Concerts are back! Shared musical gatherings, in person, have finally returned. I could not be happier to witness the return of these tribal exchanges of sound. The pandemic shuttered many things, but the lack of live music, in person, was probably at the top of the list of things I knew I would miss the most.
Live music is one of the great human experiences. Live music can fill the soul, lift the heart and even heal many of the wounds a society can face. On a personal level, it can do even more. Music is the most heartfelt of media.
During the pandemic, human beings innovated and found other ways to share music. The shelter-in place-orders turned into shelter-in-place music. There was a new at-home concert every day. It was cathartic.
At one point, my aforementioned favorite, Pearl Jam, announced special airings of previous shows, which for me helped fill the void left by the cancellation of four shows I was scheduled to attend that April.
One of the experiences I will not soon forget was watching a live Pearl Jam show from home. I texted one of my oldest friends to alert him. We then shared that experience with our families from 3,000 miles away. We were sending text messages back and forth showing our households enjoying the music, having our respective beverages of choice, and toasting to the semblance of a shared experience in the only way that was possible at the time. We were able to be dancing and enjoying live music turned up to 11 regardless of what the world had thrown at us. It was necessary and came at just the right time.
Fast-forward to today. Vaccines are available to everyone, and live music has started to return. I moved to Austin a few months back -- arguably the live-music capital of the world. Austin welcomed it back quicker than most, but that was mostly at a local level. Now we’re seeing national headliners get back on the scene.
I bought my first tickets for a show set for the fall, and I am still holding out hope that I can find some way to see Pearl Jam in person this year. At the least, I know 2022 will include some time with the band that has gotten me through many things over the years.
When I was young, I would see a live-music show once a week, and sometimes more. As I got older and other responsibilities emerged, it became more difficult to see as many shows -- but these days I find that my whole family can enjoy live music, so we find ways to experience it whenever we can. It can be as simple as sitting and watching someone play their guitar on a street corner or sitting outside to watch a local artist sing to whoever is there.
As the confines of shelter-in-place fall away, I hope everyone can get out to a concert and see their artists of choice. It will help to heal the memory of 2020. To get together and experience that tribal feeling, enjoying the words and music of a favorite song by your favorite artist, will help you in ways you may not even realize now. Get out there with some friends and family. Get out there with complete strangers. Just get out there and enjoy yourself. Summer just feels more like summer when you can.