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Rock Concert Pigs

My husband and I recently went on a trip for our first anniversary. We visited the Biltmore Estate in NC and stayed at the Inn on the estate itself. When looking at the events going on during the weekend that we were planning on going, we noticed that there was a concert that we were interested in attending. There was also a package deal in which you get preferred seating at the concert if you are staying at the Inn. Since it was a special occasion, we decided to go for the whole shebang despite the large expense involved. Overall, the trip was great. I enjoyed the performance given at the concert. We had 3rd row center aisle seats (which was awesome). That being said, the issue that I had was with the other concert goers and the staff working at the concert as well.

The band performing is an older rock group. Since it is a rock group, I had certain expectations including people drinking alcoholic drinks and a generally excited atmosphere. The venue itself was outdoors and set up with chairs right up to the front of the stage. This means that there was no intended standing area at the front of the stage. I saw a range of ages at the concert, but a good portion of the people that were sitting around us in the other awesome seats were older people who have probably been fans of the band for years and were both willing and able to drop money on good seats. I only mention this because I suspect at least some of these people are not able to stand for the length of a concert anymore. Based off how much money we paid, they shouldn’t have had to stand anyways.

When the concert started, there was a regular stream of people from further back in the crowd rushing up to the front of the stage to take pictures and film parts of the concert with camera phones or digital cameras. This meant that for the people sitting on the aisle, all of the sudden there would be a mass of bodies filling the center aisle to the point you would have to push people if you wanted to get through them and blocking off the view of at least half of the stage (there were times that I could not see the drummer, who was placed in the middle back of the stage). The ones that took a few pictures or filmed a short clip of a song were the most acceptable, as they tended to leave to return to their seats in short order. But then there were the people that insisted on standing in the center aisle for the length of a song. At minimum. The older gentleman sitting in front of me was clearly irritated by this (as were most of the other people sitting around us that I could see). He was at least able to get the people in the aisle to crouch down so that the people that were actually supposed to be in the front could see.

The person that takes the cake was the man that stood/crouched/sat on the ground of the aisle next to the second row for at least three-quarters of the concert. Of course he was tall, meaning that when he was standing, he was particularly effective at blocking views. We have no idea where his seat actually was. And he had a friend bringing him beers (at least the friend didn’t try to stay there too). I think he got karma’d though. A band member threw out a guitar pick, and as always multiple people dove for it. One of the people was the tall guy. And when the dive was over, the guy had his beer dripping off his face. He had to go get his own beer that time, though he did come right back when he had it.

My final question is where was the concert venue staff when this was all happening? The “crashers” were only cleared out when people on the front row got irritated and complained about the people standing in front of them at the rail in front of the stage. Otherwise, the crowd was left to stand wherever it pleased. If they were going to set up the venue in a format with no standing area at the front, then it should have been enforced by the staff. All of the people that paid the premium for seats up front expect to be able to see the show and not have to settle for watching the show as it is being recorded through someone else’s IPhone, especially when the person blocking the view most likely did not pay for seats in the front.

I am also sending a version of this email to Biltmore; if they do not know that the problem exists they cannot fix it for future concerts.    0906-11

I really wish I had the time to create photoshopped images of what my mind conjures up while reading these stories.  For this one, I envisioned pigs who had a somewhat middled aged or older look (think grey haired pony tails) standing at the base of the concert stage waving their arms in unison while the seated guests behind them wore squinched, scowly faces.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Heather September 7, 2011, 9:13 pm

    I work in the music biz and it is totally standard practice to dance, stand up (including on top of your seat) clap, sing along, etc…during any kind of concert that is light bubblegum pop music all the way on up to the harder stuff. @Tiffany, It is also standard for couples to dance together and snuggle during love songs, and I’m appalled someone would throw a drink at a couple doing this. The person throwing the drink should have been removed from the venue. I have been at concerts where the people sit, and look like they rather be reading a book than be there. If you don’t seem to be enjoying the concert, then how do you expect them to enjoy performing for you?
    That said, there are safety regulations and procedures that should be followed, and of course, it is almost impossible to enforce them all, you have at least 500 people at the smallest of venues, and you have maybe 30 security guards. Blocking aisles and fire safety hazards should not be allowed, but unfortunately, there isn’t too much anyone can do about it. It sounds like the OP was at a venue with General Admission – because venues I know won’t let just anyone go up to the front. You have to have a ticket or wrist band. Yes, a few sneaky folks always manage to get through, but a huge throng of people getting to the front of a section sounds like a GA show to me. Usually when tickets for reserved seats are more expensive, it is because the location of the seats, and usually you do get something more, perhaps a meet and greet, a free T-shirt, or dinner at the venue. I’d imagine the venue figures you’ll just stand up too, as not many people sit during a lively concert, even if they are older (my 61-year old mother still out dances the younger ones!) and yes you did pay for your “seat” but really, you are just paying for your “space.” If you simply paid an exorbitant price for a seat location, I hate to say it, but you just got ripped off. Also, somebody can’t help it if they are tall. Should tall people not be allowed to dance at concerts, simply because they are tall? Yes, it stinks for the person behind them (been there myself) but usually people are cool and will switch around with you, or that is when you stand on your seat.
    @Bunnyface that is not 100% true. The Purchaser (i.e. venue) is responsible for security, not the musical act. Yes, the artists can make specifications on what they will and will not accept and they are free to leave the venue if these specifications are not met. But, these are usually extreme circumstances, like at some venues, for some reason people “clod throw,” yup, they throw clods of dirt and grass at the artists. We specifically say we will not accept this, and we do leave the stage if it happens. But, you have to keep it in perspective too; nobody wants the artist to stop the performance. If the artist tried to stop every time somebody did something that was not nice, or not in compliance with every safety regulation, the concert would never be completed, and you’d have a lot more fans upset over the performance (or lack of) than the few people who for some reason, like to sit at rock concerts. They are also focused on performing – they are not security and can’t be expected to keep tab on what everyone is doing in the audience.
    @Psyche & @V, merch is not as over priced as you think. Yes, of course, the bands make a profit, but T-shirt blanks (before printing) cost about $10-12, and after printing and you are looking at $14-15. Then, we also have to ship it to the venue, pay a merch seller, pay the venue their cut of the merch sales (they get 10-25%, depends on what they negotiate) and we have to pay taxes on it (most merch at concerts is sold for a flat fee of $25 or whatever…and we pay the tax for you). We also have to pay customs at international shows, and for gas on bus tours, or pay a freight charge on fly dates. And then we have to have a storage unit for the merch that is not sold, or pay to ship it to the online store. Honestly, we are lucky if we make a profit of about $5 on each shirt after we are done with it all. And that goes for CDs too. Our cost on those is $10-12.

  • Kovitlac September 7, 2011, 9:30 pm

    I’m wondering if the OP has been to a rock concert at all in the last decade or so. Every single concert I’ve gone to has it’s own ‘mosh pit’. While I likewise hate people standing, it’s nothing new or limited to wherever the OP was. I’d be shocked if I went to a concert that didn’t have people standing in front.

  • Gracie C. September 7, 2011, 10:00 pm

    I agree the standing doesn’t bother me (unless it’s a show where 99% of the audience is seated – then the 1% is really just rude), but the talkers…oh my do the talkers bother me. I’ll never understand why people pay good money to pay for a show and then talk through the entire thing.

  • PrincessSimmi September 7, 2011, 10:49 pm

    At the BEP concert in Sydney, I was forced to stand with my friends in the aisle because the girl sitting in the seat next to me was standing and dancing so energetically she elbowed me in the head repeatedly. Thanks, kid.

  • Ange September 8, 2011, 12:57 am

    All this talk is making me want to go back to my mosh pit days! Hahaha.

    I sort of get the OPs complaint, people were basically skiving better seats than they paid for and that’s annoying but in the end as others have said it’s SOP and something to be expected in a way. Doesn’t necessarily make it right but having a sense of humour about it could very well be what saves the evening.

    This sort of question came up for me recently at a concert. There was no seating, all standing (and it was a free concert). My friend and I waited patiently and got up to the front railing, bar some bags people had placed against them. Halfway through the concert I got tapped on the shoulder by a mother who indicated her two sons. I moved aside to let them see but couldn’t let them any closer due to the amount of people. Later on I get another tap on the shoulder and her asking ‘can they stand in front of you? They’re so short!’ That really irked me for some reason – not that they could anyway as the bags were there but why should I give up my hard earned position for two kids who hadn’t been anywhere near the place when the band started? I also noticed she hadn’t asked the 7 foot tall gentleman next to me who would have been blocking their view much more efficiently. Clearly I was marked because I was a woman. Anyway, rant over but the old concert goer in me was very miffed by her presumptuousness.

  • Katie September 8, 2011, 2:16 am

    Unless it’s been a small venue or a quiet band, people always stand – or more accurately dance – at concerts I go to. And I have quite varied tastes! I’ve only ever been to one concert where people were sitting, and shockingly enough that was U2. It was awful, as the band was great but our section of the stand were like zombies. If you did anything but sit quietly and do golf claps at the end of every song you’d get snarled at, it was terrible and to my mind not what rock n roll is about. I’ve no idea why people come to concerts like that if they could just sit on the couch and watch a dvd for less money. I just remember sitting there and thinking that they would never come back to my city because we sat there giving back no energy to the band. It totally wrecked the concert, and for me that kind of killjoy attitude is the only thing that does. (Thankfully I got to see U2 again last year – the crowd and band were both fantastic, it was a great experience!) The only other thing that really bugs me nowadays is people constantly filming the concert instead of actually enjoying it for themselves, and blocking other people’s views. Most rock concerts I go to have a good atmosphere, and if you don’t want to or can’t stand for whatever reason just be very careful of where you’ll be when you book your ticket. In most cases there will be rushing up to the stage etc, and you need to gauge the atmosphere (and how much you like the band!) and decide if you’re going to be one of them. If the crowd is rough and that scares you, obviously you stay where you are. But it will happen, regardless of what you think of it.

    Tiffany, Savage Garden was my first concert too (awwww!) and I don’t think I sat after the support act! Looking forward to seeing Darren Hayes in concert again this year and dancing like a maniac 😀

  • MeganAmy September 8, 2011, 4:13 am

    And this is why I hate going to concerts! I can relate to the OP.

    I’ve learned, as many have mentioned here, that it seems to be SOP at rock concerts. Apparently, the typical fans of the kinds of music that I like (`80s hair bands, hard rock, heavy metal) tend to be rowdy and violent. And I just want to listen to the music, not get beat up. I’ve witnessed too much bloodshed in the mosh pits. If I paid for my seat, I don’t want to have to elbow people and fight like a dog to keep it. Now, I just buy a CD and stay home unless I’m going to see Sting or Fleetwood Mac or something more mellow than the music I generally listen to.

  • The Elf September 8, 2011, 7:16 am

    Got it, Shannon. Now it makes sense to me.

  • The Elf September 8, 2011, 7:20 am

    Oof, I should have guessed it was Nissan Pavilion in your Radiohead story, Shannon. I hate that place too. Middle of freakin’ nowhere with poor roads in/out.

  • Shannon September 8, 2011, 10:10 am

    Elf, yep. I feel like I should get a t-shirt that says “I Survived the Radiohead Show at Nissan Pavilion.” I was also at the show in Virginia a few years before that, the one that was cancelled due to floods. I saw about five minutes of Thievery Corporation before we were sent to our cars because of lightning.

    Nissan (now Jiffy Lube Live) is about the worst venue on the face of the Earth. Horrible sight lines, rude staff, miles from anywhere, no transit options, pokey two-lane roads causing awful traffic, overserved drunk patrons (I like to drink, but not to the point that I can’t follow the show), and getting into and out of the parking lot is absolute mayhem. Even without torrential rains, flooding and plagues of locusts, it’s a terrible venue. My boyfriend at the time was a big music person and really wanted to go, otherwise I would have passed on it.

    I must say I lost a LOT of respect for Radiohead after that show. They’d made a stink about making their tour “environmentally friendly” then played at a venue that was inaccessible by transit and caused people to circle for hours wasting fossil fuel. The concert should have been cancelled for safety reasons – but Live Nation wanted to keep everyone’s money. Fans who missed the show due to the weather and traffic were offered…well, not a refund. They were offered cheap lawn seats in Camden, NJ as a consolation prize, even if they’d paid for very expensive seats.

  • Lucy September 8, 2011, 10:14 am

    I went to a Willie Nelson concert once and had to ask the young men in front of me to remove their huge cowboy hats. Not an unforseeable complication, really, but at least they did it without griping. Of course, well-behaved young men in Texas should have done that anyway.

  • Tiffany September 8, 2011, 11:25 am

    I definitely wouldn’t go throwing things at people who are standing, that’s extreme. However, it’s possible that Toronto concertgoers are boring, but everyone in the section we were in at the SG concert was sitting down, and we weren’t THAT close to the stage, so the one couple standing in the middle of the section blocked the view for a lot of people. I don’t have as much a problem with knocking around in the aisle, provided you aren’t diving into people’s laps or breathing down their necks, so if the couple had gone into the aisle to stand, that would have been perfectly sensible, as I see it. It’s not nice, however, to stand in the middle of the section where everyone else is sitting and block the view of the people behind you. The people behind you paid for their tickets as well, and also probably like the song Truly Madly Deeply.

    @Katie I’ve never seen Darren perform solo! I’ve been meaning to catch up on his solo albums.

  • Enna September 8, 2011, 12:03 pm

    Since the OP mentions this is an older band where most fans would be of an age where they would want to sit down (there is nothing wrong with that) I doubt it would be the kind on concert that would have “Mosh” pits or whatever they are called. Since the seating arrangement was set up with no “mosh” pit then everyone should have been seated. It doesn’t matter what kind of concert it is, blocking up gangways and ailses is just dangerous and should not be tolerated.

  • DRS September 9, 2011, 10:56 am

    I understand now how lucky I’ve been with the few concerts I’ve attended. Maybe it is because it is West Michigan and the Van Andel but the people working that arena have always been great and would never put up with what the OP had to put up with. I purchase early and I purchase the best seat I can afford because I want a good view and I’ll pay for it – which means we are generally on the floor. Once in a while everyone on the floor will stand and dance to a particular song but then the majority of the people sit down and the few who would probably prefer to keep standing/dancing get the hint and sit down. I don’t agree with “get over it, that is SOP”. If the poeple in the aisle wanted to be closer to the stage then they should have done what was necessary to get a closer seat. I find it dismissive to be told that I should just stay home and listen to a CD if I want to sit.

  • Twik September 9, 2011, 3:14 pm

    As a safety person, I hate the idea that “yeah, people break safety regulations all the time, but (shrug) what can you do about it?” I’m sure before the Who concert in Cincinatti, people at the venue were going, “Yeah, people crowd in when the band comes on, but (shrug) who’s gonna stop them? We don’t want to look like squares by actually preventing them from doing anything they want.”

    Really, safety regulations are not optional, and they weren’t invented by people who simply dislike fun. They’re there to keep people alive, and they CAN be enforced, just like speed limits, and food safety laws, and fire codes.

  • Cordelia September 10, 2011, 10:17 pm

    I have to agree with those who call this SOP of rock concerts. I’ve followed a certain band for several years, and seen them play at amphitheaters, arenas, and the like, but the only show of theirs I ever sat down for was at Radio City Music Hall in NYC. (For those who are unfamiliar with this place, it’s a well-known, very fine indoor venue.) Everyone down on the first floor was standing up, dancing, etc., but I was in the third mezzanine and I think everyone up there with me just wanted to enjoy the music without taking the place down, so everyone was sitting around me. That was fine by me – it was a great show, we had fun, and we all stood up for the big final songs and encores. Every other show I’ve been to of theirs, though, was all standing everywhere in the venue. That’s usually just the way it is for certain kinds of music played in those kinds of venues.

  • Maryann September 13, 2011, 1:47 am


    I go to a lot of concerts, especially rock concerts. I have stories that would absolutely curl the hair of the letter writer. I have been spat on, stepped on, thrown to the ground, had a lit cigarette nearly jammed in my right eye, shoved out of my place and even my own seat, denied the seat or section I had purchased by venues, had people physically attempt to dance in the exact place where I was standing, walked through mystery puddles barefoot, and had to bear witness to a physical altercation over the use of marijuana at an indoor venue. That’s the short list.

    One of the biggest peeves you’ll ever encounter at concerts is people who’re inconsiderate about the people behind them. They suck, but concerts absolutely come equipped with people for whom three or more drops of alcohol (or anything stronger) is reason enough to become a barnyard animal, if they weren’t already.

    The thing about concerts is that there’s a big payoff if you go to enough and have the wherewithal to make the most of it. I have an autographed set list from one of my favorite bands. A have a broken bass string from another. One of my favorite guitarists held my hand, sang me a song, kissed his pick and gave it to me. And I got to meet my all time favorite celebrity and music artist (who I positively worship) and have two autographs and lots of photos for my trouble.

    So next time some total jerk ruins your concert experience, remember, on a curve, suffering them is worth it. (And don’t forget to assert yourself.)

  • YZ September 17, 2011, 3:51 pm

    This is what ALWAYS happens at concerts. If the OP is too old to stand comfortably, it sounds like their period attending rock concerts is over. However, because they took the time to specify WHERE they were going and what STATE it was in, I can’t help but feel that it’s just another Yankee trying to find some reason to dump on Southerners and yet come out still smelling like a rose.

  • penguintummy September 20, 2011, 3:35 am

    If someone has purchased a seat at a concert and there is no standing section at the front, people should not be creating a hazard by standing in the aisle. I have been to heaps of concerts where people have been asked to sit down (if the whole show is seated) or to move back to the standing area if there is one by security. It’s just a safety thing!

    Best etiquette at a gig was when I saw a band at a live music venue at a pub. The show was half way in and we were all singing along and dancing when a guy just shoved his way through the crowd, actually grabbing my shoulders and pulling me aside so he could stand in front. Being a somewhat petite person I couldn’t bodily move him back. But I didn’t need to as about 2 minutes later a gentlemen from behind me grabbed the buy by his backpack and pushed him to the back of the room! I shook his hand for helping me out.

  • Ragdolly November 25, 2011, 1:47 pm

    Hi I have never posted before but here goes.
    I have a painful disability but am reasonably fine sitting in any seat at a concert (it’s not as if the ones at the disabled section are that much more comfortable and I would rather they went to someone who has no choice but to use them). So when people insist that standing in front of me is their right and that “everyone else is doing it” I feel angry.
    At my first concert I was young and decided not tol make a big deal about it and just stand. I almost fainted and had to sit through the last half of the show looking at the back of one person and having ice cold water occasionally spilled down my back by the person jumping up and down behind me.
    The band has since split up and I have been to very few concert since.

    Please have consideration for other people. They may have bought a seat because they actually needed/wanted to sit.