As my feet ached in my shoes, I could feel the daunting heat absorbing into the back of my head. I lift up my denim jacket above my head to block out the sun. I turn around to see the snaking line across the parking lot. Everyone else was as tired and as hot as I was. One girl was holding her friend up by her waist as she teetered back and forth until she stumbled into a grassy patch to throw up. It’s been over two hours and we barely have moved in line. The venue for the Phoebe Bridgers concert was supposed to open half an hour ago.
Phoebe Bridgers is a popular artist, most famously known for her songs “Motion Sickness” and “Smoke Signals”. Her music classifies as Indie Rock, Indie Folk, or even Emo Folk. It is stereotypically known that her primary fanbase is mentally ill girls, based on the somber tone and themes within her music. However, many also consider her music to be very peaceful and lyrically profound. As someone who went through a difficult time within the past six months, I replied heavily on Phoebe Bridgers’ music as a form of comfort and reflection. So, I was unbelievably grateful to be seeing her live in concert.
As Phoebe entered the stage, I began to feel this surreal sensation of seeing someone you normally see on a tiny screen in front of you for the first time. As she began to sing through her setlist, my friends and I sang along and swayed to the beat. But throughout the concert there were times where adrenaline overwhelmed my body so much that all I wanted to do was jump around and flail my arms to release all of the energy her music had built up inside of me. And so I did.
After three hours of waiting in the beating sun, my two friends and I were finally able to enter the venue. It was gorgeous, nothing I had ever seen before. Like most venues, the stage stood in front of a pit to be surrounded by the most dedicated fans who waited upwards of eight hours in line. But a tall hill of grass spread wide beyond the pit. Night had fallen by the time we had reached the venue, and the view of the full moon was projected right above the stage as if it were a piece of scenery. Once we got our barings, we found an empty space in the middle of the grass towards the top. We were a bit far back, but, for someone under five feet tall, I had a good view of the stage.
There were other moments within the concert, particularly during her song Halloween, where I began to understand new meaning within her songs. Not only was this because she gave introductions to the songs before she would strum the opening chord, but because there was nothing else to focus on except her music; no cars behind me, treadmill below me, or homework in front of me. It was an eye opening moment and truly emotion-evoking.
But the moment within the concert that overwhelmed me with emotion was when Phoebe played her song “Graceland Too”. This has been my favorite song by her, and one of my favorite songs in general, for a while now. Not only because the melody is soothing and the words are well written, but because of how much I connected to the meaning behind the song. “Graceland Too” is about attempting to better yourself for both yourself and for the person you love. This was a huge goal of mine throughout the past six months after I had been in a poor relationship and poor mental space. This song was my motivation for a long time and by the time I had reached the concert I felt as if I had gotten to that point of betterment. Not even thirty seconds into the song, I began to sob so hard I could barely sing along to the lyrics. I felt such an emotional connection to the space and the music within that moment that I had never felt before.
Phoebe sings within “Graceland Too”, “Said she knew she lived through it to get to this moment.” And I believe I dealt with all that I had been through and worked through all I had to work through to get to the moment I was in there; surrounded by my friends, feeling good about what was ahead, and feeling good in the moment.