I Do It Alone: Concerts
by Julia Rebecca Miron
Standing in a human melting pot, faced forward waiting for the show to begin. The artists march on stage. The crowd erupts. The music begins. I drop into an almost meditative state- my face hurting from smiling so intensely. And I do it alone.
The first couple concerts I went to alone were on accident. I bought two tickets and couldn’t find anyone to go with. The first time, I just sold the extra ticket on craigslist. The second time, I was sure the show would sell out, thus having no problem getting rid of the extra ticket, maybe even profit a little. But that didn’t happen. To my surprise, I couldn’t even give the extra ticket away! I had to eat the cost of the extra ticket and I was already financially strapped at the time.
I learned, from then on: unless there is an absolute guaranteed holder for another ticket, only buy one.
I was nervous those first couple shows. But I knew the artists and the venues well, plus I’d been to dozens, maybe even hundreds of concerts before, so I had a general sense of what the experience would be like.
To offer myself reassurance, I remembered all the times I had been at shows with friends. When one of us would have to use the bathroom, the other would stay and save our spot in the crowd.
Standing there watching the music alone while a friend was in the bathroom really felt no different than if they were next to me. It’s not like you can talk to- or hear- each other when you are at a show anyway. It’s loud. It’s dark. It’s crowded. Often you get a little separated by the tight crowds moving and bouncing around anyway. And we’re all just there to watch the musicians. When my friends were in the bathroom, nothing changed about my experiences, other than a preoccupation with hoping they’d be able to find me again in the crowd.
So, when I’d get nervous to go to a show alone, I’d remind myself, it’s just like going with a friend who is in the bathroom.
I will admit, the first few concerts I went to alone weren’t the best live music experiences I’ve ever had. But a lot of that had to do with my own head tripping about it. I didn’t actually feel unsafe at all (good music draws good people). I was just hyper aware of my aloneness.
I may have been hyper aware of my aloneness, but when you are standing in a big dark room filled with hundreds of people moving around- to an outsider, there is no way of telling if the person next to you is your friend, lover, or a complete stranger. And in that environment people truly don’t give a shit. They are just there to hear the music.
With time and more experience my nervousness dissipated, and now I have virtually no qualms about going to concerts alone. While some experiences may be enhanced by getting to share with other people, many might be dampened.
Not everyone likes to experience live music the way I do. Many of my friends prefer hanging in the back, watching the show from a distance, away from the cramped crowds. Some people like to duck out of the concert before the show actually ends, to beat the sea of people all heading for the door at once.
Me, I like to be as close to the stage as possible. I like to feel the symbiosis between the performers and the crowd- the energy exchange, the give and take, and how it all feeds off each other. I feel nestled and cozy in the small seas of people.
If I’m at a concert with someone, sometimes I feel distracted by wondering if the person I’m with is having a good time or not. If I want to get closer and they want to hang back, then the way each of us wants to experience the evening gets compromised. Even if the other person does want to move into the crowd, it gets a lot more complicated trying to weave through a tight crowd when you are dragging a chain people, arms linked, trying not to get separated.
When I go alone, I don’t have to expend any energy or focus on trying to not get separated. I can go where I want, when I want. I can weave in, out, and around people way more easily. I don’t have to find a place in the crowd where there’s room for two or more people to stand. I just have find a space big enough for me to shimmy myself into. I don’t have to consult with anyone about where to watch from or when to leave. I can stand right in the middle of the crowd, I can hang back, I can go side stage, or front and center. I can linger as long as I want to after the show, making sure I don’t miss any secret, extra encores, making sure I extract every morsel I can from my evening... if I want to.
When it’s just Me,Myself, and I, the experience can be whatever I want it to be. I can stand motionless and meditative, bob my head, or dance like no one is watching. (Because nobody fucking is! They are watching the band!)
I learned the painful way, by passing up the opportunities to see The Ramones and Amy Winehouse when I had the chance, that it’s not worth giving up these experiences simply because other people might not be interested in them.
There’s no shame in doing things alone. But there is real remorse when you miss out on life because you depend on someone else being there to have a good time.
There are opportunities to create the most splendid memories with other people, but there is also a world of opportunities have a bomb ass time rolling solo.
Julia Rebecca Miron is a devout optimist and life-long writer, with a passion for personal growth… and hip hop. Always seeking truth and humor in everything. Currently creating a location independent business and life.
- "I Do It Alone: Brunch" by Lindsay Lelivelt
- "I Do It Alone: The Movies" by Ursula Wheeler
- Interested in contributing to this monthly series? Please contact Britt.