Let’s crowdsource this question on concert etiquette: To stand or not to stand? [UPDATED]
Over the weekend, I got this email from Grant:
I know I’m at a point where I don’t want to stand for an entire 2+ hour show. My body can’t handle it any longer.
At every show, there’s always that person, with a front-row seat standing for the whole show. Or the group of people all in a row that have to stand where the entire section around them is seated. (For context, I’m referencing heritage acts like Eagles, Journey, Brian Adams or Springsteen. All attract crowds in our age demographic.)
I feel they paid for a ticket just like me, If the music moves you to stand, so be it. Would it be wrong to ask politely if they would consider sitting periodically so I can see the stage? It blows my mind they don’t read the room and realize they are alone in their enthusiasm and the lone person blocking the view from countless rows behind them.
I’ve actually gone out of my way to thank people in front of me after shows for their choice to sit for the show so I too could give my body a break. For the record, I’m in good health. I exercise daily. I have no orthopedic issues. It’s just that standing on concrete for hours is tough.
Would you under any circumstances ever consider asking an enthusiastic fan if they could take a seat now and again?
This is an excellent question for which I don’t really have an answer. What do you think? Is it okay to ask someone in front of you to sit down so you can see the show? Or are you robbing that person of the concert experience they paid for?
UPDATE: Here’s a list of things only jerks do at concerts. Thoughts?
10 thoughts on “Let’s crowdsource this question on concert etiquette: To stand or not to stand? [UPDATED]”
If people seated in front of me stand, then so do I. They sit down I’ll sit down. When in Rome…
Theatre shows are one thing. Arena shows… all bets are off. If the spirit moves you to stand in an arena then I’m not gonna stop you or get mad.
I saw ELO not too long ago at Radio City (It’s a traditional theatre set up.) and I was 2/3 back of the lower level. Most of the folks around me were over 60. When the people in front of us stood up, I stood up, and the people behind me were NOT happy about it. So, in a situation like that… you’re in a grey area. I don’t want to look at somebody’s ass for a whole show, but I want to be respectful. Luckily, in that situation, I just kind of shrugged it off as… it’s not my fault.
Reading the room is your best bet. If rows and rows of people are standing then join them, but if you’re the only one… then maybe sit down. And then the flip side of that coin is… Well, I paid $600 for this night, I’m dancing!!! There’s really no right answer here.
You’re not robbing them of the experience. They can see and hear just as well sitting as standing. A group of people standing and blocking the people behind them are the ones robbing others of the experience if they’re blocking someone’s view.
Nah, I’m going to move and dance if the music moves me, and most bands I go to see will move me.
If you want to sit at a concert you better expect to not see much.
There isn’t really a right answer here. But another factor that’s worth mentioning is height. As someone married to a shorter person, I am always mindful of her ability to see. Most of the time while sitting she can, but not always, and while standing? Forget it. So I try to get tickets at the front of sections of aisles so she has a chance, but Joe venues are charging a premium for those! If only there was a way to seat everyone in such a way that they could see no matter what.. perhaps free boosters and periscopes should be handed out 🙂 either way, it’s definitely a touchy subject.
Usually, I purchase ticket for general admission. I like to stand, jump, mosh and just go nuts during a concert, especially if it’s a high energy show or a band I really like. I can’t see myself sitting during a Metallica or Guns N’ Roses show, for instance. I find it boring to sit during a concert, but I respect and understand people who like it and need…and I understand the high physical demand that is going to a concert at a certain age. I’m in my very early 40s, and it is getting harder.
A concert is participatory, performers feed off the energy of the crowd. I always feel a greater responsibility to show enthusiasm to the artist than worry about people around me who’d rather spectate than participate.
If a few people sit, it affects their enjoyment. If many sit, you’ll get a subpar performance, and everyones enjoyment is reduced, including the artists.
That list in the update is missing the biggest one: talking. I’ve been to so many shows where I’ve had to tell people to be quiet because they wouldn’t STFU, often for the entire show. If you aren’t going to listen, WTF did you come for?
This is the reading I stopped going to live shows, we saw Bare Naked Ladies in Burlington before the pandemic and were maybe 20 rows away but had to stand to see anything for 2 hours!
Lots of concerts to stream with cheaper food and booze and my own bathroom.
Its situational I think. I saw Fleet Foxes at Massey Hall a few years ago. I was in the balcony. That was definitely a seated show (and as an aside, was heavenly to sit there and just absorb it all). But if it is a dancing type of band, I will be up if the moment hits me.