Staff Picks: Throwing Out Three Unwritten Concert Rules

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Those of us who enjoy going to shows and live for that live music experience have encountered a number of so-called “rules” meant to enhance your concert-going experience. Many of these rules can range from the practical to the downright superstitious. Regardless of their actual helpfulness, show attendees tend to passionately cling to these rules and traditions. In all reality, though, concerts are about letting go and having a good time, so here are why some of these rules are ridiculous.

If you don’t know the words, then you must not be a real fan.

Now this isn’t really a rule I’ve ever seen on a concert survival listicle, but it is a common thing I hear fellow concert-goers complain about at shows. All too often I hear fans drone on with complaints like, “those girls in the front didn’t even know a single word, so why are they even here?”

I understand what people are saying when it comes to that guy standing in the front with his arms crossed looking bored out of his mind, but let’s be real, knowing the lyrics doesn’t automatically make you a true fan. It also doesn’t give you a right to have more of a good time than anyone else.

I listen to a lot of bands. There is no way I know every word to every song by every band I’ve ever liked. That’s means I go to shows and, gasp, can’t sing along to every, sometimes even most, of the band’s songs. Do I tend to feel like a fraud? Yes. Should I really be judged for it? No.

 

Listening to the band you are going to see on your way to the show will ruin your night.

For me, it’s practically a ritual to listen to the band I’m about to see on the way there. I may not have listened to that particular artist in a while, and this is my chance to jog my memory before the show. This is also how I get myself pumped up and energetic for the night ahead.

You want to listen to other bands or artists? That’s cool, you do you, but I’ll gladly play that band’s entire discography at full volume as I drive to the venue.

 

Never wear the shirt of the band you are going to see.

Everyone who’s ever been to a show knows this rule. It is the almighty concert taboo to wear the shirt of the headlining band, and there are a multitude of reasons as to why this is the case: “it makes you look like you’re trying too hard”, “it’s a conversation dud”, even “it’s bad luck.” I think I’ve heard every explanation in the book. I understand that for a lot of us, myself included, what to wear to a show takes a lot of conscious effort. We don’t want to seem like the lame newbie at the show.

Here’s another dose of reality, though: it really doesn’t matter what you wear. If I wear the shirt of the band I’m going to see, there’s usually 50 other attendees doing the exact same thing. I’ve almost never had someone start talking to me because of what I was wearing; we’re going to be in line for hours, so conversation tends to happen regardless. And what I wear has no bearing on the outcome of my experience.

Don’t let the “concert experts” push into following some kind of status quo. When it comes down to it, how much you enjoy a concert really depends on how much you immerse yourself in the moment. No set of unwritten rituals can enhance the fun you’ll have

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