Concert Etiquette 101
Proudly, I suppose, I can declare that I am no stranger to K-pop concerts. Through a combination of luck, being in the right place at the right time, and scraping together money earned at minimum-wage jobs, I’ve been fortunate enough to have seen a number of my favorite artists live. This summer, I’ve been especially lucky; my current job has me working at a site where K-pop concerts are regularly held, and on my days off I’ll often stroll down to the concert arena to see who’s playing (fun fact: Brown Eyed Girls are coming tomorrow!).
However, there has been an unfortunate downside to the plethora of concerts I’ve been able to attend: it has exposed me to the fact that very often, K-pop fans show up to concerts and completely lose their heads — and in the process, forget every shred of consideration for any human being that isn’t their idol standing on stage. After getting shoved one too many times and barely being able to watch my babygirl Jia perform “Breathe” alongside the rest of miss A, I was inspired to put together a “how to go to concerts like responsible human beings” guide, if you will — a list of behaviors that ought to be actively discouraged when people attend concerts, for they will otherwise actively interefere with how much those around them enjoy the show.
1) There are seats in a concert arena for a reason. Maybe try sitting in them?
Okay, I get it — concerts are obviously extremely exciting places, and the concert venue often reverberates with an incredible energy that is difficult to find elsewhere. And sure, there are times when it is definitely appropriate to jump out of your seat and allow yourself to be swept away by that energy. But these times probably shouldn’t be solo efforts, or else you’re going to wind up wildly pissing off basically everyone seated behind you. Do you know how much I paid to sit in this nosebleed seat? The last thing I need is for you to unilaterally decide that standing up and screaming at Yuri, who is approximately an entire football field away, that you’d like to marry her is a really good idea.
Other offenses of a similar nature include jumping out of one’s seat to dance when no one else is dancing — or even leaving one’s seat to go dance in the aisle. True story; ask Salima for details.
2) There really is no need to scream at your bias’ face whenever it is on a screen — especially if it isn’t even part of the live concert.
This one continues to baffle me. I of course understand the desire to verbally express one’s feelings for celebrities that one likes, especially if one is in the (relatively) near vicinity; I, too, want Tiffany to know just how much I want to be biffles with her. However, I don’t make a practice out of routinely shouting at my computer whenever an image of Tiffany comes up.
How does this relate to concerts? Well, anyone who has been to a K-pop concert knows that there is an awful lot of wait time involved. Really dedicated fans will camp out for hours and hours, and even once you’re allowed in the concert venue, there’s usually at least an hour or so of sitting patiently while waiting for it to start. Of course, concert organizers wouldn’t have attendees simply stare at nothing, and so oftentimes music videos or commercial advertisements are provided. But here’s where people start to lose me: I mean, you do realize that these commercials are not…actually a part of the concert, right? That image of Taemin that keeps flashing across the screen — yeah, that’s not actually Taemin, nor is it anything to work yourselves into hysteria over. Once the concert actually begins, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to scream your head off, and legitimately so. When the artists aren’t on stage or even kind of in view, however, please control yourselves.
3) For the love of all that is holy, stop videotaping the entire performance and just put down the camera.
Everyone wants a momento to take away from a much-anticipated concert, and with the hugely inflated price of glowsticks, balloons, t-shirts, and most other concert paraphernalia available for purchase at concert venues, pictures and video may just be the cheapest souvenir one could bring back. However, it’s important to remember that you’re at the concert to…well, watch the concert — and not through a tiny screen, either. Some people get so absorbed with taking pictures and videos that they actually forget to pay attention. Ironic, isn’t it, that most of the time, we’re watching our favorite celebrities on tiny screens — and even when we go to concerts, we still stare at them through even tinier screens?
Here’s what I’d like to know. What are you going to do with all of that blurry, shaky footage? Are you really going to watch it when you get home? And do you really think that it’ll be better than watching it in person at the concert at which it was taken?
Note: this offense multiples tenfold if you are in a mosh pit/standing room only concert. Thrusting your camera into the air to take a 5-minute video does nothing but obstruct everyone else’s view and infuriate them to the point of violence. See point 1 for further elaboration.
4) Pushing is really going to get you nowhere, you know.
My fellow writer Patricia once wrote on the poor idea that is general admissions for a K-pop concert. Having attended quite a number of “standing room only” shows recently, I can now testify to this. Nothing on earth (except maybe basic training for the US Marines) can prepare you for the surge forward that will take place the minute an idol group sets foot on stage; the surge metastasizes if the group is male and the audience is largely female and prepubescent. Naturally, every single person in the audience has the goal of getting as close to their favorite idol as is possible; unfortunately, a lot of those people seem to be operating under the delusion that actually bypassing a swelling crowd of hundreds — maybe even thousands — in order to do that is even a remote possibility.
People, look around you. Now explain to me how exactly pushing against a crowd of bodies will not be part of a futile effort to stand right next to 2PM‘s Junsu. I can almost guarantee you that the precise outcome will not be success, but rather a sharp elbow to the stomach.
5) Hey, just because EXO-K is no longer performing doesn’t mean the show is over!
Even though global tours and showcases are cropping up with much greater frequency these days, it’s still somewhat rare that K-pop concerts will feature just one group or performer. This means that fans of one group may have to — gasp — suffer through the performance of another in order to see their beloved idols live. Obviously, the best-case scenario is one’s favorite group performing first, so that fans can clear out immediately after their last song has ended and not waste any more of their precious time watching some other worthless group perform. Right?
Wrong. Concerts are an opportunity for all of the artists invited to showcase their talents, and having a whole chunk of fans just up and leave because their biases have concluded with their performances is just plain rude and immature. Leave the fanwars and the nonsense at the door and just suck it up. You might even discover something that you like about the other acts performing if only you were to give them a chance.
This is what I would teach in a hypothetical class called “Concert Etiquette 101” — what about you, Seoulmates?