My first concert was around 2006. It was a triple concert, with Helloween as the main band, but Gamma Ray and Axxis also went with them. Since then, I’ve been to a few more.
Basically, I’ve been to four types of concerts (heavy metal, pop, classic and j-rock/visual kei). People’s experiences may vary in each of them, in the sense that it depends enormously whether the concert is in a big or small place, or if it’s part of a bigger event, etc.
Whatever type of concert you go to, you should always behave. And this behaviour can be applied to any kind of concert. Since this website is about music and this year a lot of Japanese musicians are coming to Europe and other countries in the world, I want to talk about the importance of behaving well in such events.
Respect the national law
I know this may seem obvious, but for some it isn’t. Before going abroad, make sure you know about the law in the country… and if the concert is in your country, well, you seriously have no excuse.I have seen two nasty behaviours regarding this:
We all want to be as close to the stage as possible, but that’s no reason to occupy the whole sidewalk for everyone’s burden. This is illegal in some places, and the people responsible for the venue might have to kick you out of the place because you are in the way of people. Plus, in my experience, people who do this kind of thing are often nasty to everyone else in the queue. They’ve been there for days before you, so you must worship them. Just no. In a concert, we are ALL the same.
Smoking in public places is illegal in many countries. If you know the law, why do you break it? Furthermore, I’ve experienced people blatantly insulting you when you call them out on it. Or even worse, security staff just shrugging it off. Smoking in a crowded place such as a concert is very dangerous for many reasons; you may (and surely will) burn people around you, not to mention how hard it is to breathe in some concerts… imagine with smoke from cigarettes.
Respect the press members
I have attended some lives as press member and I’ve experienced good things from the most part, but sometimes people can be nasty towards press. This is because people are missinformed about what press does in concerts. Some people think press members just go there, get free tickets and get in your way of reaching first row (or seated spots). This is not like this.
Usually, press members have to make a lot of calls to get their tickets. In many occassions, we have to buy a back-up ticket just in case they are not giving press tickets in the end, and this is a hassle because rather often than not you can’t get your hands on your press ticket until the regular ones come for sale (and many times you end up with two tickets). Then you have to beg for a photographer (this is not allowed under any circumstance in most Japanese concerts, so most of the time you don’t get a photographer), and maybe hope they have a seated place for you to take notes of the event (this is also a very rare thing in my experience). So you just end up having to go in the crowd with everyone else, with no photographer, no chance of writing down notes, and without a setlist (most of the time the setlist is not available for press).
As an anecdote, when Gackt came with Yellow Fried Chickenz I had to ask Gackt himself via email about the set list because by the time of the European tour, they played mostly new songs nobody even knew the title for. Surprisingly enough, he replied and sent me the setlist!
Moshing and pushing
Some bands encourage moshing, and are well known for it. Make sure you know about this before going to their lives. Moshing (pushing around in the crowd) usually happens after the first 5 or 7 rows. If you want to stay safe, either get in one of the first rows or on the back.
However… some people in the crowd will mosh and push around just because, let’s face it, they’re jerks. And this happens not because they’re dancing, no. This happens because they entered the concert late or are way in the back and forcefully make their way to the front rows. Not only that, but often they’ll drag their friends along in the process. And trust me, this is the most annoying thing ever.
Because moving around in the crowd is one thing, this is normal, you should expect it to happen. People move forwards, backwards, to one side or the other. But pushing around people AND bringing your friends over, this is not acceptable in any way. This is rude, annoying and you could hurt people in the process.
Respect the band’s wishes: no cameras allowed
Most Japanese bands will not allow pictures being taken whatsoever, and it is not rare to hear stories about people who went to the concert, got caught by staff taking pictures and got kicked out. Usually, they bring their own photographers so they want to keep it exclusive (or they may have other reasons). And the staff will make sure you have no cameras if they’re not allowed, so please, if this is the band’s wish just don’t take pictures. They could even cancel the whole show for this reason (it happened and it could happen again).
And speaking of which, in case it IS allowed and you want to take pictures, don’t spend the whole time with your arms up. And of course, not if you have an Ipad or some big device like that. You WILL BE interfering in the view of those behind/around you, and that is VERY RUDE. Don’t do it. A picture is ok. A full video with a huge device is NOT.
Treat the crowd as family
I’ve often witnessed people being mean at each other in the queue and also in the crowd. This is not fun. This is not how it should be. Once you’re in there, you’re in together and you should take care of eachother. Recently, I went to a concert and I had this girl being very rude to my friend and I, and her behaviour went as bad as to manage to throw me to the floor (and trust me, I am not a small girl), with another guy picking me up and this girl disappearing from sight. If you hurt someone, at least make sure they are ok. This should be obvious but some people believe concerts are a jungle.
In fact, you’ll make a lot of friends in a concert. I know I have! In the queue, you can share food with others, keep their spots while they’re in the toilet, etc. And in the crowd you will be sharing space with people that also want to have fun. So be nice to everyone and avoid those who are not nice.
Hope this has been helpful for you guys!