Going to rock concerts has always meant dealing with a bunch of unruly people, many of them very drunk – but it seems like lately things have been worse than ever. Attention spans are at an all-time low, and the ubiquity of smartphones has resulted in a huge percentage of the audience at any given show barely paying attention to the action onstage. Here are the 10 most annoying behaviors at rock concerts:
1. Taking pictures the entire freaking show.
I get it. You want to show all your friends on Facebook and Twitter that you saw a cool concert. Fine. Take a photo. Take five if you want! But please, don't take 77. You always manage to hold your camera right in my line of sight. You don't even look like you're enjoying the show while you're doing this. All your attention is on the photos. And you know what? Those photos are all going to look like shit. Every single one of them. You're too far away. You'll probably never even look at them. Also, you see those guys right in front of the stage with the giant cameras? They're taking great professional pictures. There's really no need for yours.
2. Checking e-mail, Facebook and Twitter every couple of minutes.
Unless you're a surgeon or a firefighter, everything can wait. Live in the moment. Enjoy the show. You paid good money to be here. You can e-mail your friends when you get home. Also, that cellphone emits a very harsh and distracting glow. For the love of God, just turn it off.
3. Incessantly talking to your friends.
You might not like whatever song is playing. You may be bored with the show in general. You may have been dragged here against your will. But you've been chattering the entire show, and I can hear every word. It's driving me crazy. Please shut up. Please. I can't tell you how many shows I attend where the two people in front of me are yelling in each others' ears the entire night. Not only is my sightline blocked when their heads come together, but I can hear them. Maybe go to a coffee shop when the show is done. Lie under an oak tree and talk until the sun comes up. I don't care. Just quiet down so I can enjoy the show.
4. Yelling out requests.
Look, I hope Morrissey plays "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" also. That would be cool – but stop screaming for it. Most of the time the set list is pre-determined, and you're screaming in my ear. They're going to play what they're going to play. Go along for the ride. And to the guy screaming for a super obscure B-side from 15 years ago? Nobody thinks you're cool.
5. Yelling out "Freebird!"
This request deserves its own subcategory of irritation. This joke has never been funny. Not once. Just stop. It was lame in 1981. Now it's just infuriating.
6. Pushing your way to the front.
If a concert is general admission, the people in front earned their spots. They got there early and laid claim to their space. The people all the way in front might have even spent all day camped out by the doors, so when the lights go off and you shove your way to the front, you're being a huge asshole. Don't do that. If you show up late and there's only room in the back, you've just gotta deal with it.
7. Getting so drunk you puke.
At pretty much any big concert, you'll see a janitor emerge after a couple of songs with a big broom and a bucket of sawdust. It means somebody puked. It's a bummer for the puker, but the people all around have to deal with the aftermath. Don't be the vomit guy. There's no worse kind of person to be at the concert.
8. Loudly complaining after the show because the band didn't play your favorite song.
Not all artists take the Rod Stewart/Billy Joel/Tom Petty approach of "nothing but the hits." Performers like Neil Young or Van Morrison are unpredictable. This is actually a good thing. Try to enjoy the show you're getting as opposed the one you wish you were seeing. Besides, haven't you heard "Brown Eyed Girl" and "Southern Man" enough?
9. Filming the entire show on your iPhone.
This distracts people even worse than taking pictures, and usually results in an equally horrid product. The sad irony is that people tend to film their favorite songs, but the smiles on their faces are gone when all their concentration goes into capturing these moments on film. Tomorrow morning, YouTube will be cluttered with crappy cellphone videos of every song from whatever show you're seeing. There's no need to add to that. You paid good money to see a show, and you're joylessly watching it through a tiny screen on your iPhone. It just doesn't make any sense.
10. Yelling "Sit down!" at people who are standing up.
This is a real problem at theater and arena shows that attract fans over the age of, say, 40. Nobody can quite agree when to stand or when to sit down. Inevitably, there are some people standing right in front of people that wish to remain seated. Between songs, someone will scream "Sit down!" The stander either obliges, or yells back something like "Go fuck yourself." The person in the seat just seethes with rage, and the tension seeps through the whole section. Often the person is standing only because someone in front of them is standing. It leads to chaos, and grumpy old people spending the entire show miserable. This has to stop. Here's a simple rule of thumb: If you can't see, stand up. It's very easy. Inversely, if everyone in front of you is seated, sit down. Go with the flow and just relax. We're all in this concert together.