Thursday, May 19, 2011

The mentality of crowded concert goers

Last night I went to a Manchester Orchestra concert in Columbus, Ohio. The venue was a nice indoor pavilion with a capacity of around three thousand people, and not a bad seat (reading: standing room only) in the house. And while the place was really nice, with a band as good as Manchester Orchestra, it was packed. Venue size withstanding, any time you book a band into an appropriately sized space, you create the phenomenon of the crowded concert goer.

While the three thousand person crowd at the LC Pavilion in Columbus doesn't hold a candle to the hundred thousand plus person crowd Ell and I were in when we saw Pearl Jam at Lollapalooza in 2007, the -- shoulder to shoulder, belly to back, someone's breath on the back of your neck while your breath presses onto the person's neck in front of you -- closeness is exactly the same. And with that closeness comes varied reactions to it.

I'm a big guy. I can own my personal space in a crowd with the best of them. I rarely get jostled, bumped, or pushed, and am good at making the impression I'll tear your limbs off if you even accidentally do any of those things to me. My friend Mike, on the other hand, while a lanky guy with a beard that makes him look like a terrorist-in-training, is way too friendly to inconvenience others by putting on the impression he's a jerk like I'm so adept at accomplishing. And so last night he had not one, not two, not three, (and if you guess four you'd also be wrong,) but five separate drunk women become his best friend. They hugged him, pushed him around, slammed up against him, and generally made themselves a huge nuisance to his existence. While I felt for him, I must say it was rather hilarious.

And then there was the cute little brunette named Allison who stood next to me. Unfortunately for Allison, a drunk girl I can't be sure wasn't also on X, hung on her back, flipped her hair into Allison's, and even rested her head on Allison's shoulder a couple times. During the break between bands, I offered to let Allison stand in front of me so that I could keep drunk X-girl from using her as a human pole dance. She accepted and thanked me with a beautiful smile. (Yeah, I'm that chivalrous.) But as crowds tend to do, people moved and positions shifted, and even though I was able to protect Allison's left side and back, drunk X-girl overtook her right side and more than one time banged her head into Allison's ponytail. Before half the set was over, Allison and her friend had to leave (studying for finals at Ohio State) but before leaving she told the girl off complete with a gesture that told her she was number one. Again, hilarious.

Which brings me to the mentality I titled this post about. Some people are fun. Some people are fans. And some people are simply inconsiderate and rude. They forget that everyone has paid the same price for the same ticket to see the same show, and it is not the right thing to do to deprive everyone around them the opportunity to enjoy that show. They talk through songs, they invade personal space, and they ignore basic human rules of manner and etiquette. It makes me want to scream, or at least consider suggesting they don't serve alcohol. On second thought, I take that one back. I just wish the concert-going-population would learn how to not all be a$$holes.

All that said, I am fully aware my desire for peace and love and mutual respect is not going to be found (as a general rule) in those kind of crowds. And so the reality of going to concerts and being a concert goer is that you need to be ready to take anything that's thrown (sometimes, literally) at you. It can suck or it can be awesome. The experience is yours so make it what you want, even if that means poking an elbow into a rib once or twice. Do it hard enough, and I guarantee that person won't crowd you. Either that, or they'll punch you in the throat.

But seriously, going to a concert means accepting the crowd you're going to experience, and know that seeing the band you like may mean dealing with some idiots in the process. If that's more than you think you can handle, you don't have the mind of a concert goer.

And for those wondering...... I got Allison's number and we're having breakfast in Columbus next Sunday morning. Oh yeah, that just happened. :)


Blogger High Valley said...

I'm the one getting trampled and saying, "um..excuse me...oh, okay, all 47,583 of you can walk out the door in front of me..." Hence the crowd hater that is me :)

Congrats on the shared meal...Although Columbus seems like an awfully long way for breakfast. I sure hope it's a good egg! ;)

2:16 AM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

That was me...

2:18 AM  
Anonymous The Treyster said...

I was there too! You totally forgot to metion me! :)

7:03 PM  
Blogger Sweet Peripety said...

Lol. Love the post. Great that you are meeting her for breakfast!

12:11 PM  
Blogger Andrew said...

I wouldn't know. I was in VIP. Thanks for sharing on what life is like down in GA.

4:35 PM  

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