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5h Show Survival Guide

For many people, the PJ shows this summer are their first time going to a show... others just haven't been to many shows and have asked our advice for what to bring, what time to get there, etc. Here's our ideas and tips and suggestions....

before the show

eat something: yes, we know, you're so excited you can't think about food. but food at venues is of dubious quality and EXPENSIVE. if you don't want to eat dinner, try to eat a big lunch and take a snack of some sort with you to eat on the way - fruit, a powerbar (caryn especially likes those for show snacks), granola bars, etc. venues who say "no food" will probably overlook or allow small snack foods like these.

water: some venues will let you bring in bottles of mineral water if they have not been opened. others won't. you can try calling the venue and asking them, or you can just bring the water with and see what happens; some places will make you pour the water out, but let you take the bottle in and fill it up inside. DO stay hydrated, especially if it's an outdoor show. but, staying hydrated does NOT mean getting drunk. sure, a beer or two is fine, but getting smashed and missing the show, or getting sick, or having to run to the bathroom all night is not why you are going to see pj, right?

directions: write them down if you don't know where the venue is (check going mobile if you need help!). check on traffic, and leave in plenty of time -- summertime means major road construction, and that half-hour drive will definitely be an hour with show traffic, add some construction and you could take 2 hours or more to get there.

what time to arrive?: the time written on your ticket is the time that the show starts; check with the venue as to how early the parking lots and doors will open. better to get there early and spend time sitting and talking with your friends than missing the show because you're stuck in traffic. also, you could be lucky and your show could be the one ed comes out early, acoustic guitar in hand! one of the wonders of reserved seating is that you can arrive close to showtime and not be stuck in the back, but we still like to get there early.

soundchecks: lots of people are writing to us about how to get into soundchecks. venues usually do not permit the general public into soundchecks (or everyone would show up!). people who have gotten into pj soundchecks have either known someone on the inside, heard it from the outside (for outdoor venues), or have been creative. if you do manage to get in somehow, be very cool; don't take pictures, don't make noise, sit and make yourself as small and quiet and unobtrusive as possible.
stuff to bring: some people try to bring as little as possible to a show, feeling that backpacks will just be a pain in the butt. others (and we're in that camp) don't mind toting a bag. with most of the shows this summer being reserved seating, you can bring a bag, put it under your chair during the show, and not worry about losing it. a backpack is REALLY handy to put the tshirts and other pj stuff you buy at the show into, not to mention for the other possibly helpful things: at the show:

buying merchandise: another reason to get to the show early is that it will give you time to wait on line at the merchandise stand and get your pick of tshirts, caps, posters and other pj stuff. in the past, pj have set up merchandise stands outside the venues - this is another great reason to get to the venue early. you can buy your stuff and take it back to your car! don't wait until after the show; they can and have run out.

pick a meeting spot: when you get there with your friends, look around for something permanent/stationary (trees, phone booths, big signs are good examples) and tell everyone that if you get separated, you will meet there after the show. you can also use the car you came in as a meeting spot.

"where the hell did we park??": make sure that when you arrive, you pick some landmarks that are going to help you find your car later. don't think, "well, i'm parked next to a red jeep" because that red jeep may not be there when you come out. this is another reason to get there early! make sure that everyone in your group also can find the car on their own.

girls, the first thing you do when you get to the venue is hit the ladies' room. i don't care if you don't have to go - you will later when the lines are around the block. =)

and finally....
stop the madness: if the show is GA, there's no point in us trying to say, "don't beat the shit out of the people around you," because mindless idiots think it's cool to mosh. but if a show is reserved seating, and people are trying to crowd into your seats down front, it is up to all of us as fans to not let this happen. at a show in 96, which was reserved seating, a group of big guys decided they were going to rush the front "because it's pearl jam and we gotta MOSH, man". Fans in the audience alerted security and the individuals in question were escorted back to their seats.

Be sure to check out our Road Trip Survival Guide and Tour/Ticket FAQ

some of the info in this guide was inspired by a similar article by Jessica Letkemann in her awesome PJ print fanzine, "tickle my nausea". If you're interested in this cool 'zine, you can contact Jessica at Thanks, Jessica!