In my last post ( https://alyssagoesadulting.com/2019/07/01/sweet-summertime/), I talked about how this summer was shaping up nicely with some trips and musical events. Not even 48 hours after posting that, I won tickets to see Dave Matthews Band last Friday at Alpine Valley, an outdoor musical venue/amphitheater. The summer of fun continues!
While tailgating for Dave, my boyfriend Luke and I got into a brief discussion about some of the things you see at shows — specifically, some of the different types of people you see. I thought it would be fun to blog about that, because I think we’ve all seen some of these people, we all know some of these people, and hell — at any given time or another, I’ve BEEN some of these people. So, here goes.
#1: The Super Fan
There are a couple of different types of super fans, and I’m going to get into a different subset of that in #2, but for this one, I’m talking about someone who makes their fandom KNOWN without leaving you to guess. This person is wearing the band T-shirt, possibly flying a band flag at their tailgate spot and blasting the band’s music all during the tailgate. Like, whoa, WE GET IT.
Personally, I don’t love listening to the band before the show starts. Luke and I were very close to a group like this while we were tailgating for Dave, and I was grumbling that I didn’t need to hear the whole setlist beforehand. We also got into the debate about wearing the band’s shirt to their show and agreed to disagree — he thinks it’s fine, I think it’s kind of… lame? I don’t know. I did recently see an article about how there’s nothing to hate on there and it’s free advertising for the band’s merch table. I do see how that could be a good thing.
Sometimes these people can be know-it-alls, too. They think their extreme fandom somehow gives them an in to the inner workings of the band. I once was chatting with a friend of a friend before an MGMT show, and this person was saying they NEVER play “Kids” at live shows. Never.
They fucking played it.
#2: The Die Hard Follower
When I was a kid, the Grateful Dead came to town every summer, and with them came a loyal band of followers known as “Dead Heads.” These hippies would camp out in yards around town and come through in caravans when the band came through.
I was scared to death of them. I didn’t know what “dead head” meant, and it sounded scary as shit. Now, these type of people are my FRIENDS. Who knew?!
Anyway, you get the idea. These people will follow bands across the country, even the world, and the number of shows they have seen can get up into the hundreds. If you’ve got the time and money, I say, good for you!
#3: The Influencer
Did you even really go to the show if there’s no photo or video to prove it?!
Apparently NOT. Yes, I’m guilty. I like to do a snap or two of some of my favorites, but I do think it’s important to actually be in the moment and enjoy said favorites, so I try to keep it to a minimum. Depending on how much I’ve had to drink.
I have a friend who posts so many snaps at shows, I joke that I don’t even need to go because I get the highlights. But, it can be annoying when someone constantly has their phone up. You (in theory) paid to be here, so enjoy it!
#4: The Talker and The Singer
These two people are very different sides of the same coin. The first is the worst, while the latter is me.
If you need to chat, at the very least, GTFO out of the front row/front section… really get yourself to the lawn and/or lobby. Shut. It.
But sing your heart out! Isn’t that what the band wants? OK, maybe not during a quiet moment or an instrumental solo. But we’re here to enjoy this music, so why not sing along? I know where I go wrong. It’s when I make 10 snaps of me singing along and you can ONLY hear me and not the band. I hear you… but I probably won’t stop, anyway.
#5: The Requester
Somewhere in between the talker and the singer, you’ve got the song requester.
UGH, JUST STOP. The band most likely has a chosen set list prior to the show based on a number of factors, including not repeating what they already played last night for the #2s. Barring them asking for requests, which is rare, it’s just obnoxious for you to be shouting out song titles. Part of the magic is you either get a song, or you don’t. So go see them again! Or write them off. Just stop yelling.
#6: The Lucky Freeloader
Back in the day, we had to stand in line, in the rain, UPHILL BOTH WAYS to get concert tickets. Now, we have to hit refresh a bazillion times on our phones and hope we get into the queue before they sell out. Or, we get lucky and win them!
There are a handful of shows I probably would have never seen had I not won, but I’m usually at least a mild fan if I enter to win.
Or you could be like my charmed younger brother. In 2014, Luke and I took a road trip to my college town of Athens, Ohio (technically we were in Nelsonville) for a music festival where we camped and saw a bunch of great bands including The Avett Brothers. My family drove down on Saturday to meet in town for drinks since it was my 31st birthday. My brother knew someone who had an extra VIP pass (of course he did), so he came for the last night (Avett) with no tent, no plan, hung in the VIP area and slept in someone’s car.
Recently, a friend and I got to see Thomas Rhett for free, including VIP tent access, plus she met him. A good rule of thumb we employed liberally that day was that if you get in for free, buy you some DRANKS. I spent more than I care to admit (but SummerFest prices are kind of nuts, too).
#7: Wait… there was a show?
Sometimes, some of us can get a little carried away in the tailgating stages. Yes, I’m guilty. I barely remember seeing Michael Che at the Comedy Club. That 2-drink minimum can be a real bitch when you’ve had several leading up to the show. It also can be challenging at festivals. Just remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Take your time, and hydrate up! Or don’t, but just try not to stumble into anyone or piss yourself. That’s unbecoming. The buddy system is your friend, literally. Pick someone to remind you to drink water! In my experience, it has a 25% success rate.
And guys, really, this is all in good fun. As long as you’re having fun and not ruining the experience for others, you do you! Now, get off your phone/computer, and go see some live music!