Last night, I was fortunate enough to go see Postmodern Jukebox perform at the Birchmere in Alexandria, VA. When I finally made it home after a pretty circuitous drive through/around DC (thanks, GPS and that stupid taxi that wouldn’t freaking get out of my way), I decided that I needed to write up something about concerts and what makes them so awesome. Before I get into that, thanks again for sticking around. I know it’s been a rough few weeks, but things will be better soon.

Social Tunes

One of the things that I’ve noticed about general music consumption is that it’s often a solo affair. You’ll pop your earbuds into your ears and rock out to some of your favorite tunes. If you’re like me, you might turn the music in your car up to an ill-advised volume because you like to feel the bass. Don’t worry about the state of my hearing, my ears are still as good as ever. I turn up the volume just loud enough to feel it but not so loud as to do a lot of damage to my hearing.

Sometimes, you’ll share your music with your friends. You’ll send them links on Facebook or using whatever chat program pleases you. That way, you can geek out about the songs together. I’ve gotten a lot of great music recommendations from my friends in the past. Maybe your friends are riding with you in your car and you decide that they absolutely must be exposed to this band you like. Or you like to torture your friends with songs they absolutely hate. I may or may not have done that in the past. A friend may or may not have gotten out of my car and walked to our destination rather than be exposed to an instrumental cover of a Michael Jackson hit. In my defense, I’d have changed the music if he’d only asked. I’m not that mean – most of the time.

Yes, you can make music a more social experience, but it’s just not the same as attending a concert. Much as I’m a loner and hermit these days, even I have to admit that there’s something about going to see your favorite bands with a couple hundred of your fellow fans. Admittedly, concert experiences are best when shared with friends so you have someone to look at with a big excited grin when they play a song you love. Solo concert-going can be just as fun, even for the slightly introverted kinds like me.

I was exhausted yesterday. We’re doing renovations in my house and things have been a little chaotic. I was concerned that I’d be super sleepy during the concert. Fortunately, my fears were unfounded. From the moment the band got up on stage to the moment I finally walked in my front door, I was energized. There’s just something about a great crowd gathered to listen to great music.

It’s All About the Music

Sure, you can get some fancy headphones and speakers, but nothing beats the fantastic acoustics of a live venue. There’s consuming the music and then there’s feeling like you’re a part of it. That’s what keeps me attending concerts despite annoying ticket fees and occasional travel difficulties.

I’ve seen all kinds of concerts over the years from school bands to huge arena shows with bands whose careers span more years than I’ve been alive. I’ve never had a terrible concert experience, but I’ve had some that were lackluster. Some bands just don’t have that particular magic that makes an amazing live performance. Some bands just blossom under the bright lights in front of their fans. I’m sure you’ve heard people say that a band’s album sounds good, but they’re so much better live. For some bands I’ve seen, that is definitely the case.

If you’ve never been to a concert and a band you like is coming to town, grab a friend, get a ticket, and go see them. I can tell you that it’s definitely a worthwhile experience. Of course, you’re going to need to do some research on the venue beforehand. Then again, that’s what I always advise.

I just hope one day you get to experience what it feels like to get chills when you hear an awesome performance. I want you to scream, cheer, and sing along with the music flooding your ears. It’s one of the best things out there.