Friday, August 04, 2017

On Going To Concerts Alone

The Zolas opened for July Talk at the Queen City Ex last night. I only found out about the show on Monday or Tuesday, but I already had a pass for the Ex, so the decision was made. I told Barclay I wanted to go and he asked who I was planning on going with and I smiled and said, "Myself."

I usually put in a pretty good effort to find a person to go to a show with, but lately I've been wondering why I try so hard. Why do any of us? I mean, sure, going to a show with someone who values music (or at least the band playing that night) the exact same amount as you is great. It can even be so much as amazing or fantastic. I've got a few friends who are really fun to take to shows. (Don't worry, Those Friends, I'm not going to stop inviting you to shows with me.)

But what I mean is, if you can't find someone to go with, so what? Why is it so dang important not to be there alone?

And there's the other side of the coin, too, to consider. I'm sure anyone who loves live music has had that experience where, somehow, they end up at a show with someone who doesn't love live music as much as they do, and that person talks through all the great songs and complains a lot about standing for so long and wants to leave early. (For some shows, it should be noted, it's fine. MC Hammer? Stay for U Can't Touch This and get outta there. Talk through Elliot Brood's whole set, it's really okay. I went to Bryan Adams with some friends recently and, to be honest, we were mostly there to hang out with each other. But, say, Death Cab? UNACCEPTABLE—no talking, no whining, and we are not leaving until Ben G is literally on an airplane to his next gig.)

It's like going to a seafood restaurant with someone who hates seafood (me) and is just going to sit across from you and make grossed out faces at your plate the whole time. Either find someone who likes fish, or go by yourself. Right?

(No. You can't go to restaurants by yourself either—who makes these weird rules?)

Anyway. With that level of failure as a looming possibility, combined with the freedom to come and go when you choose and the sweet, sweet anonymity of standing in a mosh pit full of strangers...why do people have such a strange attitude towards concert-going solo? Why would you compromise your enjoyment of the show simply for the sake of being there with someone you know? Why is it so imperative that we arrive and stand and leave with someone? And why isn't going alone more often a first choice instead of a last resort?

The lineup last night was significant in kind of a silly little way that wouldn't make sense to you at this point in time (I'll explain later), and as soon as I heard about it I decided I wanted to experience it by myself. Rules schmules. And I did and it rocked. So I'm here to say: let's all start going to more shows alone, together.

After the show was over, I wandered the fair grounds for a while. There's something so eerie about fair grounds after dark. It's great.