Commentary: Concertgoers of all ages are ruder than ever. There's an easy fix

Ross Raihala, Pioneer Press on

Published in Entertainment News

For years now, I’ve kicked around the idea of writing a column about concertgoing etiquette. But I’ve always resisted doing so, figuring that the people who really needed to read it never would.

Things changed this year. The concert industry not only made it out of the pandemic, it’s bigger than ever, with artists clamoring to get back on the road and fans eager to see shows rather than deal with the fear of missing out.

But, somehow, concertgoers are worse than they’ve ever been. One of the wildest trend stories of the summer was recounting the numerous things people were throwing at performers on stage. Back in July, the Today Show ran a piece that compiled eight such incidents, including a mobile phone thrown at Drake and a bag containing the ashes of a fan’s mother lobbed at Pink.

For me, though, the breaking point took place at a show last month at Xcel Energy Center in downtown St. Paul. I was standing next to two women in wheelchairs waiting for an elevator. When the doors opened, a group of oblivious boomers rushed in and filled the space. I couldn’t believe it and when I turned to apologize to the two women, they shot back a look of sad resignation that said this wasn’t the first time something like this happened.

What is wrong with people? I mean, large crowds have always been filled with awful people, but I think it got worse after lockdown. People forgot how to employ basic common courtesy to others. That, and ever-increasing ticket prices seem to have emboldened people to act like jerks because, well, they paid a lot to be there and they think they deserve it.

Speaking as someone who has spent the past 19 years reviewing local arena and stadium concerts, I can confidently tell you that bad concertgoers come in every age, every race and every demographic. People who act like jerks at shows come in all shapes and sizes.


The good news is that there’s an easy fix. The bad news is, well, the people who need to follow this fix probably won’t. But I’m holding out hope that at least some people don’t realize what they’ve been doing wrong and heed at least some of my advice.

So, as I said, this fix is easy. People simply need to be more self-aware, of themselves and others, when they’re in a crowd. Just imagine how much more enjoyable not just concerts but things like grocery shopping or driving would be if more people paid a little more attention to their surroundings.

That said, I do have some more tips to enhance the live music experience. I can only hope to change a few minds along the way.

Prepare for the show


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