The Concert Shirt Rule

There’s an unofficial but fairly well-known rule about attending concerts.  Wait, you can’t call them concerts.  That’s another rule I learned recently.  Let’s start over.

There’s an unofficial but fairly well-known rule about attending gigs.  Nah, that just sounds weird, like I’m trying too hard to sound hip.  I need a different word.

There’s an unofficial but fairly well-known rule about attending shows (I think that works).  You are not supposed to wear a shirt of the band you are seeing.  Apparently, this makes you a total dork.  Well, you already are a dork, and wearing a U2 shirt to a U2 show just lets everybody know that immediately.

I’ve seen many fans keep this rule in mind.  They look for loopholes, like wearing a White Stripes show to a Jack White show.  Different band, doesn’t count!   It’s okay! They roll their eyes at the people who are not only wearing a Wilco shirt at a Wilco show, but they JUST BOUGHT the shirt at the merch stand and put it on immediately.   The guy who goes to a Rolling Stones show and is wearing a Rolling Stones shirt from a tour 20 years ago is trying too hard.

Why is there such disdain over enthusiasm?

The main argument I hear is that if you are at a show, it’s obvious you are a fan, so wearing a shirt of who you are seeing is overkill.  First off, that isn't true.  You can ask my sister, who was forced by our parents to go see my precious U2 when we were in high school (borderline child abuse, some would say).  She took the "sullen teenager" thing to a whole new level that night.

But let's accept that argument.  I suppose that means we should roll our eyes at the lady who wears red on Valentine’s Day, the guy who wears a festive sweater to a Christmas party, the veterinary tech who is wearing scrubs with cats and dogs on them, the college student who wears their school’s sweatshirt on campus.

They are happy and enjoying life.

What is so bad about some passion and excitement?  Some people might deem the concert (I’m calling them concerts, I don’t care) shirt rule as a hipster thing.  But this rule goes beyond the hipster crowd and has infiltrated even the kind and otherwise non-judgmental.  This is basically Grinch territory.  

As long as it’s not a top hat that is blocking your view, it should be of no concern to you what someone is wearing at a concert.  And if you want to wear a Weird Al shirt to a Weird Al concert, you go for it (also, please invite me).  

Don’t feel guilty about excitement.  Don’t apologize for passion.  I mean, assuming that your passion isn’t drop-kicking sacks of kittens.  

Look, if you aren’t hurting anyone, just live your life and do what makes you happy.  This concert shirt rule is ridiculous.  It’s like searching for for something to pick on, like telling someone that their follicles are spaced too closely together or that they have wide thumbs.  What?  That makes no sense!  Who cares? 

Precisely.