Last week I went to stadium concert, my first of the type in years, for a band that has so suddenly and thoroughly been thrust into the heart of current pop culture (I won’t name names, here, but you HAVE heard them, if not of them. Let’s just say that some nights, I don’t know), that I had to pay almost double the original price to get tickets at all.
While standing in the crowd, it suddenly hit me that while concert going crowds are definitely some of the most diverse (so many subcultures, styles, and hairdos), they can generally all be fit into a neat little list of “concert-going archetypes.”
I made this list as soon as I got home, developing 6 such archetypes.
*note: this list applies mainly to stadium concerts for popular bands. The small venue/bar band crowd would be decidedly different, and that is a post for another day!
**additional note: this list was made all in good fun, and not meant to offend anyone in particular… we have all fallen into one or more of these categories at one point or another. I myself am an admitted ‘I Knew Them First’ Guy (admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery, people!) and have been a #1 fangirl in the past. So take it lightly, and enjoy!
The Power Makeout Couple
This couple will elbow their way in front of you twenty minutes before the show starts, then spend the next three hours turned away from the stage in a never ending embrace. Her arms never relent from their vice-like grip around his neck, and his hands never leave her waist, except once every thirty seconds to cup her buttocks. They kiss a little, often very passionately, but never enough for you to feel justified in asking them to knock it the f*** off. Instead, they remain locked together, never really talking, staring at the people opposite as though daring them to comment. Every effort to awkwardly avoid eye contact and ignore them from their surrounding concert-goers is interpreted as a validation of their legitimate and undying true love, which is just too epic to be contained, thankyouverymuch. Everyone else is wondering why they would spend $80 on floor tickets instead of just staying home and ‘watching a movie,’ but these lovebirds don’t care. To them, this whole concert is foreplay, in which proximity has fated you to be an unwilling participant. They will remain for the entire concert, after which they will return home and proceed to rip each other’s clothes off. They will be broken up within 3 days to one week.
Overprotective Dad/ possible pedophile man
You know the guy. He seems a little old to be at a show like this, and doesn’t seem to be into the music. He stands leaning against a barricade with his arms crossed, watching a group of dancing teenage girls with amazing levels of scrutiny. He could be a supervising adult banished to the sidelines for being ‘like, so uncool’ or he could be a pedophile. It’s a little up in the air.
This one is not hard to find, even in a crowd. He’s between the height of 6.5 and 7 feet tall, and chronically standing directly in front of you. You will spend the concert trying to maneuver your field of vision around the back of his head, utilizing such techniques as the crick-inducing head tilt or standing on your toes. Unfortunately these tactics will only work for a few moments at a time, as he always seems able to anticipate your movements. Eventually you will give up, relying on your imagination and an occasional glimpse of the drummer.
Don’t be confused by the word ‘one’. The population of #1 fans are legion, and they often travel in groups, which are discernible by their matching homemade t-shirts and facepaint, all of which will exclaim their love!!! For the band, the name of their favorite band member (usually the singer or lead guitarist), and favorite song lyrics. Exclamation points and hearts abound. If the #1 fan is not inclined to be creative, they will at least be wearing a band t-shirt, hoodie, hat, bracelet, or whatever else they bought while raiding the merch table. They may also be carrying a disproportionate amount of posters, albums, and clothing they hope to get signed. Identifying behavior includes shrieking, crying, and faux fainting spells when the band comes onstage, and loud and repeated exclamations of “I LOVE YOU!”, “MARRY ME!”, and “I WANT TO HAVE YOUR BABIES!!” during a quiet, reflective monologue by the lead singer.
First Time in the Pit Kid
This is usually a teenaged girl. She will be cute, and have a razored, punky yet flattering hair style, possibly dyed a crazy color, definitely ever-so-carefully-mussed with product to look as though she ‘just woke up that way.’ She will be wearing torn jeans and cut-off gloves. Her shoes will be either Vans or Converse, and each eye will be rimmed with 1/8 of an inch of black eyeliner. She often uses phrases like “I am so punk rock” or “cuz I’m just hardcore like that” to describe herself. Before leaving to go to the venue, she updated her Facebook to read something like Which one of you p*****s is gonna meet me in the moshpit? #hardXcore #punkrock #alternative.
Despite all this, she isn’t even clear on what moshing is, exactly, and has possibly never even been to a show, except maybe to see the Spice Girls when she was six. This becomes apparent when 15 minutes in to the opening set she starts crying and hyperventilating, saying to the surrounding concert-goers, “I have to get out of here.” Her date will escort her out and buy her a bottle of $6 water, and spend the rest of the concert comforting her from the back of the venue, wondering if this destroys or cements his chances of getting laid.
Despit all this, her after-concert status update will be something like eff yeah! Totally got down in the mosh pit! No one bothers to tell her that there are no mosh pits at a Panic at the Disco Show.
The I-Knew-Them-First Guy
This guy knew about this band before you did, or at least thinks he does, and he wants you to know it. Not only was he listening to this band before their single went viral, he knew about them before this cd even came out, and he perceives their success as a personal attack on his integrity. Usually he wouldn’t listen to such a mainstream band, but this one is just so talented…
The escapades of the #1 fans often cause IKTF guy to dramatically sigh and roll his eyes in disdain, or even evolve into outright mockery. He’ll often turn to the person nearest him, whether they came together or not, and say loudly, “I hope they play (obscure b-side or demo song) from ( old LP or demo), but they probably won’t. All they play now is singles.”
An extreme case of this will involve IKTF guy being hung up on one of the band member’s previous projects. He is unable to accept that the band member in question has moved on, and still clings to the hope that they will forgo their newfound financial security and success and return to the ‘better’ and ‘less commercially driven’ band. He will comment to anyone that will listen that he hopes the band will play some (insert old band name). He knows full well they won’t, but he wants you to be aware of how much his musical knowledge surpasses your own.
So there you have it! What funny/interesting experiences have you had with these archetypes, and which, if any, do you self-identify with? Do you have any missing archetypes you think I missed? Comment and let me know!