As life returns to normal, post Covid and live shows become the norm again, it becomes important to remember that when you attend a country music concert or any live event, you are entering into a social contract not writing with the other people around you. . Next week here in the UK we have shows from Keith Urban, Brett Eldredge, Ashley McBryde and Brothers Osborne and we are already getting complaints online and on social media about viewer behavior so we have decided to remind you how to be a responsible and thoughtful member of a crowd!
1. Don’t talk!!!
Country music is famous for its vulnerable lyrics and quiet, intense moments. People around you don’t want to know what your work day was like or how hard Wordle was today. This is the biggest complaint from internet users whose experiences are ruined by other people at trade shows. Talk in the queue, talk between acts, but have a hell of a respect for the performers on stage or the people around you and keep your mouth shut when there’s live music playing.
2. You can’t have it both ways.
If you’ve been queuing for hours and have a good seat in the front rows, don’t spend your time inside the arena or venue pushing the crowds away all the time to get a drink or go to the toilet. You can’t have it both ways in a show. If you want to be up front, you sacrifice the drink. If you want a drink, find a place closer to the bar. There’s nothing more annoying than people constantly passing you by going back and forth.
3. The artist is the star of the show – not you!
Ruckus. Why do people do it? Who has an ego so big they think it’s okay to yell at the performer on stage? What do you miss in your life that makes you want to do it? Country music is not stand-up comedy – keep your mouth shut and enjoy the music or listen to the stories the artist tells. We once saw a show in Birmingham with Kip Moore nearly ruined by a woman who continually yelled at him to take his shirt off. To the point where it started to annoy Kip too.
4. Cowboy hats are not your friend.
Men wearing cowboy hats. Tall men wearing cowboy hats. The whole “height” issue is already a hot plug as is. I was at a Keith Urban show in Birmingham this week and the two little Welsh girls standing behind me did nothing but complain about the tall men for the 90 minutes leading up to the finish of Keith on stage, as if they were expecting me to say that they might come and stand in front of me. It was never going to happen BUT at least I wasn’t wearing a cowboy hat too! Wear a baseball cap if you need to hide your baldness or bad hairstyle.
5. You’re not here just to hear the hits
This is for our American friends. So many artists tell me they love playing in the UK because the fans here know all the deep cuts and sing all the songs, unlike their American crowds, who seem to only know the radio songs. Who goes to a show just to listen to 4-5 songs that have been on the radio? With the world at your fingertips thanks to streaming platforms, you can listen to virtually any song ever created. Why don’t you listen to more of the ones you’re going to see live?
6. Observe Proper Queue Etiquette
Don’t arrive with 15 minutes before the doors open and find someone you know up front. If you want a decent position up front, you have to put in the time first. There’s nothing worse than standing in line for a few hours to see 3 people join in front of you at 6:55pm because they’ve joined their “friends”. Arrive together, line up together.
Don’t worry when attending shows at O2 venues when the priority queue is the first to enter – that’s the only advantage of being on this network. Buy a cheap £10 SIM card from O2 and you can join the rest of us first!
Everyone is now searched on their way to concerts. You know you can’t take bottled water, you know they’ll search your bags. Why be frustrated or fuss?
7. Don’t pretend you have friends up front after the end of the supporting act
There’s a special place in hell reserved for those folks who try to outrun you between supporting act and headlining in search of their “friends” up front. Happened to me at the Keith Urban gig in Birmingham this week as two girls managed to go all the way to rows 3-4 ‘looking for their friends’. Shoulders locked around me, looks were problems but the girls kept trying. Eventually the people around me complained to the stewards and the girls were kicked out!! Why risk that just to go a few feet further?
Another that divides artists and fans. Someone like Kip Moore will give you a stinky eye if he sees you on your phone and there’s nothing more annoying than watching the show through the screen of the person holding their phone in front of you. That’s tricky because everyone loves taking pictures for social media, but surely the odd 45-second clip of a chorus and a few 14-second shots for Instagram Stories is enough?
9. Loud singers
We all have our favorite songs, of course, and we all love to sing along, but my enjoyment of Keith Urban’s ‘Stupid Boy’ in Birmingham this week was ruined by the guy behind me telling his girlfriend that it’s was his favorite song and then continuing to scream, out of tune, throughout the song, as Keith played it acoustically. To the right. In. My. Ear.
10. What’s your biggest gig complaint?
What did we miss? Let us know on social media what your particular gripes are about how people spoil live shows by behaving recklessly.