“I miss him like a friend.”
This is what my best friend Courtney said to me as we were talking about an upcoming show for Andrew McMahon that we wished we could attend. For those of you unfamiliar with him, he is the lead singer of the bands “Jacks Mannequin” and “Something Corporate” he now performs solo as “Andrew McMahon and the Wilderness”. Courtney and I have both been obsessed with him since before we had even met one another, and he has become a very important figure in both of our lives (read: basically we are just obsessed with him as a human and his music and he is amazing). This summer, we were lucky enough to finally see him in concert at The National in Richmond Virginia. He put on an absolutely amazing performance, and Courtney and I both had not seen him perform in over 4 years, so we were way past due. We both had an amazing time, we danced, we sang, I cried (long story), and we connected with the people around us and his music and it was a fantastic night. After leaving that concert, Courtney and I both talked about how really the only thing we could relate that concert to was some sort of “spiritual experience”. Which obviously it was not, but we were both moved so emotionally and so much in awe of him and his performance afterwards, that it is all we could talk about.
Fast forward about two months, and Brad Paisley announces that he will be coming to perform at Virginia Tech to kick off some college-country-nation type tour is he doing. FOR FREE. So obviously, with him being one of my favorite country singers of all time, I know I will be at that concert. So the time comes and me and my boyfriend and a couple of our friends head down to the part of campus where he will be performing and stake out a small patch of grass where we can all see pretty well. He starts playing and everyone goes wild, obviously, and the concert is going great. Throughout the concert, I noticed that Taylor (that’s my boyfriend – I guess I haven’t really ever mentioned that in this, woops) was trying to talk to me about just random things in the middle of the songs, or when the songs were over in the minute or two before he would play the next one. He also seemed really bothered by just everything that was going on around us (drunk college students at a free concert, there was a lot going on around us) where as I was just focused on the music and the performance and just worried about hearing this amazing live artist playing in front of me. So anyways, the concert ends and we are walking home and Taylor brings it up. He was kind of taken aback by how “unaware” of everything else I seemed and a little annoyed I was basically ignoring his attempts at conversation the entire concert. I told him that I was too busy enjoying the music and the energy of the artist to worry about anything else. I was so content just sitting there listening to live music by a fantastic artist, I wasn’t thinking about anything else.
And this brought me to the conclusion that there are essential two types of concert-goes: the emotional ones, and the non-emotional ones. If you haven’t figured it out by now, I am for sure in the “emotional” category. Especially if it is an artist that I have a very strong attachment too, almost nothing will be able to ruin that concert for me. I think it can be summed up like this: there are people that go and listen to the music, and then there are people that go and feel the music. I think that is pretty accurate. There are people that say "I miss him like a friend, we need to go see him in concert soon" and there are people that say "Let's get a big group and go see ______!". And yes, do not worry, I understand there are some concerts that are just simply not like that, more of a party than a concert, so do not worry, I get that.
But, as I mentioned before, I CRIED at the Andrew McMahon concert this summer, for many reasons, but I have been listening to Jacks Mannequin since early middle school, his music has gotten me through so many things, and I have listened to it during so many different times in my life. And I think that is why I am an emotional concert goer. I understand the emotion and feeling that goes into every song an artist puts out, and I can feel that. I also pick and choose my concerts, I do not just pay $20, $50, $75, whatever it is for concerts to see any group or artist perform. Music is something that is supposed to capture you emotionally, and some people really feel that, and some just listen. I’ll admit, sometimes I take it too far, in a “it makes me question my whole existence and all of my life choices and my entire future and makes me an emotional puddle for the next 48 hours” but sometimes it gives me an energy that I haven’t been able to find from any other event or substance. It’s like your emotions are right up on the edge ready to bubble over but instead they give you a rush that is unlike anything else.
Concerts really are a “spiritual experience” (I hate using that but I can’t think of any better words) for me, they give me a rush, a high, a pulse, that you just don’t get in everyday life. They have a magic that makes the words and the music come alive and pump through your veins to the same beat as the artist, which to me is just incredible. They are not just an event that I can buy tickets to, attend, and go home at the end. They change me, and I understand not everyone is like that, and for those of you that aren’t, I really hope you have something else that gives you that rush, because let me tell you, it’s simply life changing.