Two pounds of funk in a five pound bag - Concert-going 101
March 18, 2007 10:28 PM   Subscribe

I have never been to a rock concert before. What do I do? Wave a lighter in the air? Shout "Freebird"? Mosh? Will I get served? I need Rock Concert 101, stat.

Okay, so I've never been to a rock concert before. I agreed to go to a Christina Aguilera concert months ago with my wife for her birthday and now it's tomorrow and I'm worried because I've never been to one. We're in the second level in reserved seating, so I'm fairly confident that I won't be pulled onto stage, Courtney Cox/Bruce Springsteen style. I scoped out a playing of 'Guitar Hero II', so I got a chance to practice 'throwing horns' and I'm ready to do so at a moments notice. I once passed by a bar doing karaoke, so I can go 'wooooo' too, if required.

Note that I've also never been to a country, jazz, choir, reggae, children's, or rap concert either, so analogies to any of these will not be understood. I've never been much of a music guy, as you can see.

Is there a dress code of some sort? Do I need to stand up or sit down? Do I have to bust a move where I'm standing? Do you clap?

Sorry for all the quips - I'm really nervous.
posted by unixrat to Media & Arts (40 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: And after going to see Christina Aguilera, you still won't have been to a rock concert.

But there is no reason to be nervous. Nobody will be paying attention to you in the slightest. Do whatever you want.
posted by kindall at 10:32 PM on March 18, 2007

Best answer: Just have fun--dance if you feel like dancing, sing along if you feel like singing along--do whatever feels right and you'll have a great time.
posted by deansfurniture5 at 10:34 PM on March 18, 2007

Best answer: Bring some bottled water! It'll get hot and you'll want to have some with you.
posted by irregardless at 10:35 PM on March 18, 2007

Kindall is right. You are going to a pop concert in an arena. There will be no rocking involved.

If I were you, I'd get good and drunk for it. Beer concessions will be up if it is indeed an arena show. Failing that, just follow your wife's lead. Just make sure she's having fun and isn't worried about you. She wants to dance, dance your best. She wants to sit and watch the screens, count yourself lucky.
posted by cowbellemoo at 10:42 PM on March 18, 2007

Shouting "Free Bird" isn't funny anymore, I doubt anyone's gonna mosh at this particular concert, and Christina Aguilera isn't worth waving your lighter in the air. I would take cowbellemoo's advice and get served lots and lots of beer.

Unless you could get Christina Aguilera to actually play Free Bird. Please record that. I know a guy who, in response to shouts of "Free Bird," says he'll play it for fifty bucks, and he says once he actually got paid and did it.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 10:49 PM on March 18, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I have a feeling there will be a lot of dads with their daughters there. As long as you don't have your cell phone strapped to your belt you'll be on the upper quartile of being cool. Just do whatever everyone else around you does. It sounds like a large venue, there will be people from nearly all walks of suburban life.

I wouldn't bring in water, as it may be a hassle. Instead, just pay for the $10 water they have there. I would bring binoculars, so that you may at least enjoy her non-vocal assets.
posted by geoff. at 10:50 PM on March 18, 2007

I'm not sure what you think will happen. You are going to a stadium show. Put on by a big pop artist. There won't be like hooligans or moshing or anything. Seriously, you just kind of follow the lead of the people around you in terms of standing and clapping and occasionally going "woo." There's really no other magic etiquette, it's whatever makes you feel comfortable. Kindall is right: no one will be paying attention to you.

(Also, cowbellmoo's advice re: beer is good advice. There are liable to be lots of teen girls at an Xtina show, and they are liable to be obnoxious.)
posted by SoftRain at 10:56 PM on March 18, 2007

If you value your hearing, bring some ear plugs. Rock concerts tend to be LOUD.
posted by epimorph at 10:57 PM on March 18, 2007 [4 favorites]

Wear shoes that you'll be comfortable standing in for a while. Concerts can last up to four hours if you include the opening acts, and you will find yourself on your feet for a lot of that time, either becuase the groove has got ahold of you and you can't stop moovin', or because the person in front of you has decided to stand up and you're sick of looking at their ass.

Wear layers, 'cause it gets warm at indor shows, but you'll want a jacket for the walk back to te car.

No lighter, no "Freebird," no throwing the horns.

Dancing is optional, unless your wife says otherwise.

Water is good. Beer is better.

Get the earplugs, just in case. They are usually available for free at the service desk.
posted by lekvar at 11:02 PM on March 18, 2007

Do I need to stand up or sit down? Do I have to bust a move where I'm standing? Do you clap?

As a married man in my late 20s, I can say that if I was in your position (accompanying my wife to a Christina Aguilera concert) my appearance would be one of quiet boredom and clandestine resentment. However, that may be a result of my having attended several hundred concerts, and my having relatively high standards. The fundamental point is, though, people are going to the concert to stare at her for hours on end, not you. People couldn't care less what you do, and generally will not notice unless you're standing on their toes or something. You can dance and wave your arms, or you can stare tolerantly. The most important issue, therefore, may be what your wife expects of you, and this is something you should consult her about.

However, key points:
- It will be loud.
- It will be crowded.
- There will be assholes there.
- There will be a lot of waiting involved, before the show, between acts (assuming there's a support). Thank your lucky stars you have a seat, because standing in general admission during these periods can be a pain.
- In the stands, there probably won't be much standing up and dancing around. Unless, you know, Christina manages to really go off
posted by Jimbob at 12:14 AM on March 19, 2007

Prozac and protein bars will help in ANY concert.
posted by Dizzy at 12:19 AM on March 19, 2007

Best answer: All this has been good. A lot of venues these days pat you down and don't let you bring in your own water anymore. Ostensibly it's so kids don't sneak in vodka, but it's also so that they can be damn sure you'll pay four bucks for a water when push comes to shove. They might not do that at your venue though. You could try hiding it somewhere on you, but I don't think that's worth the hassle. The worst that happens is you have to pound a bottle of water before going in.

Other than that, it will be much like going to a very loud baseball game. A big area rock concert is a very impersonal affair. Shouting "Freebird" is frowned upon at a concert for the same reason it's frowned upon everywhere else: it's goddamn annoying. There's no dress code, as the thirteen year old girls in attendance will undoubtedly demonstrate. Yell when everyone else yells, stand when everyone else stands, and do whatever the pretty lady on the stage tells you to. (let her here you, put y'alls hands in the air, tell her how you are doing that day)

Also, not that CA is Guns 'n Roses or anything, but it's rock 'n roll dude. Fuck rules! Do your own thing when it gets right down to it. Somebody says you can't throw up the horns during "What A Girl Wants"? That person can get on the 2:30 nonstop to squaresville and stop pissing on your parade!
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 1:41 AM on March 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Your level of action is defined by how close to the stage you are. At the front you're expected to be dancing, and going wild. At the very back of the crowd you might be standing, or even sitting down. Older people tend to hang around at the back.

Take earplugs though. It'll probably be pretty loud.
posted by humblepigeon at 1:45 AM on March 19, 2007

Piling on the earplug advice, you can get the foam squishy ones for under a dollar at Home Depot and lots of other places. Might not need them, but if you've never been to a large show like this you won't know til you get there how your ears will respond. I was 12 when i went to my first big arena show and my ears rang for hours afterwards.

Also, most likely they won't let you bring in outside water and your bags/jacket might get searched. Beer will be absurdly expensive, so it would probably be cheaper to drink before and take a taxi than to drink there and pay for parking.

Have fun
posted by efalk at 2:17 AM on March 19, 2007

The mobile phone is the new lighter.


If the kids are going to be waving around anything (particularly at a Christina concert) it'll be their phones.
posted by cholly at 3:40 AM on March 19, 2007

Is there a dress code of some sort?

Well, there's an unofficial dress code for 13 y.o. girls. For everyone else, just wear something comfortable.
posted by birdherder at 4:37 AM on March 19, 2007

there will be a lot of dads with their daughters there.

so true.

there is no dress code, wear jeans
there is no required behavior, just listen to the music
I suggest you also get yourself a pair of earplugs from a music store, the kind that dampen the music equally at all frequencies
posted by caddis at 4:56 AM on March 19, 2007 [2 favorites]

Yeah, definitely ear protection. Concert ear is not fun.
posted by starman at 5:23 AM on March 19, 2007

I think it would totally rock if you moshed and threw horns at a Christina Aguilera concert. No one else would, though.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 6:16 AM on March 19, 2007

Definitely keep your focus off the audience (excepting your wife) and focus on The Show in the distance. Arena/stadium shows draw the dull crowd and you'll be gridded into neat amphitheater rows with thousands of your prole friends. All standing there trying to look cool, and failing mirably because their beaded cat sweatshirt or Juicy tshirt or No Fear ballcap betrays their exurban origin ...

At this top end of the market, the performers are just frontmen for wildly spectacular entertainment machines and put on seriously good shows. Bring binoculars and earplugs and enjoy yourself.
posted by intermod at 6:19 AM on March 19, 2007

If you buy a concert T-shirt, do not put it on. Wearing the shirt is a sure sign you've never been to a concert before. It is only safe to wear a tour shirt from a previous show, not the current tour. So, unless you happen to have any old band T lying around that was inherited/stolen from others, picked up at a garage sale or a replica purchased from American Eagle or some such*, wear that. Otherwise, just wear what is comfortable to you.

*Personally do not get this at all. I keep seeing kids wearing replica tour shits from the mid-70s. None of the kids wearing these seem old enough to even have been a sperm cell in 1985, let alone 1975. Are we supposed to think that they had cool parents who passed on the shirts to them, or what?
posted by caution live frogs at 6:23 AM on March 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Take a couple of aspirin before you go. Sometimes you can cut off the inevitable backaches from standing. (Though stadium shows are usually shorter than indie shows and you can sit somewhere other than the floor between acts.)
posted by smackfu at 6:44 AM on March 19, 2007

Best answer: Hey, unixrat, if you throw horns, mosh, shout "Christina Aguilera fans are the best, fuck the rest", rip your shirt open, pour beer on yourself, shout "freebird," wave a lighter in the air through the ballads and every thing else you can think of, you will have turned it into a rock concert, all by yourself. It sounds like you could have the time of your life, perhaps even steal the show. I would say you should definitely do all of those things.
posted by micayetoca at 7:00 AM on March 19, 2007 [4 favorites]

Ear plugs for a Christina Aguilera show? I sorta doubt the need.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 7:14 AM on March 19, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for the advice, guys. I will arrive hydrated, ear-plugged, and ready to wave my hands in the air if I just don't care on command.

There will be teeny-boppers there? Good Christ, what sort of parent allows their kid to go to a CA/Pussycat Dolls concert?

Full report tomorrow. Thanks again.
posted by unixrat at 7:48 AM on March 19, 2007

I can't imagine that Cristina A. and the PussyCat Dolls have much of an adult following. Count on 75%+ not being able to drive.
posted by k8t at 8:13 AM on March 19, 2007

I'm not a fan, but by all accounts she (perhaps surprisingly) puts on a really, really good live show. You'll enjoy yourself.

I would recommend foam earplugs and a pair of small binoculars. And beer.
posted by solid-one-love at 8:29 AM on March 19, 2007

One thing no one has mentioned is the waiting around part. This often surprises concert noobs. It used to be that you would have to wait about an hour after the time printed on the ticket for the opening band, and then wait another hour after their set for the headliner. Most shows nowadays have the openers start pretty close to the time printed, but you've still got at least an hour after the openers to wait around.

If it's a seated arena show, the opening band is no bonus at all, it's just a way to pad the time out. It's different at a small club, or show with a general admission floor, but unless you really want bragging rights that you saw and so and so, the openers at arenas are almost always best skipped in favor of drinking. Plus, unless you get there really early, it's hard to find your seat when they're playing, since it will be dark. They'll turn the lights back on once they're finished. Plan on getting your drinking in early, they usually shut down the alcohol sales shortly after the headliner goes on.

If you want to have a really good time, search for a setlist from the current tour (which for a pop act is going to be exactly the same every night) and download all those tracks, and listen to them in sequence as many times as you can possibly stand. This may sound like a bad idea if you don't like the act you'll be seeing. It's not. You'll start to like a couple of the tracks, and be at least familiar with the rest of them. You're kind of cheating your way into feeling like a superfan. I have never had less than an awesome time at a concert where I knew all the songs. I accompanied my girlfriend to an all acoustic Alanis Morissette concert, which is almost as bad as Christina Aguilera, and had a great time (without even drinking first) by having burned the songs into my brain first.
posted by andrewzipp at 8:40 AM on March 19, 2007

Make out on the floor. Re-live your youth.
posted by dayvin at 8:46 AM on March 19, 2007

My fiance just saw them in Calgary and said it was the best concert she'd ever been too. The singing was good and the production was way over the top - but in a good way. I didn't have the chance to get a ticket (and probably would have refused anyways) but told I would have enjoyed the dirty scenery of the Pussycat Dolls and CA herself. Enjoy it for what it is - a chance to look at boobs.
posted by jeffmik at 8:49 AM on March 19, 2007

Definitely keep your focus off the audience (excepting your wife) and focus on The Show in the distance. Arena/stadium shows draw the dull crowd and you'll be gridded into neat amphitheater rows with thousands of your prole friends. All standing there trying to look cool, and failing mirably because their beaded cat sweatshirt or Juicy tshirt or No Fear ballcap betrays their exurban origin.

My best advice is to stay away from this dude....

(I've seen CA before and the audience will indeed be 99% under 17 with parents, just so you know. And CA puts on an amazing show, and I'm not even a fan.)
posted by tristeza at 9:46 AM on March 19, 2007

"No Fear" ballcap

hahahaha. What a great satire of someone who thinks he's too cool for the world. A little over-the-top, but I still laughed.

Anyway, as many have said, act however you feel like acting. It's supposed to be fun. I seriously doubt a CA show would be loud enough to necessitate earplugs, but your hearing sensitivity may vary.

Oh one thing: don't wear a Christina Aguilera t-shirt. Don't be that guy.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:53 AM on March 19, 2007

Having been to many concerts at venues great and small, there's really only 2 things you need to know:

- Ear Plugs
- Comfortable shoes
posted by chimaera at 11:12 AM on March 19, 2007

Be prepared to be thrilled by the sound of live music in a big venue. Truly, there's nothing can match it. And, whatever else is said about Christina, she does have a fabulous voice.
posted by essexjan at 11:42 AM on March 19, 2007

Do ya like marijuana? Because this concert would be an excellent time to experiment with lots and lots of pot.
Though "Ain't No Other Man" is the fuckin' jam.
posted by klangklangston at 12:36 PM on March 19, 2007

Christina Agulera? They still make those pills that cause temporary deafness, right?

Just kidding.

Good shoes to stand in, stay hydrated, wear layers, practice your adolescent girl scream so you will blend right in. Most importantly, enjoy the show.
posted by Totally Zanzibarin' Ya at 2:53 PM on March 19, 2007

Ear plugs for a Christina Aguilera show? I sorta doubt the need.

Oh theres a need. Theres a definate need. Its a Christina Aguilera show!
posted by gergtreble at 4:13 PM on March 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

I may be a little late, but eh.. what the hell..

I'm surprised at all the earplugs advice.. I've been to quite a few concerts in my short time, and I never bothered to use 'em. I know it's bad. I'll admit that in the beginning it can be unpleasant but your ears adjust. Mine do at least. Of course I also feel really weird about putting things in my ears. But hey.. I'm a music junkie so I like it loud. But yeah.. you should bring 'em along just in case.

Best advice I can give: RELAX. It may not be your cup of tea, but why not try to have fun. I've seen some blah bands, but there's always something cool. Sometimes it's people watching/interaction for me. Concerts are an amazing experience. Personally, I love the nervous/excitement energy. It doesn't kick in until I'm almost to the venue, but damn it can be potent. If it's a good band that is.

I'm not ashamed to admit I wouldn't mind seeing Christina. I wouldn't pay for it, but if I somehow got free tickets I'd definitely go.
posted by VegaValmont at 9:10 PM on March 19, 2007

Ignore the people telling you not to bother with earplugs. Pick up some cheap at your local music supply place, as they'll have better frequency response than the construction ones. But the thing about hearing loss is that it's permanent. Given the option between hearing a LOT of the Christina (and arena shows can get as loud as jet engines, though the dB depends on where you're sitting) or hearing something else later on in life, I don't think you'd pick Ms. Aguilera.
posted by klangklangston at 10:05 PM on March 19, 2007

Response by poster: Concert was last night. I took everyone's advice and had a really good time. There was an amazing amount of waiting.

Opening act was Pussycat Dolls and Danity Kane. DK was meh, but PCD was good. (My geezer self didn't know who DK was an was expecting a rapper. Nope, it was a girl group.) PCD did a segment on their 'origins' as a burlesque show, I guess. It bored the teeny boppers around me to tears as they all whipped out their cell phones and started texting.

CA was big and loud and flashy with lots of costume changes. I admit to not knowing any of the songs in the 'middle', but there was plenty of stuff to look at. She took some time in the middle of the show to sing about domestic violence or something. I think it was dedicated to her mother, but I was fixated on the screen showing a guy beating the piss out of a woman. My wife found the performance 'touching', while I thought of it as rather disturbing.

But still, good times. I'd do it again. Thanks for all the advice, MeFi.
posted by unixrat at 7:16 AM on March 20, 2007

« Older Bye Zire, hello Nano?   |   Decompress After Disney? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.