Follow up: tickets to rock gigs

I’ve had cause to think about the issue of what is reasonable conduct at various events again recently.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to see Iron Maiden at Rod Laver Arena. Once again, I was in the reserved seats area. And once again, no one around me stood up.

This time, I was in a position where I had a pretty good view of the rest of the arena, and could see that there were areas where people were standing in reserved seats. Also, before the event started, I spoke with Rod Laver staff about my experiences at Black Sabbath and what their stance was about the whole business. I got a fairly non-committal response, but the guy did say “it is disappointing when your concert experience is nearly ruined by others.” (It wasn’t clear if he meant I was ruining the experience or others ruined mine…)

This time, I was having issues with my ankles and frankly just couldn’t be bothered wasting time trying to buck the trend, so I remain seated (fuming about it inside) and enjoyed Maiden. Afterwards, I posted a question in /r/melbourne asking for others’ experiences, as well as posing the question on twitter: when did it become OK to sit down for rock concerts?

I got a variety of feedback, from those who agreed with me, to those who strongly disagreed with me, to your typical rude redditor who can’t engage in thoughtful discussion.

Amongst the more thoughtful responses were:

If you don’t want to sit down, buy a GA ticket. Some gigs I want to sit down, because I’m an crotchety old fart and I get tired. (Fair enough probably not at a rock gig though and I’d just stick it out for the glory of rock and roll)

if it’s at one of those big venues, sitting down is the norm. if you want to stand up and rock out get GA. you can’t really get pissy for people for sitting at a sit down venue, or judge what bands should be seen standing up. personally i find sitting in allocated tennis seats for a big show absurd but them’s the breaks with big name bands that play those venues.

It’s great that you’re able to stand up for the entire length of a rock concert, but not everybody is able to do that. I can easily see how there would be a lot of people there going for nostalgia who didn’t have the energy to stand and “rock out” for the entire concert like they would’ve done in the ’70s, but still wanted to see the band play anyway. And I can easily see how they would be annoyed if someone was standing/dancing and blocking their view and calling them “fucking idiots” for complaining about it.

Spinal injury kept me sitting. There was a pregnant woman in the row in front of me, she seemed grateful to sit too. I didn’t care that other people were up and about, but I can understand why someone might need to sit down (and still want to see the awesomeness!).

I remember a year ago I was looking at some Eagles ticket as a gift for somebody and I was shocked to see – not only were they like $600 – they had some weird clause at their shows where they wanted crowds to sit and not use their phones. The phone thing I could get, the sitting down seemed strange.  Maybe it was the same with Maiden and Sabbath, although. I don’t know why people en masse would sit for a rock concert unless they were told to though. Seems odd.

Those that want to sit and get annoyed at others that are standing should probably stay home and watch the concert on DVD on their comfy little couches

I know right? But I think it depends on the crowd. I went to see Metallica and it was AMAZING. The crowd was AMAZING. Everyone was really into it, dancing, sitting, waving and having a great time. Went to another rock/pop concert and I felt like I was sitting in church. It was awkward as hell. So, from now on I try to get back row seats if I’m sitting so I can rock away without annoying anyone behind me or try to get into GA if it’s available. 

My bro works at Rod Laver, does some ushering for extra coin. Apparently the rule re crowds is… If less than half the crowd is standing and you’re stood up, blocking someone’s view and they complain… He has to tell you to sit down. If more than half the crowd is standing, you’re golden.

I see your point. Although it isn’t strictly enforced, it seems there’s just an unwritten understanding that the seating area is going to side one way or the other.

I don’t think you can know ahead of time, I saw Interpol from the seating and people stood for that. I don’t think they have a song over 100bpm. From here on out, my guess is probably to assume the side of “please sit down, I can’t see Bruce Dickinson crawling across the monitors”.

So it seems that I’m not alone in finding it annoying that people expect to sit down at a rock gig, but not everyone supports my view that people who want to sit down should be prioritised over those who want to stand. 

Which is fair enough. The points raised are good ones. The big thing that came out of the discussion was this problem of how do you know ahead of time when you’re buying your ticket if the seated area will be one of those that stands or one that sits? This is my main beef with the whole thing. I’d love to see some clarity from ticketing agents that standing is OK in X reserved areas, but not in Y reserved areas. Make it easier for people to be able to purchase tickets without guesswork and hoping.

Any suggestions on how to make that suggestion heard? Leave me a comment.


PS. Maiden were amazing. Definitely one of, if not THE greatest live bands of all time 🙂


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