For those about to rock

Since I came to Queen’s four years ago, I’ve attended about 150 concerts, both on and off campus. There are few more satisfying feelings than walking home sweaty and exhausted after a great show. Conversely, there are few things more irritating than leaving a venue covered in strange bruises and someone else’s beer with repeated shouts of “Play some Skynrd!” ringing in my ears. A few simple pointers on concert etiquette can preserve the safety, sanity, and enjoyment of everyone in attendance.

Once a band verbally declines an audience request, don’t keep yelling for the same song. Also, anyone who requests “Freebird” more than once at any show should be removed from the venue.

Singing along is fun for everyone, except when you are singing louder than the band and the rest of the crowd. If you don’t know the words, don’t make them up. No one paid $10 to listen to you play Mad Libs.

There might be people who would pay $10 to watch you stick your tongue into someone’s tonsils while ramming backwards into random crowd members in the heat of your passion, but they aren’t at the show.

No one is waiting for you to announce how much you know about the band’s discography, equipment, gig history or probable setlist. That’s what the Internet is for, where no one can hear you drone.

Expect at least mild jostling at the front of any energetic rock show; wearing open-toed or flimsy shoes is almost always a poor idea. “Mild jostling” does not mean people should be elbowing you in the head. If you try to start a mosh pit, and no one else around you seems interested in joining, stop it before you hurt someone. Be very careful of broken glass. In the event of consensual moshing, slam dancing, or crowd surfing, be responsible and keep an eye out for everyone else’s safety too.

Dancing is good. Hitting the people around you while flailing wildly is not. Be aware of where your body is at all times, including your hair, which may be smacking the person behind you in the face.

In a tightly packed space full of strangers, it is inevitable that you will eventually accidentally touch someone you don’t know inappropriately or spill a drink on them. When this happens, apologize briefly and sincerely. Do not start wiping the drink off the spillee, which takes you from “clumsy” to “creepy,” or interrupt their enjoyment of the show every five minutes to apologize more profusely.

If you are six feet tall, you probably don’t need to be in the front row. Short people that everyone can see over should be allowed near the front as a courtesy. However, the vertically-challenged that show up after the opening act or during the headliners do not have a right to push their way to the stage. Get there on time and suffer through The Alexander Hamilton Neutron Project like everyone else. If you need to talk through The Alexander Hamilton Neutron Project, stand near the back. If you need to talk through everything, leave.

Lastly, concerts should be a great place to meet people, so don’t stare straight ahead or talk only to your friends when nothing else is happening. You share at least one interest with everyone else there—and hopefully, you also share some common sense.

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