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The Summer of Live Music: A Recap of the Eight Concerts I Attended this Summer

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

“I don’t know, don’t really care. Let there be songs to fill the air.” A line from one of my favorite Grateful Dead songs, “Ripple,” accurately sums up my sentiments about live music. To me, live music is one of the most uniting, joyous, and uplifting experiences. When is the best time to enjoy guitar solos, catchy lyrics, and loud crowds? In the summer, of course.

Every summer, probably since I was about 13, I have tried to attend a concert. I will never forget seeing Pearl Jam, at Fenway Park, when I was still only in middle school. Nothing could prepare me, specifically my ears, for the thrill, astonishment, and blaring sounds coming from Eddie Vedder and his band. However, this year, after a couple of summers of uneasiness with large crowds at concerts due to the pandemic, I really embraced my love for live music. I reached a personal record of attending eight shows in the four months of summer.

The first artist I saw this summer was John Mayer. John Mayer is my favorite singer, guitarist, and everything in between, so I was so excited about this show. He played at TD Garden in Boston and I loved it so much that after going to the first night, I immediately went home and bought tickets to attend the second night. 

I couldn’t ask for a better way to start the summer with two John Mayer concerts; however, that wasn’t the end of seeing him. The next shows I went to were Dead and Company. A modern twist on the iconic Grateful Dead, with a few original members, and John Mayer as the lead guitarist. My first Dead show was the tour opener at Dodgers Stadium in LA. My oldest brother, who is a huge Deadhead, had just moved out there and I visited him to go to a show together. About a month later, I saw them in Hartford, Connecticut, and loved it even more. The amazing thing about Dead and Company and John Mayer is that they change the show every night; a new setlist, a new jam, a new vibe, but always a good time.

Four concerts in and I was nowhere near sick of live music; in fact, it just got me even more hooked. There is a small pavilion in the Seaport District of Boston that, on a nice summer night, is the perfect venue for a concert. Due to the size, smaller bands play there and tickets aren’t nearly as expensive. The first concert I went to there was the Barenaked Ladies with my mom. The best part was that Toad the Wet Sprocket and Gin Blossoms played as well. You might not be familiar with any of these oddball-named bands, but I’m sure you would recognize a few songs. It was a wholesome, 90’s pop rock festival; the perfect environment for mothers and daughters. I went to another show there with both of my parents later in the summer. It was a Grateful Dead tribute band that was full of jams, tie-dye shirts, and such long guitar solos that you forgot what song they were even playing. Regardless of the band, I love this venue and it was even better to experience it with my parents. 

There is a similar venue in New Hampshire, where I drove a couple of hours to see Jack Johnson. My friend had extra tickets, so I couldn’t resist a free chance to see live music. I was familiar with Jack Johnson from his Curious George hits, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I was singing along. The highlight of this show was in the middle of it Zac Brown came out to sing two covers with him. It surely made the five hours round trip of driving worth it. 

Speaking of Zac Brown, he and his band play at Fenway every summer, and someone I knew had an extra ticket, so of course, I went. Country music and warm summer weather at the iconic Fenway Park is an experience that everyone should have. 

There we have it — eight concerts: two John Mayer, two Dead and Company, Barenaked Ladies, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Jack Johnson, and Zac Brown Band. Nothing like some summer live music: the night warm and the crowds worry-free — letting the positive vibes bounce off from band members to fans all night long. The music was incredible, but the company was even better. All I can hope is that next summer, I can get to nine shows. 

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Julia Hershelman

U Mass Amherst '23

Julia is a Senior and this is her fourth semester being a part of Her Campus. She is a Microbiology and French double major. In her free time she loves hanging out with family, going for walks with her dogs, and working out.