If I find myself at a hard rock show…I have learned that I don’t like to be right behind the barrier center stage. I like to be near the action…but far enough away from the sweaty mosh pits in this type of scene. I will never forget the first time I was scared for my life at a concert; Taste of Chaos 2007 when I went to see The Used and a bunch of other bands…I was with two girlfriends, one who was constantly trying to crowd-surf and pull me up in the air with her! No thank you! Not when everyone is drunk and will drop me on my head. These things happen all of the time. In fact, my girlfriend did take a tumble…and as we tried to help her out of the violent mosh pit (which was nothing compared to the type of thing you’d find at Warped Tour and many other shows), I knew I was done with that.
If it’s Danko Jones at a small venue…sure. Get me up front. If I could get closer to Tom Petty then the 100’s at Budweiser Gardens…I woulda been right up there! If it‘s a band like Weezer…do you even have to ask!? RIGHT UP FRONT. But sometimes if I’m at a show just checking a new band out for the first time, I’m more than okay with hanging by the bar. How about you?
An interesting read from Pitchfork.com:
Where You Stand at a Concert and What That Says About You
Imagine you’ve just stepped into your favorite venue for a night of live music from a band you love. You’ve exchanged your ticket for a stamp on the hand. You’ve scrutinized the merch and visited the restroom. Only one question remains: Where do you stand? This, as it happens, is a question of some consequence. So go forth. Stand wisely.
Directly in Front of the Stage
Your zeal compels you to arrive several hours earlier than necessary to stake out and secure a position as close to the band as the architecture of the venue will allow. Your proximity to the stage is so obviously the ideal place in the room that you imagine it makes you an object of envy among the throngs of undisciplined laggards resigned to spend the evening staring at the back of your head. You belong, after all, to an exclusive cadre of concertgoers—the ultimate fans. You also enjoy the use of the stage’s outer rim as makeshift storage space for your jacket or purse, saving you valuable dollars on the price of coat check.
Directly Behind People Directly in Front of the Stage
You want to stand near the stage but suffer from an irrational fear of finding yourself spontaneously called upon to be involved in the performance. You know it isn’t reasonable, but you remain convinced that in the middle of their set the band you’re most enthusiastic to see will suddenly thrust a microphone into your face and invite you to a finish a lyric you know by heart but can’t remember in the heat of the moment, a prospect so terrifying that you feel you must maintain a buffer zone of less anxious concertgoers like a protective membrane erected between you and the stage.
The Middle of the Room
You enjoy the comforts of anonymity: the room to cross your arms and bob almost imperceptibly to the beat, the distance to appreciate the acoustics of the room, the luxury to come and go between sets as you please. You shift your weight from one foot to the other and notice the texture of the floor still slick and sticky with last night’s beer spillage. You try to remember the name of the opening band… something that starts with a “B”, you seem to think. Somebody steps on your foot and you instinctively apologize. You check the time on the phone and wonder whether you’ll make the last train.
By the Bar
You’ve accepted your priorities. As you’ve gotten older you’ve found yourself slowly gravitating away from the allure of the stage and toward the comfort of the bar, and in fact by now a bottle of overpriced domestic beer is so much a part of the routine that you’re not sure how you ever managed to enjoy live music without it. (This position is by nature temporary. By the end of the evening you’ve invariably drifted from your post and into the crowd, shouting for an encore.)
Somewhere Along the Outer Wall
The wall is safe. The wall is familiar. Leaning against the wall is your refuge: away from the throb and heave of the crowd, away from the deafening roar of the stage, away from the pressure of having to stand in the middle of an open room and look interesting (you’re never quite sure what to do with your hands).
You probably call shows “concerts.”
Back of the Room
You’ve worked hard over the years to cultivate an image of indifference toward the things that you like, including the live music that you just paid to see. You hope to impress upon those around you an attitude of supreme insouciance, as if the evening’s entertainment represented merely one among dozens of equally interesting events that you might just as easily have wandered into. You make a concealed effort to appear familiar with the obscure opening act’s material; you make a conspicuous effort to appear so familiar with the headliner’s material that you’ve long since bored of it. You somehow always look as if you’re on the verge of leaving.