Earlier this week, at the Mumford & Sons concert, I was sitting next to a bro who kept trying to cheers my empty fist. The first time, during “Little Lion Man,” I gave him a polite smile and smashed my fist against his cup of Coors Light. The third time he tried, I started to get testy. The bro may have gotten under my skin, but he sparked an important existential realization: not much has changed since my first Lollapalooza in 1992. Well, there were no cellphones back then, and I would never wear a red bra under a pair of conductor overalls with no T-shirt nowadays, but other than that, the people are pretty much the same. After nearly three decades of concert going, I think I’ve finally nailed down all the types.
1. Shmoopy Makeout Couple. Either the guy is behind her with his arms wrapped around her waist or standing next to her with his arm around her waist. They intermittently sway, and kiss, sway and kiss, sway and kiss, until you want to kill them.
2. Pretends To Know The Lyrics. They’re singing along with every song, but upon closer scrutiny, you discover that they’re lips don’t match the words and their knowledge of the music is all a ruse. A ruse!
3. Having The Best Night Ever. You’ve seen this person. In the first row. Drenched in sweat. Weeping tears of joy. Shrieking at the top of his/her lungs. None of this behavior drug-induced. They truly are having the very best night of their entire life.
4. Messed Up On Drugs. Make no mistake, this person is not at the concert for the music. The concert is just an excuse to use drugs. The minute they arrive (maybe even before they arrive) they’re lighting their spliff/dropping that molly/snorting their whatever. You may run into them rolling in the grass, thinking they are a carrot or something.
5. Whirling Dervish Dancer. Hands in the air, swirling and circling, slow and sensual or fast and furious, eyes closed. Otherwise known as the “whirling dervish,” the preferred dance of the Sufi mystics. There’s always one at every concert. Doesn’t matter what the music genre. I saw one at a Rage Against The Machine concert.
6. Air conductor. A close relative of the Whirling Dervish Dancer, the Air Conductor mistakenly thinks that they are the puppet master of of the entire operation, conducting each note, each rest, each lick with a wave of their hands.
7. 30-Something Sitter. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m that girl who is “getting old” and has to sit down due to generalized “back pain.” Whatever. I stood through all 12 hours of Lollapalooza 1992. I have nothing to prove.
8. First Pumper/Cheerser. There’s always one bro (or thousands) who fist pump through the set and/or try to cheers strangers. I happened to be sitting next to him the other night. Poor me.
9. Unimpressed Person. But at least I wasn’t sitting next to that person who crosses their arms and acts unimpressed, even if it’s their favorite band. If you’re paying for a ticket, you might as well muster up some modicum of excitement. I’m sorry, but you can’t be that unimpressed by The Pixies.
10. Snack Getter. Really, all this person is concerned with is making sure everyone in their party is all set with snacks and drinks. Incidentally, they tend to end up missing the show.
11. Pre-Gamer. This doofus drank soooo much during the opening act, that he or she is passed out in a pool of his/her own vomit way before the headliner goes on.
12. Bored Parent. You have to respect the parent who took one for the team and accompanied their kid to the show. Nine times out of 10 they look distressed and/or are dozing off. Hopefully they remembered to bring earplugs!
13. Overly-Enthusiastic Parent. As opposed to the Bored Parent, the Overly-Enthusiastic Parent pretends to love the music so their kid will love them more. Sadly, they end up coming off as desperate or pathetic or creepy.
14. Avid Texter/Filmer. Put your phone away and watch the show, person who texts or films the entire time!
15. Injured Person. They have to be carried out on a stretcher before the opening act goes on because they slipped in a puddle of beer or threw out their kneecap in a mosh pit. And not just this once. Every time they go to a concert. Whatever you do, make sure they are not your designated driver. I missed a Violent Femmes concert once because I made this mistake.
16. Leaves Before The Encore. They care more about “beating the crowd” than hearing their favorite band do some mind-blowing never-before-heard medley. Whatever, judge me if you want. I hate traffic.