By Ashley Aron

At a concert of any genre, there are bound to be epic moments that are the highlights of your night, but there’s a chance they’ll be paired with total bummers that ruin the entire evening. This could depend on the venue, the band, the city, or even the people you carefully select as your concert entourage. But there are definitely some commonalities no matter where you are, and here they are, in no particular order:

THE WORST

1. Missing an opening band you were dying to see

While the headlining band is the artist who’s usually drawing in the big numbers, the opening bands are handpicked to complement ticket sales by attracting some overlapping audiences. There are certainly times I’ve gone to a show just to see one of the supporting acts, especially if it’s a local show with a cheap ticket. Walking into the venue and hearing said supporting act just finished up is a cause for heartache, but be sure to stick around. The openers are always more likely to hang around at the merch table after their set because they want to expand their fan base on the coattails of their headlining buddies.

2. Injuring yourself badly enough to send you to the sidelines

There’s no way to avoid getting pushed and shoved around in a mosh pit or the total compression of the crowd right before the opening band takes the stage. Bruises, scrapes, and loss of voice are imminent. But hell, these are half the point. All these are tolerable injuries; it’s the concussions that cause you to pass out (true story) or the sprained ankles that are the culprits of a night spent sitting at the bar nursing your wounds. Your battle scars may be impressive the next day, but at the price of you losing your prime spot in the center of the crowd? Not so much.

3. Getting excited to meet a band member and he/she is a total asshole

There is nothing more grueling than tour life. Showers are few and far between, there’s zero privacy in a van that will more than likely break down, the weather can be unpredictable, cell phone service and Internet are barely obtainable, and you probably won’t eat a fresh vegetable until you get home. If that band member you were so stoked to meet after years of listening to his/her band for ages is a little grouchy, I can understand that. They’ve been answering the same stupid questions for weeks or are bombarded for free merch, and the likelihood that they’ve slept more than four hours in the past few days isn’t very high. But when they ignore your request for a picture or rudely brush away the CD you just bought to get autographed, it’s kind of a slap in the face. While you are primarily a fan of their music and not them as actual people, it still is a harsh reality check that some performers are divas and that’s just the way it is.

THE BEST

1. Finding the sweet, sweet barricade

That coveted spot in the center of the very front row, where you cling to the flimsy metal fence that feels as if it will buckle under the pressure of an entire crowd behind you – it’s basically the throne of the concert kingdom. You are leading these people to the glory that is a music-filled evening, and nobody will block your view. It’s also prime location for guitar picks, set lists, or drumsticks tossed into the crowd at the end of the show.

2. Meeting a band member who’s just plain awesome

The opposite of the previous list’s No. 3; sometimes you’ll wait to shyly approach a band member and he or she will greet you with a handshake and engage in a polite conversation, letting you tell the story of your middle school garage band that covered their songs at the talent show. And that’s fine. But when they are genuinely appreciative of your buying their merch and supporting their music by coming to their show, they give you a warm fuzzy feeling that rivals that of Christmas morning or your first day of summer vacation.

3. Making friends in the audience

Talking directly to band members is what a lot of concert-goers strive for, but sometimes it’s the girl behind you in line with whom you strike up a conversation or the guy who compliments your random obscure band shirt that turns out to be the coolest person you meet all evening. You clearly have something in common with everyone in the venue that night, so finding total strangers who end up being your new friends by the time the opener’s set ends elevates that to a whole new level. Plus, now you have new comrades to go to shows with – always a win-win!