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Live Music Rocks.

So excited: going to see a fav. rock band perform live in a few days. Concert opportunities have been abundant this season, as the world bursts into a social fever after last summer’s cautiously re-entry into ‘normal life’. 

The pandemic made me question everything, so I debated if I should keep going to live shows at my age. But I got over that. Abso-f*#king-lutely. Never give up music.

Live music is a part of the balanced diet of a happy human, an essential oil that lubricates feelings of well-being, euphoria and 🤘, and recognized as a deeply important, cultural tradition all over the world.

Sure, you can stay home and listen to tunes or plug into the earphones at work, while commuting or working out, or sing along to your favourite tunes while driving. All great ways to enjoy music but, experiencing a live show is wonderfully different. Perhaps the most fun you can have in public with a big group of people you haven’t met before.

Over 5 decades, I’ve seen live rock music in venues large and small, indie bands to huge commercial successes, and with different relationships to the band1. Over time, I’ve shifted from simply loving the songs (lyrics resonate, track is catchy, band is cool, genre appeals) to appreciating the components of the music (instruments, mix, time signatures etc) to admiring the band, human as they are: their talents, history, dedication and the work they put into delivering the music.

What’s so special about live music? Community. 

There’s community in the fan-base. The *Who’s going?* anticipation works because everyone’s headed to a venue where there will be hundreds or thousands of people they have something in common with – love of the music. And all of these people are attending for the same reason, to enjoy the same thing. Everyone’s connected, instantly. Compared to venues, like a movie or restaurant, even though a bunch of folks attend, there isn’t the same connection as with fellow concert-goers. Adding to the excitement, concerts are rare, special events, only happening once a year if we’re lucky, like Halloween or Christmas.

There is community with the band. Many concert-goers feel a connection, spiritual or intellectual, to the band through their music2. Business aside, most artists want to deliver their art to those who appreciate it. The writer in me loves to write, but knows that my prose needs to be read to go to the next level. Like a tree falling in the forest, a band feels its impact through their fans’ enthusiastic response. 🤘

There is ancestral community in live music. For millennia, when humans gathered together, music was there, especially drum and the base rhythm, like a shared heartbeat. Everyone in attendance, around the fire or the circle, often participated through the words sung together, passed down through generations. 

Rock concerts may be no fireside sing-along, but the primordial echos are strong. Standing beside a stack of amplifiers that resonate into your belly, being surrounded by the music so loud and enveloping that all you can do is listen and dance and celebrate music that makes sense to you.

In music, I find recognition of life experiences, from brief personal interactions to global events. This can be comforting, inspiring, or motivating.

Again with the community. Music fans revel in a shared understanding that we have a shared understanding. Of the music. Of the message. Of the lifestyle. Of having fun at the venue, indulging in the pure pleasure of listening to masters of the medium of song, electric guitar and drum (and maybe some effects with the lights, fire, and that thing that involves standing with one foot on the monitor and belting out a guitar solo while swirling long hair in a circle). 

The bands we love, we love because they use their craft to create a story, or feel, or understanding that we understand, or think we do. Interesting thing about art, including music, is that the creators are inspired by something, then create, and the observers put their own interpretation into the creation.

Is it important, to the creator or the fan, that the interpretation is the same or different than what the artist intended? There are probably as many different answers to this question as there are artists and fans.

I won’t pretend to know why everyone goes to concerts. I know why I go:

1. I love rock music. The energy, the discord, release from everyday confines of what is appropriate to do. Pure feel of strength in loud truth.

2. I love the energy of the live show. People are there to enjoy the energy of the music. To celebrate the talent of the song writers and performers. Thank you for playing for us.

3. I love the bands. The shows I choose are by bands whose music has meaning for me. Sometimes it’s an insightful understanding of something we humans grapple with, like addiction (Voodoo, Godsmack), or inspiration to rise above the every day (Legends Rise, Godsmack), or you’re just fed up with the status quo (Whatever, Godsmack3). Seeing the band perform these songs with thousands of people who also enjoy the songs, is awesome. 

The greatest thing about live music: It just fuc%$*g rocks. 🤘

1 Ahem. Meaning from pure fan, one of a million, that admires the band from afar, to being the drummer’s wife.

2 This said, most shows have a few bands, the headliner and others. Sometimes, I’ll buy tickets when I only know the opening act, other times, I’m thrilled at the entire lineup. And then, there’s occasions when I look forward to discovering new bands that compliment the headliner’s musical style (got to know Halestorm, CrownLands, and The Warning this way – all great bands whose music I enjoyed after the show).*

3 Guess which band I’m going to see soon?

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