Amy Mantis
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Concert Etiquette

Last night I went to see Sting and Paul Simon.  It was an incredible show (how could it have been anything less?).  It would have been one of the best shows I've ever seen except for one thing - the people around me were terrible concert goers.

I believe in social manners and I strongly believe in concert etiquette.  I don't drink much as it is, but I never drink at concerts for a number of reasons.  One of those reasons is because I know that after imbibing even the most well-behaved people can get obnoxious.  Hence our first problem: the people to my right were wicked drunk and, consequently, wicked loud.  One woman talked throughout out 95% of the show.

Now if this had been a loud rock show, I wouldn't have minded as much.  But given that it wasn't and also that she seemed to really like both Sting and Paul Simon, the talking got old fast.  Yeah I get it that you wanna talk to your friends, but not the ENTIRE TIME.  Why spend the money on the ticket?  Just go to a bar.  Or stay home!

So excessive talking is a no-no in my concert etiquette book.

For the first hour of the show, the seats directly in front of me were empty which was nice for so many reasons.  Seven songs into the show, a group of four shows up and claims their seats.  Womp womp.  But that was fine - people are supposed to go to concerts.

People are not supposed to text throughout concerts.

I absolutely HATE cell phones at concerts.  I think I took mine out three times last night - once to respond to a friend whom I thought I could pick up from the airport but couldn't and the other times to check the set list (sometimes I like to be surprised, but these guys don't do surprises so I don't care.  Bruce Springsteen?  I never check a setlist during a show - all kinds of surprises).  And the brightness on my phone was all the way off.  I'd ban cell phones from concerts if I could.

Meanwhile, the people in front of me had their phones out THE ENTIRE TIME.  The man in front of me proceeded to show his friends (and I think strangers too) pictures of his last vacation, the woman next to him I think had two cell phones (I saw a Blackberry and an iPhone - I think), and the woman next to her would take a video and send it to her friends, then text about it.

Fact: your video isn't special.  Your friends probably already knew you were going to the show so they don't care.  Just stop.  And taking a video of the screen?  Why?

On the flip side - I love standing up and dancing at concerts.  Both Paul Simon and Sting have songs that make you want to dance.  I don't care if I'm one of six people up and dancing, if I want to dance, I'm gonna dance.  Don't get mad.  First of all, there's nothing to watch (except Vinnie Colaiuta), and second of all, I'm not a giant (I'm just shy of 5' 8").  You can easily see past me.  Sometimes I just can't sit down.  I need to groove!  There's a reason why so many girls dance.  We can't help ourselves.   Bob Lefsetz once said that girls have rhythm in them.  I'd say that's true.  And if "You Can Call Me Al" doesn't make you want to dance, then you are a poor soul and I feel sorry for you.

When you go to a concert, you go there for the music first.  The music is more than enough to have a good time.  Yeah it's cool that you're there with your buddies having a few beers.  But remember that you're there for the music.  And to dance and sing and not talk over the music.

Moral of the story:

- Don't get wasted and be a jerk
- Don't use your phone the entire time (and be a jerk)
- If someone wants to stand up, they have the right to stand up

Oh and a few more things:

- Don't start fights with someone who's actually there to enjoy the show
- Don't start fights period
- Don't get security over someone who's smoking weed (I don't smoke, but I have no problem with anyone who does.  Especially at a concert.  Toke up, man - and pass it around!)