By Mesoian 52 Comments
This summer, I have been absolutely blessed to have experienced a concert series which i consider to be absolutely next level. A set of dates consisting of combinations of artists and performers who have the ability to get people from 0 to hype in no time flat. Boston, being the kind of city it is, makes it hard for performers to really put on a show that most people would consider to be "dense" enough compared to other cities like LA or New York, where there are no time restrictions on how long a club can stay open, or more importantly, how long people can stay out (public transport ends at 12:35am). However, that means that the people attending shows need to really put their best foot forward in making sure they enjoy themselves once they've arrived.
Being 28 years old, I've come to the decision that, If I'm at a concert, I want to be at the front row. I'm tired of being in the back or off to the sides, even though there may be a better, more tranquil vantage point. For me, up front is where I want to be, mostly because If i'm going to be spending the money to attend a show, I'm probably gonna get a little wild. But lately at a lot of these concerts, I've been seeing a lot of nonsense going on at stage level. Couples having arguments about attending the show in the first place, people who are "drunk" sloshing their way around in attempts to get closer than the need to be, people wanting to become the sole center of attention behest of whoever may be playing; essentially a whole lot of people doing it wrong. So I though I'd create a quick FAQ on how to act when you're front row at a concert.
Because apparently, amazingly, dishearteningly, people need to be told.
Step 1: Get into position.
When you arrive at a concert, you're always going to have enough time to move yourself into position. I used to get to local concerts about half an hour before doors so I'd be ensured a good spot, but most of the time that's simply a waste. Doors at 7 means nothing starts until 8, and everyone's going to be social butterflies while they want for the opening act. I've learned that this is the ideal time to eat dinner, have a few drinks, get limber and loose, use the bathroom, chat people up; get all the things that I like to do, what has nothing to do with enjoying the entertainment, out of the way.
When the opening band comes on, you don't immediately have to go to the front and start staking your claim. Everyone will move up, but you still have, at the very least, two set changes before the main act comes on. Look at this video here.
Step 2: Wait for the push.
Eventually, when the main act does come out, you will experience what is known as, "the push". This is when everyone behind you frantically tries to push forward and get closer to the stage. If you are in position, this is advantageous as you can simply ride the wave even closer to the stage. Keep in mind though, Once the push happens, you will essentially be locked in. While you can wiggle your way out, you will permanently lose that spot unless you came prepared. At certain venues, this is extremely difficult or flat out impossible. Using the push is essential to get that spot where the acts can shake your hand or give you a fist bump during the performance.
Step 3: Never not Wild'n Out.
I understand, it's hard to let yourself go at times. It can seem embarrassing to just get a little wild. Your worried about bumping into strangers, maybe you want to make a non-physical impression on that cute girl you just saw, maybe you're trying to keep your drink in one piece. And if that's the case, DON'T GO TO THE FRONT ROW! Hang back, you can still see, you'll still get the most out of it and if you're worried about the people around you, you're not going to have a good time. I will tell you right now, if I'm at the front row, and it doesn't look like this:
I get upset. If you're at the front of the crowd, stage side, it means that you are there to party. It means you love that band and you want to get a full face of it. If you are placid in the front row, you are insulting the band and the people around you. Don't get mad because, "Gugh, what's with these cray cray people, why can't they just enjoy it quietly," fuck that mess. We enjoy the music we love quietly every other day of our lives. We came to this show because live is the best way to see the stuff you love and you have to expect everyone around you to want to get a little crazy. In the past 3 months, I've experienced things from couples having relationship counselling to deadheads laying on top of the stage and sloshing about in a frantic effort to stay on their feet; not getting live, not even seeming like they were enjoying themselves. If that's how you want to be, you need to get out of the front. Mst places have balcony seating, or you can go hang out the bar and just listen, more ideal places to simple settle and absorb rather than part of the experience. So as the step is entitled, if you're in the front row, you are never not wild'n out.
Now that's not to say you need to be a jerk or forget your surroundings. Be mindful of what you're body is doing so you don't accidently cold-clock the pretty thing that snuck up behind you. If you can keep mindful of your surroundings while having as much fun as you can, you are doing the front row right.
Step 4: Alternatives.
There will be times where you just can't get to the front. It's unfortunate but it happens. Don't try and muscle your way back to the front. You're going to do nothing but piss everyone you shove your way past off and you're potentially going to get hurt or find yourself stuck behind someone you couldn't move, and probably can't see over. It's this situation where you need to make use of your surroundings.
Step 5: But I REALLY wanna be upfront
But what happens when you do need to leave the front and are determined to get back up front? Well, there's some real world issues that you need to consider. Let's face it, you'll have better luck if you are a petite young female than a lumbering male. The best thing to do is roll deep. Attending shows with friends is a great way to keep your spots static when new drinks or bathroom trips become important. If everyone knows what they're doing, they (you) can even recruit the people around you to hold your space, given the type of show. Ladies, find a big tree to stand under. There will be plenty of dudes at any concert who are just standing there who will not mind having you slip in front of them if you do not take up a whole lot of space. Fella, use the shoulder tap system to let people know that you're about to go by them rather than simply driving your shoulder into the small of someone's back. Be polite, but also understanding if the miasma of people is simply too thick to press through.
Step 6: No one cares about you
So you've made it to the front. You're exactly where you wanted to be and now you're getting ready to enjoy the main act in it's full force. Do not do stupid shit that pulls attention away from them and focuses it on you. Don't sit on the stage. Don't beg to be brought up on stage. Don't yell out requests unless the band asks for requests. Don't try to do super complex dance choreographed dance moves (I'm looking at you anime fans...). Just enjoy yourself, but don't be an idiot. No one paid money to see you, so don't expect ANYONE to want to see you more than the band. Poor MC Chris had to yell a girl off the stage when she kept wanting to come up and be a whorish groupie tease when I saw him live a few weeks ago.
It doesn't seem that complicated right? I didn't think so either, but it feels like the more shows I go to, the more people are simply doing it wrong. Follow these easy easy steps, and you too can have fun in the front row.