Rules of general admission

Amy Brown

Amy BrownETC Editor

Show: Synonymous with concert. A public exhibition or entertainment.

General Admission: Standing room only. No assigned seating.

After attending several general admission concerts, you start to notice a few things. If you have been to a few in the past, you can quickly identify people who are new at it. Much like a college sophomore, junior or senior can quickly identify a new freshman girl in the first week of the fall semester. (Obvious keys are the lost look on one’s face, the unsure steps, or perhaps the large, bright, shiny metallic purse that may be slung over her shoulder.)

There are guidelines, though, that concertgoers can follow. Sadly, many girls don’t observe these rules, which can lead to states of drunkenness, confusion, inconvenience or sore feet.

1. Do not wear flip-flops. Even if it is 95 degrees in July in Omaha, Neb., DON’T do it. You’ll regret it later, when the 6-foot-2 guy in front of you steps on your bare toes.

2. Do not wear high heels to go stand for five hours at a general admission show.

3. Do not bring a huge purse. All you need is cash, your ticket, and your ID – most of which should fit in a pocket. The ID is a must for those of us who are 21. And maybe your cell phone to call the paramedics, if the occasion arises. Or if you want to attempt to take a dark, unfocused, low-quality photo of the band you’re seeing.

Another item to consider leaving in the trunk of the car: your jacket, which is generally a bad idea at general admission shows. You can probably walk the two or three blocks without a coat in the winter, even in Minneapolis, instead of holding it over your arm for the next three or four hours.

4. Consider the benefits and risks of bodysurfing. If you’re a guy, the worst thing that can happen is getting dropped. For girls, you risk getting groped, getting dropped and maybe losing one (or both) of your shoes.

5. Do not talk the entire time a band is playing, even if they’re the opening act for the band you really bought the ticket to see. (I spent my $26 to see the show, what did you come for?) And occasionally, the opening band is actually pretty good.

6. When buying merchandise, know your size. Chances are the merch booth won’t have your size by the end of the show, especially if you want a girl’s small fitted t-shirt. If the booth doesn’t, you can usually try the online store and avoid the line.

7. Be somewhat sober. At least sober enough to remember the show. Besides, drinks usually aren’t cheap. Your friends will probably not be very happy if they have to take care of you while you’re passed out in the bathroom instead of seeing one of their favorite bands play. If one of your friends has had way too much too drink, check on him and make sure he’s OK. (This is the point in the evening that the cell phone could be used to call the paramedics.)

8. Have realistic expectations about the commute. If you drive to Minneapolis or Omaha from Brookings, think about the drive back. Four hours from Omaha northbound on I-29 is not an exciting drive, especially at 2 a.m. Cornfields, small towns, cornfields, Sioux City, Sioux Falls and more cornfields.

Perhaps have a backup plan if no one is awake enough to drive back to Brookings that night. Consider staying at a friend’s apartment or getting a hotel room for the night, if you can afford it.

And one final note. If you and your friends are all 21 (and plan on having a drink or two or three during the night) seriously consider getting tickets for the 21-and-over shows. It is generally a wise decision and usually a more laid-back audience. That way you can avoid any feelings of “being old” because you’re having a beer while standing next to a 15-year-old high-school sophomore.

#1.884443:1000764594.jpg:Alicia Brown.jpg:Ali Brown, Columnist: