Why Concerts are Important

For how LOUD they are, a good live show sure does have a magical way of drowning out all the “noise” in life and reminding us what’s really important.

That was my experience last night at the Justin Timberlake concert in Seattle. 

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There was a lot to be excited about at this show – from JT’s dance moves and dapper tux, to an unexpected cover of “Poison,” from cameos by Macklemore and Seahawks, to the killer seats my husband scored for us where we soaked it all in one row from the floor. 

But the real magic came at the end of the concert, as I suspected it would, when Justin closed his show with an arena-rattling rendition of his monster hit “Mirrors” – the biggest single from the biggest album of 2013.

I was watching JT dance and sing and smile and clap his hands above his head, but more than that I was watching other people watching him.  The PEOPLE who were packed into this arena at midnight after a three-hour show.  The PEOPLE who were swaying and bouncing and rocking out and closing their eyes as if they didn’t have a care in the world.  The PEOPLE who had surely had hard weeks, exhausting weeks, heartbreaking weeks, even – and who didn’t know where they found the energy to feel so alive at this late hour on a Friday night.  I was watching THEM.  I was watching all of them sing this song as if it was all that mattered.  And I was singing right along with them, feeling the same way.

On our chilly walk to find a cab after the concert let out, I turned to Aaron and said, “At the end of the day, all any human being wants is to sing ‘Mirrors’ so loudly that they forget about all the shit in their life for four minutes.”  Those four minutes are pure redemption, pure oxygen, pure freedom from all the stuff that gets in the way of us having those four minutes of joy and connection a hell of a lot more often.

Any good concert has its anthem.  I’ve ridden this euphoric wave before – during Coldplay’s “Fix You,” Tim McGraw’s “Where the Green Grass Grows,” Incubus’s “Drive.” I would imagine at a Paul McCartney show it’s “Hey Jude,” “Free Fallin’” in the presence of Tom Petty, and that for Katy Perry it’s “Roar.”  Everyone has That Song that gets the crowd on their feet, screaming the lyrics, forgetting about EVERYTHING else for those few precious minutes surrounded by strangers.  We humans need that.  We crave that. We don’t get that nearly enough. 

Why is that?  I don’t know.  Probably for a long list of technical and psychologically-rooted very sound reasons.  But that’s for another blog.  All I want to write about today is about the importance of musicMusic in the midst of thousands of other pulsing, screaming, sweating, singing humans.  And how it is to the soul what an oil change is to a sputtering car, what a “not guilty” verdict is to a desperate defendant, what a fresh snowfall is to a garden that hasn’t felt its touch in years.  Cleansing.  Liberating.  Sacred. 

So go get yourself to a loud, rowdy concert in 2014.  It just may be the best money you’ve spent in a long time.

Next up for us?  Lady Gaga in May. Full report to follow, but I think it’s safe to predict that I haven’t experienced people watching until I’ve experienced it at a Lady Gaga concert.  Until then…keep it loud.

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