My mom and I attend a lot of concerts. You might say we’re seasoned professionals at this point. We understand how they work, the atmosphere, and how loud the volume can get. We typically go to rock concerts, so yeah, things get loud. And we absolutely love that. There’s something about music reaching you to your bones and literally shaking all of the worries out of your system.
That being said, recently, we attended a concert together as we usually do. We were a tad apprehensive because three years ago we’d seen the same band live and being that they had many teenage fans, we couldn’t hear them perform over the screams. Not the greatest experience by any stretch, but we stuck it out because I really loved this band. However, this was a different venue and several years forward and we thought we’d give them another go. We enjoy their music and love concerts, so why not, right?
During the opening act, people were very loud but we could still hear the performance, so we were cautiously optimistic. However, once the headlining band came on, the intense and incessant screaming began. I don’t mean cheering; this was full-on, near blood-curdling screaming. The girl next to me sounded like she was in a horror movie, I kid you not. Luckily we could hear the music this time, but in almost no time at all we were both already getting a headache due to this screaming that never seemed to end. The endurance of these people’s lungs are impressive, I have to give them that. However, we lasted less than a half hour in our seats.
Long story short, we ended up doing laps in the hallway around the arena trying to listen from outside. It was slightly better but still eat-piercing nonetheless. Probably forty-five minutes to an hour into the set, we just left. We both had work the next day and the experience we were having simply wasn’t worth losing the sleep and acquiring a head-pounding headache. It was very disappointing, but definitely the right choice for us.
My point in documenting this let-down of an experience in a blog post is not to say anything against this band, but to express that the entire sense of concert etiquette seems to have been lost among my generation. The girl next to me was well into the space of my seat, and she kept whipping her hair around to the point that it kept hitting me. And people were shouting the lyrics so loudly around us that I could hear them right alongside the band… but you see, I didn’t come to the show to hear the fellow concert-goers. Now, I realize that this sounds knit-picky and like I’m complaining. To some degree, I am, and I can’t deny that. But I don’t think it’s without good reason.
We typically go to more adult-geared shows where people are respectful and aware of the people around them. It becomes a concert experience with the people around you instead of in spite of them. I’ve met a lot of wonderful people at concerts I’ve gone to who have truly made the concert even better as a memory. It’s a whole experience. There is a level of understanding that you respect the other people at the show so that everyone can have the best experience possible. Sadly, that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore among this generation.
To me at least, live music has something magical about it. It reaches you in a different way, and provides an escape that is indescribable. Concerts ARE about singing alone, but not to the point that you can’t even hear the band yourself over your own screaming. They’re about letting go and feeling the music, but not at the expense of those around you who paid just as much to be there. Let’s respect an atmosphere in live music that fosters a great experience for everyone.
All of this to say, I’d like to see concert etiquette come back in full force. Let’s support the concert experience of those around us while elevating our own at the same time. It’s very possible, and a truly beautiful experience that goes far beyond fangirling. Something to think about next time you’re catching your next live show.