I have only been to four concert shows in my life, but I wish there could've been more.
Entertainment is a large part of modern society, especially with all the television series, movie releases, and music artists promoting their artistic material. Popular culture is awash with nuances and trends that emerge from these different sources, and I admit that I can no longer keep up. This seems strange, being that I am a 2000s kid supposedly in tune with modern social topics.
As time goes on, I'm able to gain some solace from this internal paradox of myself by attending concert tours by internationally-famous artists. You see, for a long time, I was indifferent to such gatherings and never wanted to follow related news. But when you go to your first concert, you'll understand the emotions I felt, which have continued for each of my shows.
The exact emotions are hard to pinpoint, but it's some combination of adrenaline, exhilaration, and effervescent joy. Your heart beats along with the thousands of other people in the sweeping venues. You can feel the energy emanating from the stage, the singers and instrumentalists playing music to share their passion with the audience, their dance moves impeccable. I'll summarize with a highly relatable and sentimental quote from Stephen Chbosky's 2012 novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower: "And in that moment, I swear we were infinite".
My four concerts span four years and varying genres. From an excited eighth-grader at country/pop superstar Taylor Swift's Red Tour in 2014 to a slightly older senior at pop rock band Fall Out Boy's M A N I A Tour this year, my experience of concerts has not only instilled in me a love for live music, but also a love for music in general. For me, music is a perfect escape from the negativity on my mind. For me, music supplements positivity. By saving myself and many others in our worst times and pumping us up at the best moments, music creates happiness.
However, the harsh truth of achieving this happiness is costly and increasingly inaccessible. Concert ticket prices are skyrocketing every year and touring season. An article by the Fader, "average ticket prices overall increased by 20% between 2010 and 2015". According to a list of 2016's most expensive tours on Business Insider, the bottom range for an average ticket was about $80 for a Blink-182 show, with the highest being Adele at $500. Differences among ticket pricing between cities and even within geographical regions in the US have also been studied by Wanderu. For example, a typical ticket could cost $100 in New York City, but you could go to Buffalo for $30+ cheaper. This may seem like a great bargain, but not everyone has the means or time to travel the distance. Another angle on the inaccessibility of concerts/live music regards deaf and disabled people. These audience members have difficulty even buying tickets, finding limited options and a lack of customer service more often than not (Telegraph).
Despite these difficulties, people still flock to these high-caliber performances. Pollstar's 2017 report of the Top 100 Tours includes ticket sales ranging from 300,000 to close to 3 billion.
While some critics question the authenticity of music acts catering to profits and commercial success, I dare to argue that this continued success is not because of a switch in musical style or simple experimentation. I believe it is because these musicians have dedicated fans and listeners who enjoy their music, and would gladly like to hear them in person at a live music show. If people continue to attend their performances for this reason, why should they be condemned and attacked verbally on YouTube comments/videos for business/strategical choices?
Criticism aside, I plan on continuing to seek out opportunities to listen to my favorite music artists as I enter college in the fall – whether it be the concerts I have grown to love or the music festivals I have yet to explore. In addition to keeping my own promise, I strongly encourage all of you, Odyssey readers, to try a taste of these live entertainment experiences. While they might not seem like a lot to feel influenced by, concerts and festivals are two moments in one's life that ought to be attempted at least once. The sense of unity, togetherness, and community as one audience is unmatched. I hope that someday, we are all able to say we have experienced this "infinity".