Before reading please note the following:
This IS NOT an exhaustive list / This IS completely subjective / This IS filled with lots of stereotypes / This MAY be bollocks
1) THE OBSESSIVE: Usually teenage girls (but not always). Every teenager wants to belong. Teen Idols can fill a void and the teen crush has been around since Elvis first swivelled his hips. Times have changed though. Live music is bigger than ever, tours go on longer, play in larger venues and are getting more and more expensive. Seeing the Bay City Rollers in the '70s was a lot less expensive than following One Direction in 2015.
You will know an obsessive fan at a gig as they are extremely organised. They will queue very early, even overnight, bringing tents, chairs, food, drink and anything else to make their stay more comfortable. Also, and rather scarily, they will know where an artist is staying in town and share that information all over the forums. Indeed the obsessive fan now has extra outlets to show off their obsessiveness. Social media in all its forms allows for interactions with the fellow fan (see #Beliebers or #Directioners) and also allows for the organising of meet ups, band sightings and the sharing of endless pictures.
2) THE MUSIC GEEK: Older than the obsessive fan and wiser (at least they think they are), almost certainly proud of their geekness. Hugely anal and like to arrive early on the day of the gig but not as early as others.
Unlikely to queue overnight or even very early. In fact they will chuckle knowingly to themselves at the sight of the young people queuing up for a gig. Instead they will probably go for a pint whilst shaking their heads at the absurdity of youth. They may be alone or with a fellow music geek. If the latter then topics of conversation will include their record collection (gotta be vinyl), how many gigs they have been to in their life and which ticket stubs they didn't manage to keep.
During the gig they will know the set list yet still complain that the band didn't play insert any little known b side here. In truth they can be annoying 'know it alls'. If at a show, and you don't know a particular song, try not to voice this fact out loud as you may be near a music nerd...if you see someone tutting in your direction and shaking their head then yep that's one.
3) THE GROUPIE: Do groupies still exist? I guess they do. They aren't really the same these days though. You got proper groupies in the sixties and seventies. They were the ones that followed bands around and were available for sex on cue. None of this PC shit. Steven Tyler said that when Aerosmith were touring back in the day they used to not have sex a week or so before they went back home so that their testicles would be full again. As a result their girlfriends wouldn't be suspicious. As a man who has huge respect for women and is glad that sexual equality is improving all the time I think Tyler’s comments and behaviour is atrocious. As a man who loves rock stars and wants to be like them I obviously think Tyler is an utter legend.
Groupies traditionally always hung about backstage and were not always so worried about the concert itself. Nowadays getting backstage can be pretty difficult. Only competition winners, stalkers, band member’s family and President Clinton seem to make it for the big tours…and Bono. Never forget about Bono. Groupies will be scantily clad, will have lost their virginity a long time ago and will mention that fact a lot. They are more than likely going to give their number to a security guard in the hope that it will be passed on to the band. You may see them later having sex backstage…most likely with the security guy.
4) THE ROCKER: Usually male. These guys rock and should be admired. They love what they love and show it off the best way they know how...which is usually through their choice of clothing. Probably wearing a denim jacket or worse a denim waistcoat. Almost certainly will have patches of their favourite bands (particularly Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Slayer, Motorhead and Metallica) embroidered into said jacket.
Will probably be middle aged and may well have a beer belly. Potentially bald or balding. May have long hair at the sides...but bald on top. Often not pretty.
What they may lack in style they make up for in personality. They just love rock. Oddly though they may not always be looking in the direction of the stage. Not that they are bored, quite the opposite, they will love the music being played. They just want to share their enthusiasm with those around them. This enthusiasm can show itself in different ways but often involves the use of the devils sign and yelling...lots of yelling.
Generally good humoured...although whatever you do don't spill their pint....that belly doesn't top up itself. Not that they will do anything if you did spill their drink. They may think of themselves as being Hells Angels but are usually closer in spirit to the Pink Ladies.
Unlike the Music Geeks they will chat to anyone whether you want them to or not.
Do they ever love a good rock festival.
5) THE DRUNK / THE STONER: I am partial to a pint of Guinness and have been known to drink too much from time to time…but never, ever, at a gig. I have never understood the ‘drinking heavily at an event that I have paid to go and see’ attitude (Except the Darts. Fuck me I was hammered when I went there…). Getting drunk and then missing the entire show just doesn't seem very clever to me. Ditto Stoners although at least they are a happier bunch. You can spot drunks at gigs because they will usually be males of any age and at some point may start urinating against your leg. Women love a drink as well of course but they normally handle it so much better...except for those that are passed out in a heap with a friend next to them crying.
Stoners generally face the wrong way and like dancing to the music...often not the music that is currently being played. They may accidental knock into you but will at least be nice about it. Drunk fucks will more than likely have barged past you at some point at a concert knocking you to the side. They could be staring at you, trying to focus their eyes but failing miserably. Some nationalities seem more prone to drunkenness. Unfortunately the English are up there with the worst although when living in Dublin there was a high proportion of pissed Northern Irish accents (causal racism at its best…).
6) THE OCCASIONAL GIG GOER: These guys don't go to many gigs however they like music and like an occasional concert ...usually by Phil Collins or Annie Lennox. They may go to one show a year and will generally let everyone know all about it. You can spot these guys as they will arrive just in time for the start of the concert or more often miss the very start (to be fair that pre-concert dinner needed eating up). They probably won’t buy too many records (Except Sting's Greatest Hits for the sixth time) and when attending gigs they won’t be too bothered about popping out to the toilet during the newer songs.
Whilst coming out of the toilets they will head to the bat and pick up a round of drinks. During the gig they will use their camera phone during every song including selfies with their back to the stage. Alas they are not alone in this. Most annoying of all they are the most likely to leave before the end so as to avoid the traffic. Well done. You must be so proud to have missed the last song or two. I mean who cares if those songs are usually the most famous by an artist...at least you got home ten minutes earlier.
7) THE 'LIVE MUSIC SUCKS' DUDE: Why do people who have little interest in going to gigs...go to gigs? These concert goers really have very little interest yet they find themselves at a show every few years. Maybe they are there because they won a ticket in a competition, or they got one given as a present, or they thought it would be a good idea to go along because they quite liked that song they heard on the radio in 1995.
You can definitely spot a ‘Live Music Sucks’ Dude because they will think going to gigs is a waste of time and they would much rather listen to a CD at home. I mean what's the difference? They will usually be found stood towards the back of the gig...usually near the bar. They will be hammered. They may know one big song (think Livin' on a Prayer at a Bon Jovi gig) . It is when this song is played that they will force their way forward knocking people over as they go. During every other song they will talk loudly...especially during the acoustic songs. Oddly they will be the most likely to complain about the price of the merchandise...yet still buy something. Really not sure why.
8) THE CORPORATE WANKER: You may think that the lowest of the low are the drunks or the dudes what hate gigs...but there is nothing worse than the 'Corporate Wanker'. These ‘Free Ticket Joes’ get given free tickets to concerts and usually stand at the bar getting drunk on free drinks, taking their seat (which is probably the best seat in the venue) when the gig is already well under way.
You can usually spot CW’s as they will talk loudly at all times and barely look at the stage. They will go wild when one of the two songs they know are played but often start singing the words to the wrong song…probably by a different artist. Almost certainly will be the ones who will be the most likely to criticise the gig. Hate these guys. Part of me feels sorry for them as they can't help being wankers. Actually scrap that. They can help it. Not only are they wankers but disgusting parasites who shouldn't be let anywhere near a gig...especially ones that I can't get tickets for.
Recognise yourself in the above list? You may or you may not. Some people are a mix of course. One of my sister in laws often gets free tickets to gigs but I would never call her a Corporate Wanker….well not to her face.