was crowd surfing. The bouncer yanked her down and got hit in the head with her massive boots! Good advice. 🙂

  • Sara no "H"

    Oh and I loved The get up kids! I was so sad when my friend stole my cd! And I thought PCU was brilliant.

  • xeriouslywtf

    If I’ve ever pushed you around or crowd surfed overhead making unnecessary physical contact, I’m sorry.

  • omawarisan

    I worked at a Keith Urban concert the other night.

    A lot of buying the t-shirt and putting it on happening there. Seriously – toxic levels.

    I am going to return to crowd surfing at one of The Hipster’s concerts.

  • Thypolar

    You need to add this rule

    “don’t go to a concert when you are pregnant because the men don’t care and will hit on you anyways and offer to buy you a beer. Your hormones will be in full swing and it will piss you off so much that you will knee some guy in the groin and spend the last 45 minutes of the Poison concert hiding from security while VH1 is filming the Behind the Music segment”


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