The Coronavirus pandemic has changed every single aspect of life for people all over the world. One of the industries that has been hardest hit is the music industry. Musicians and bands have had to change album release dates, cancel shows, and postpone tours indefinitely. As someone who treasures live music, I have been reminiscing on the times concerts have given me some of the best moments I’ve ever had.
Ever since I was in high school, going to concerts and witnessing live music has become a huge part of my life. I was a (very) dedicated One Direction fan in my teen years, and when my friend invited me to see them on their “Take Me Home Tour” the summer before our freshman year of high school, it was an automatic “yes.” Even though that experience was not my first with live music, there was something very special about it. My friend and I were only 14 years old at the time, and we went in alone after her step mom dropped us off. We had nose bleed seats all the way in the back of the venue, but the loud music, the screaming, the emotions, all of it was beautiful to be a part of. I remember very vividly talking to the people who were sitting behind us before the show started. It was a young girl and her dad and they had driven all the way from Canada for the show. On the drive home, I remember feeling pure happiness and my adrenaline was still running high the next morning.
As my high school career continued, I also continued my career as a One Direction fan. My favorite memory was seeing them three times in one summer. I drove my dad crazy as he drove me and my friend across the state to see them in Pittsburgh, then drove back home early the next morning to then once again leave that night to line up at 2 a.m. in the pouring rain to see them on Good Morning America.
I also saw many other artists with my best friend at the time. We would save up money from our part-time, minimum wage jobs, and when a tour was announced for our favorite artists, we would coordinate who would buy the tickets and whose parents would drive us. Sometimes, we would also ask for good tickets for our birthdays or as Christmas presents. We would often venture into Philadelphia or New York City for these shows, sometimes leaving school early so we could queue in the general admission line to get good spots. We would often make up a more serious reason, usually a “family-related” event as to why we wouldn’t be there for our last couple of classes of the day. The next day at school we would wear the tour T-shirts we had bought at the show with the tour dates on the back. Occasionally we would see smaller shows at a local venue and when I got my license, my parents would let me drive us to some shows. It gave me a sense of independence and I loved it.
As I got older, I was worried my concert experiences would phase out. As a college student, I became busier with managing more school work than I was used to while also working two jobs. It was also harder to make plans with friends as we all had different college schedules and the friends I used to go to shows with didn’t live near me anymore. Eventually, I started to go to some shows by myself. This idea was terrifying in my head, but once you’re in the crowd and the music starts, no one is alone at all. We are all there for the same reason, singing the same words and nothing feels better than that.
When the Coronavirus hit, I realized that I had kind of taken concerts for granted. It was something I did so often, and I was lucky and privileged for that, but now that it's gone, it feels as though a big part of my life is gone too. What I didn’t notice while I was singing as loud as I could at these shows, dancing my heart out, was that for three hours, I was allowed to let go. I was allowed to forget about everything in my life, all of the stress and anxiety, and just feel good about life. Being stuck in my house with all of these thoughts for the past six months and a world that seems to be falling apart around me, I can’t help but miss live music more than anything else. Looking forward to concerts gave me reason to push through whatever hardships I was faced with, and that’s gone too.
I’m not sure when the Coronavirus will calm in the United States for live shows to be taking place again. I know there are outdoor concerts where people sit on their cars spaced out from one another, but it isn’t the same. As of now, it seems as though things are continuously getting worse, so I’m sure the next time I see a live show will be when I am middle aged (just kidding). I know all music lovers and avid concert-goers are going through the same feelings and thoughts right now, so I know I’m not alone. All I can say is that even though I don’t have specific concert dates on my calendar at this moment, knowing how happy I will be to hear live music for the first time again after this is all over is enough to keep me going.