By Daniel Paiz
Views from the crowd has often been a sports-related piece, but this time everybody is getting concert going tips from this frequent concert goer. Honestly, I can’t review this concert as well as I did the album review. Because I’ve now witnessed J Cole five times in concert, it doesn’t feel right to really review the show itself. Instead, here’s what to do in order to maximize your concert going experience like I did at Cole’s The Offseason Tour.
Making the decision to go solo
Insecurity is something we all deal with at one time or another. Some of us won’t eat dinner alone or go to a concert alone. That got me thinking after experiencing a superb concert courtesy of J Cole and others, alone.
If you didn’t concern yourself with how family disliked your tattoo, didn’t want you to color your hair, or couldn’t stand your significant other, answer this: why in the entire galaxy do you care what strangers you don’t know think? That isn’t rhetorical. Believe it or not, attending something such as a concert solo is one of the most liberating things on the planet.
Yes, if you are a man or appear to resemble societal expectations of what a man is, you have less to worry about. Safety is an absolutely valid point. However, there are alternatives to my method of transportation. People will say they want to grow, to challenge their comfort zones. Uncomfortable new methods are how that happens. Let’s start the journey.
Getting to the venue
My preferred method of getting to concerts might be cumbersome to those not used to it. I take public transportation from my part of North Denver when heading to concert venues around the Denver area. It does require me to get there earlier, but that helps with the next section of acquiring merch, food, etc. It only costs around $6 round trip IF you can catch the bus home after the concert. If the show goes late, you might be stuck with a rideshare solution (which is also a safety option when it comes to avoiding public transportation if you’re uncomfortable or feel unsafe doing so). The best part of these options is, you don’t have to worry about finding parking, and if you drink too much you don’t have to worry about coming to get your car later after taking rideshare home.
Acquiring Merch, food, drinks, etc.
Showing up early is a great way to grab that tour exclusive merch you were hoping to grab when booking tickets. Grabbing merch before the show starts or right when the opener begins will massively cut down on lines. Same can be said for getting food, drinks, and that all important bathroom break. Bathroom breaks should also be done prior to whoever it is you’re most amped to see. The bigger the venue, the smarter it is to do things earlier.
Oftentimes people go between acts, and that’s when everybody else is doing so: AVOID doing that. Also waiting to get merch during the headliner or after the show is asking to wait way longer than you would’ve earlier. Choose wisely if you want to stand more after (potentially) standing all night for the entertainment.
When to take pics/videos
Every. Single. Person. Takes pictures or video as their favorite act starts their set. If you want to avoid a bunch of cameras in your photos or videos, avoid that at all costs. Take pictures on a song that’s not the most well-known or wait until maybe halfway through the set. Some people want to fully immerse themselves in the artist’s sets for the night, and that’s another way to avoid worrying about this at all.
To be fair, unless you’re in the front row, or close to the stage, or elevated above the crowd, your pictures likely won’t turn out as well as you think/hope (see my two photos in this article versus the venue’s one photo below). This isn’t to dissuade you from trying, but more so speaking from experience. With J Cole’s headlining set, I basically waited till a song I really liked came on, or when he played a deep cut I had never heard before. For a stadium show like this The Offseason tour stop was, getting footage of the opening acts (Morray, 21 Savage) didn’t really allow for following these rules. Both guys had sets that were less than 45 minutes.
It really depends on what size of venue you’re going to be attending when it comes to planning things out. It’s not that there are subtle differences between a large venue like Ball Arena (home of the Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, and Colorado Mammoth) and a traditional venue like Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom. It’s more about the number of people that you’ll have to navigate around when it comes to merch, food/drink, bathrooms, etc. The bigger the venue, the more people, but the smaller the venue the less space to navigate.
Your preference likely helps determine where you go, because 2,000 people packed in feels a lot more crowded than 19,000 in a sports arena for me. Also, back to the safety and comfort thing, that can clearly dictate where you go as well. All venues have security and staff patrolling the venue and spaces checking for stuff that might cause issues. Staff are also usually ready to help if a bad situation is starting to happen. For Ball Arena, the venue is jam packed with staff at entry points, but less so in the seating areas. That’s when concert goers need to watch out for one another a bit more; taking a small step can help prevent a big issue later.
The last piece of advice I have is to have fun. Sometimes events are stressful, so remember why you wanted to go in the first place. All of this is how I’ve been able to maximize my enjoyment, and if you go to a lot of shows you likely have your own guidelines as well. If you’re new to concerts or just need a refresher on what to do, hopefully this provided some helpful things to remember.
PC: Daniel Paiz