I'm six-foot-four, so I'm the last person who should complain about tall people at concerts. I am that tall person at concerts. I'm the one blocking your view, obscuring the stage with a silhouette of my head.
It's not my fault but I feel terrible about it. Every step closer I get to the stage blocks the view for at least 10 people behind me who now can't see the singer, the drummer, the bassist, or, you know, anything. I feel guilty about being tall at concerts all the time.
(If it's any consolation, my height has contributed to at least three concussions - possibly more, but I can't remember anything.)
But here's the thing. Tall people block my view too. I know I'm tall, but there are genetic mutants out there who are way taller than me. Like skyscraper tall. And they come with giant heads too.
You know what else? I find one of them at every single show. It's like I'm so guilty about being tall, my subconscious seeks out the nearest tall freak and plonks me right behind them. Thanks subconscious. You suck.
Shows that drag on too long
It might be because I'm quickly turning into a full-blown nana, but I can't stand it when concerts go on for too long. It's understandable when mega bands come to play their plentiful catalogue of greatest hits, but even if it's my favourite band of all time there's always a moment - usually at an hour and a half - where everything begins to sound the same and I start to think, 'Okay buddy, lets wrap this mutha up'.
I definitely can not handle a show that just drags on and on, like the upcoming Cure concert, where the band is known to often perform for four hours straight. Nah-ah, I ain't doing that. If you haven't finished playing by 10.30pm the temptation to simply leave will be on the rise.
Confession: I didn't stay for Kendrick Lamar at Auckland City Limits, nor did I make it to the end of the Death Cab For Cutie concert and last year I left a Morrissey concert early. I know, these are all complete crimes against music, but I don't regret at thing. Don't get me wrong, I love live music, but gone are they days where I'd be front and center, sweating it out in the mosh pit, not wanting it to ever end. I just can't do that anymore and I don't want to. I have places I need to be, like asleep in my bed.
People recording everything
I'll never understand people who come to concerts so they can spend the entire time using their giant iPad, or Go Pro, or phone, filming the performance. For starters, your bright screen held aloft is distracting for everyone standing or sitting behind you, and that's just rude. Second, it's surely disheartening for a band or an artist to look out into a crowd, and instead of a sea of faces, to simply see a whole lot of cameras pointed their way.
Seeing live music is about making a connection with the people around you, and the artist on stage, not staring at a screen. Enjoy the moment, enjoy the atmosphere, sing along, dance, have that transcendental human experience that only music can provide, and stop worrying about creating some second rate footage to share on Instagram/Youtube/Facebook/Twitter/Snapchat. It will never be anywhere near as good as being in the room.
No big surprise here but the thing I find most annoying is just getting the damn tickets. Sure, we no longer have to line up in the cold and rain but nowadays half the tickets are gone before you can even buy them.
First, there's the cellphone customer pre-sale. Then the credit card customer pre-sale. Then the friends of the venue pre-sale. And then finally, after all those sales, the scraps are thrown to us dogs.
Come go time us fans and them scumbag scalpers are all hunched over our computers madly clicking 'refresh' on the ticket company website. We're anxious and desperate and hoping the boss doesn't wonder why we're angrily saying very unpleasant things to our computer.
But before you can attempt to buy your ticket you have to deal with the stupid 'I am not a bot' verification. Every. Single. Time. You. Refresh.
I've found this often triggers a deep existential crises brought on by the stress of the situation.
The clock's ticking, the tickets are selling out and it wants me to click all the squares with water in them? Muthaflipper...
Lake - click. Ocean - click. Rain?!? WTF?!?
Is this a picture of rain? It's mostly a picture of a truck... Do I click it? Is rain water? I don't know! I am not a bot! I AM NOT A FLIPPING BOT!!!!
Ahem. Where was I? Oh yeah...
Okay, say you get past all that and by some miracle get through. You've proved you're not a bot and you've got two GA floor tickets locked down in your basket.
You've got the gold. You're going, baby! In your head you're already wording your social media humble brags about having tickets. You're smiling, beaming even. You're not entirely sure but you think that yes, you might actually be... happy.
You click buy now. A message appears. You read it and then quite calmly stand up and throw your computer out of the twelfth floor window of your open plan office.
"Something went wrong. Please try again."
There's always those people who are way too cool for life itself.
They're usually in the back or smack bang in the middle of the crowd, arms folded, an ironic band t-shirt (that is never the shirt of the band they're actually seeing), head nodding ever so slightly - and that's the only sign of enthusiasm they show.
Then there are the people who make it their life's mission to get to the barrier simply for the sake of being at the barrier. If you've elbowed me in the face to get to that barrier, you damn well better lose your mind when you get there, don't just stand there taking selfies with your back to the stage so you can tell all your Facebook friends you were front and centre.
But worst of all, is the person who knows everything. The Hermione Grangers of the concert-going experience. No one cares if you know all the lyrics to all the songs, no one cares if you know that one obscure song that other people don't know, no one cares if you know when the drummer's mum's half-sister's dog's birthday is, and no one cares about the time you got the band's autograph when you were 12.
And don't even get me started on people who watch the entire show on the screen of their phones.
Does anyone go to a show just to have a great time anymore?
Why do gigs start so late? Sure, the headliners of big gigs are usually due on at 9pm, unless you're Madonna where the baffling lateness is meant to help build up expectations. Or allow fans to get to the point of tipsy-ness they'll forgive anything that follows.
But why not 8pm for arena or stadium shows? Yes it's still light at that time in the summer. So what? The fireworks don't usually go off until the end. Video screens these days are pretty good in all lighting conditions. If your career means you're playing outdoor shows to 20,000 plus, hoping the combination of post-dusk darkness and lightshow will maintain an air of mystery or give it some atmosphere is a forlorn one. We can see into every pore from the back row now.
So how about we kick the whole thing off at 8pm so we might go enjoy the happy glow of a good show for a few more waking hours, maybe go out for a drink afterwards, or at least know that public transport will get us home at a decent hour.
And as for you young unknown bands in small venues ...if you're thinking of waiting for your flatmates to turn up to help fill the room, fine. Play to them. But how about an early evening matinee for us old fans who still love live music but have spent far too much of our lives getting slowly stuck to pub carpets waiting for the band to come on.