I don’t know what to expect as I step into the arena. I’ve never been to a concert before, and so I don’t even know what sort of set-up is ideal for it. Will there be chairs there? Will my giant bag that I brought over from class be a bother? Will the fact that I’m running a little late (again, from class) result in my being locked out?
It doesn’t matter, though: three years ago, I wrote ‘attend a concert’ on my bucket list, and so gosh darnit, I’m going to do my best to attend this concert, even if I am only familiar with one of the acts.
The first thing that I’m met with is a startling amount of security. One guy ushers me over and gestures for me to do something, but I’m not really sure what. “What do you want?” I ask, but he’s wearing neon green earplugs, which I speculate about as he makes it clear that he wants to search my bag.
Why does he need earplugs?
I’m sure he’d like to hear the music too.
Is he not allowed to hear the music?
Am I in some dystopian universe where the lowly servants are barred from hearing music?
If he hears music, will he break free of his mortal shell or something?
Before I can speculate too much, the security guy waves me along, and I find myself in a dark room filled by two things: a stage and people. So many people. Dancing people, chatting people, groups of people, lonely singular people, short people, far-too-tall-to-be-watching-any-event people. They’re everywhere, and I join them timidly. The familiar, human stench of sweat and bad breath surrounds me, and rogue hands smash into me as their owners get a bit too enthusiastic about what they’re saying. I love it. I love being with them, being part of them. This is what I came here for.
The first act is already performing by the time I get there, and I like him alright. His music is pleasant and he seems nice, but I’ve already missed a good chunk of his set, and he’s gone much too soon, leaving room for transition.
So. Much. God. Damn. Transition.
By the time that the second act appears on stage, I’m not sure if the audience is applauding her arrival, or the end of the transition.
Yet, I enjoy her performance. Perhaps not her music so much, which is okay, but it’s really her that fascinates me. I must look like the most intense, most creepy fan in attendance, because I cannot take my eyes off her, cursing people when their heads get in my way and forcing me to wander amongst the crowd until I can find a place to continue my watch.
All through her performance, she never stops moving. Even while she’s playing the guitar, she’s swaying or dancing or nodding, moving as though she feels the music, as though the music has come inside of her, possessing her, becoming her. You can tell that she loves what she is doing, that she lives for this moment that she is on stage. She makes me understand what it is about artists that people find so romantic – it’s the passion. It’s the way that their eyes light up when they’re in the presence of their craft. It’s the way that they give themselves to it so completely. Watching her, I fall a little bit in love with her, and with any person who surrender themselves to such passions.
But then, she is gone, and there is only one act left.
Just on the other side of this transition.
This long, long, mind-numbingly long transition.
But this is the act that I came here for, and so I try to tell myself that my lower back doesn’t ache, and that my knees will bend again someday after standing in place for so long. No, I just have to tough it out. I have to see this last act.
And then, she comes out. And it’s wonderful.
All night, the music has been loud, vibrating through my entire form, through my chest and my heart, but this time I feel it. I close my eyes and I drink it in, enjoying it from head to toe. She sounds just the way that I expected her to, and yet somehow better. Maybe it’s because I’m here with her, and she’s singing to me – to all of us. She’s not just a voice on my computer, but a person. An artist.
When the concert ends, and I step out into the night, I find myself tired but warm, happy. It’s been a good night, and I’m glad that my bucket list convinced me to go out and do this.