On going to concerts alone
You’re at a concert with a group of friends and having an awesome time when suddenly out of the corner of your eye you spot it. It stands out in a crowd. It can make you feel somewhat curious – maybe slightly uneasy and sometimes even a little sad.
It is “that guy alone at a concert!”
We’ve all seen him. The lone male, the purchaser of a single seat, the guy standing by himself at the back of the venue. We ask ourselves questions like, “Doesn’t he have any friends? Is he waiting for someone? Are they in the bathroom? Grabbing a drink? Late? Did they cancel at the last minute? Is this guy a music critic or maybe a seat filler?”
I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve been “that guy!”
I think the first concert I went to by myself was English Beat on a boat in Boston Harbour, but that’s another story. Since then, I’ve gone solo to shows such as; Sheepdogs with Yukon Blonde; Joel Plaskett Emergency; Said The Whale with Fast Romantics; Pixies with Sunflower Bean; Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls with Sam Coffey and The Iron Lungs; Bad Cop / Bad Cop and Matt Mays with Modern Space and even the inaugural Cicada Music & Arts Festival.
Admittedly, the first time I found myself having to go to a concert alone I was understandably hesitant and slightly intimidated. As I waited in the ticket line I questioned my decision a few times. Am I really going to do this? It just feels weird. Is this show really worth the risk of being seen as ‘that guy’?
Sure I noticed a few glances when I entered the venue alone, but when the music started I found myself suddenly immersed in the shared experience that is a crowd seeing live music. While I felt a sense of anonymity in being part of that crowd, I also felt that I wasn’t alone and that we all came to the concert together. We may not be friends, but we shared at least one thing: we were fans.
There’s commonality when you’re part of an audience. Sometimes you all sing along with the band. You may even clap, shout, cheer and whistle in unison. You join in on a standing ovation.
By the end of the concert, I no longer noticed the glances. Nobody cares. Perhaps they never did.
As I left the venue, I may have wished I’d had someone with whom to share the experience, but after a few minutes, I recognized that I’d shared it with everyone else in attendance. I surprised myself by actually feeling special. How lucky I was to have been a part of it. I was so glad I went!
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every single one of the concerts I’ve gone to alone. I wouldn’t have seen any of them if I’d refused to go by myself. While I still prefer to go with someone else and will ask around before I buy a ticket, if it’s an artist or band I really must see, I no longer hesitate. I have absolutely no regrets, and I’d actually highly recommend going to see a concert alone, even just once.
Regardless, next time you spot ‘that guy alone at a concert’ perhaps you’ll see him in a different light. It might just be me!