By Craig Ismali
Every time I attend a concert, I tend to run into people that are your average, run-of-the-mill bad concert-goer. I have seen the concert-goer who yells at the opening band to get off the stage, the person who screams for the headlining band to play their biggest hit right as the band starts their first song, and the fan who hits the open bar in the venue early and often countless times. All these people, while annoying, I can tolerate. But the following five subjects take the annoying quotient and ratchet it up to a level that makes concert-going a sometimes unbearable task. The concept for this article was loosely based off Mitch Albom’s “Five People You Meet in Heaven,” if Mitch Albom was a masochist and paid 25 dollars ti have a run in with the most awful people in heaven.
5. The Shield Boyfriend/Bubble People. “Bubble People” — (noun) People who are not made aware that purchasing a ticket to a sold out general admission show means giving up your right to a three-feet bubble of “personal space.” The Shield Boyfriend and Bubble People are lumped together in this list because often they are a couple attending the show together. The Bubble People will become fickle if they are shoved, but are so passive aggressive that they will almost never physically push back. That’s where the Shield Boyfriend comes in. He feels it his sacred duty as a man to protect his woman in the crowd. If that’s what the guy has to do to stay out of the doghouse, then good for him; but perhaps next time it’s best to stay out of a rowdy crowd if you are worried about your companion’s well-being.
4. The over-zealous fan. These are the opposite of bubble people. The over-zealous fan makes his presence physically known to those around him. This is the guy who just “cares so much about the band” that he has to express it in the most obnoxious ways possible. This particular offender can be seen a) crowd surfing 30 times in one song b) generally not giving a damn about anyone else in the crowd’s well-being and c) finding the tiniest girl in the crowd he can and “accidentally” kicking her in the face.
3. Mosh Pit Mafia. This class of concert-goer keeps busy by beating up invisible ninjas and generally looking like bigger douchebags than NBC when they cancelled “Community.” This group of people is the most likely to step on somebody when they fall down in the crowd instead of picking the person up (a cardinal sin in my concert-going handbook) simply because they are too busy being “br00tal” and getting the metal out. They are most likely to be found wearing a metal-core band’s custom basketball jersey and a snapback hat with the label still on the brim.
2. The Guy Who Yells “Freebird.” Please don’t ever be this guy. This joke wasn’t funny 20 years ago, and it certainly isn’t funny now. If I am ever sent back in time, I know that one of my stops will be in 1973 to stop Lynyrd Skynyrd from ever releasing this song.
1. Paparazzi. We’ve all seen them. The people who spend all night looking at the stage through the tiny screen of their old LG Chocolate, recording the show in 30 second clips of dark, lo-res images of little pixels which may or may not be the lead singer. Is this person ever really going to watch the concert over again on their camera phones? This video they had to have is just going to take up space on his or her phone’s memory card until the culprit deletes it to have more room for duck-faced mirror photos. Or worse, they will post the video on Youtube, where decent concert footage will be blocked out by 20 videos that sound somewhere between radio static and New York Subway terminal. Adam Lazzara of Taking Back Sunday has made it a regular part of the band’s set to denounce his support for this type of concert-goer.
“What I’m trying to say is … you spend all day everyday behind this little screen,” Lazzara said during the band’s recent tour. “So why are you going to pay a lot of money and come here and spend it behind this small, little screen? I’m right here. Be with me!” He said it better than I could have possibly said it myself, explaining with certainty why this is my least favorite type of concert-goer.
Each one of these types of concert-goers will appear at different concerts to varying degrees. Some may only have one or two of the types in attendance if it is a particularly well-behaved show. While some shows may entirely consist of this awful cesspool of terrible human characteristics. In fact, you may even have taken one of these stereotypical roles once or twice if you’ve been to enough concerts (please don’t write in and tell me you are a Juggalo), but now that you are aware of your etiquette-breaking past, you can enjoy future shows without aggravating everyone around you.