Every culture has some form of music. For those of Western culture, the type of music we listen to is often a big part of who we are, sometimes even defining our friend groups and clothing style. Some of us like country, some like rap, some like classical. Regardless of someone's favorite genre, it is always a little magical to get to see a band live.
This past week I attended the Taste of Chaos tour, where Dashboard Confessional and Taking Back Sunday headlined. One of the opening bands was Saosin, and lead singer Anthony Green made a statement between songs that kept me thinking. He said that we all have our stories and our reasons why we came to that concert, but the one thing we had in common was that we came for live music.
After his band went off and the crew prepared the stage for the next headlining act, I really thought about what he said. I looked around at all the other people who were there at that concert with me, and I wondered what their stories were. There was a couple with a child who couldn't have been more than 3 or 4 years old. A girl with blue hair stood in front of me, and I never saw her talk to anyone, so I assumed she came alone. There was a group not far from me that had tried to form a mosh put during Saosin's set, but hadn't really succeeded.
Something I try to remember in my daily life is that everyone around us has a story we don't know. Even our very best friends may not be telling us something that is making life hard for them at the moment. Surrounded by hundreds of strangers, I knew I didn't know their stories. What I did know was every one of them listened to at least one of the bands playing that night and felt something. I'm not sure what they felt, but it had to have been something – happy, sad, belonging, comfort – for them to have listened to the songs enough to want to come. Either way, as I stood there screaming lyrics that had my own memories attached to them, I felt like I was part of something.
Adam Lazzara, lead singer of Taking Back Sunday, said that night, “it's a sense of nostalgia that brought you here. We were with you when you got your driver's license, when you were getting freaky with your girlfriend in the back seat of your dad's car.” That brought laughs, but I'm sure it also brought memories. Maybe we didn't all have the same memories, but we all had memories of the same songs.
That's why we go to concerts. Because we listened to this music and we felt something, and we wanted to listen to that music surrounded by people who also felt something when they listened to it. Whether it is rock or Christian or country music, we feel like we are part of something at concerts, with strangers who feel the same things when they listen to the same songs.
If you've never been to a concert and shoved your way to the front row, it really brings a new meaning to “feeling” the music. The bass shakes your entire body, but once the headlining band comes on, you forget about everything else around you, even the fact that the bass practically gives you motion sickness, as you get lost in the music that has meant so much to you. You never notice your feet hurting and the sun seems to go down all at once. Then after the band finishes their encore and you make your way through the crowd of people to find your car, you realize it is 11 p.m. and that your feet and legs are absolutely killing you. You suddenly remember how many videos you added to your Snapchat story and hope your friends aren't too annoyed by it. But in the end, none of that really matters, because for a few hours, you truly felt like you were a part of a group and you belonged, regardless of how you will feel at school or at work the next day.