Why I Love Live Music

I was having a conversation earlier this month with a friend on the topic of live music. Being something of a concert addict, I was going on and on about a show I had recently seen up in Edmonton. Halfway through my musings on just what exactly made the experience such a great one, my friend stopped me and asked what else I had been doing in Edmonton that I was up there and able to check out the concert.

“Nothing,” I replied.

“Nothing?

“Nothing.

“So, you just, drove to Edmonton, saw this concert, and what…drove back?

“…Yup, that’s about right.

My friend couldn’t believe it. She was completely agog that I had spent the time and money to drive to a city hours away just to see a band play a show in a weird little venue, only to turn right around and drive back that night.

“But weren’t you tired the next day? You had to work!” she exclaimed.

“Well, yeah, I was a bit tired. But it was worth it.” In utter disbelief, my friend stared at me until we changed the subject.

Live music’s a funny thing. Some people get it, and some people don’t. You’ll often run into folks who balk at the expensive ticket prices of the big shows that roll through the Saddledome, or scoff at the idea of hanging out in a bar until 2AM on a weeknight just to see a band play their second encore. People will say that you can just listen to the band on iTunes if you want to hear a song, or that you can YouTube them if you want to see them play something on a stage.

Now, this is the part of the article where I intended to counter all of those arguments and write definitively about exactly what makes live music so special. As a stare at the screen and my fingers rest on the keyboard, however, my mind’s coming up blank. What is so special about live music?

Zach de la Rocha once famously asked, “What better place than here? What better time than now?” I think, for me, those lyrics sum up perfectly what I find so intoxicating about live music. There’s something about the perfect culmination of details and events swirling within and without each other at a concert that draws me back, repeatedly, over and over again, to live music. It’s the coming together of an artists and fans; the harmony of notes, tempo, bass, and treble; the feeling of community and the collective appreciation of talent; the emotional energy that comes with being part of something bigger than yourself; and the base, instinctual pull that we feel in our lizard-brains when groups of people come together to celebrate and dance with one another. Live music is all about everything happening at the right time and the right place – the explosive combination of art, passion, and rhythm. There’s no feeling on earth comparable to making eye contact with a singer as she delivers a particularly poignant lyric, or the tactile sensation of a kick drum beating out a cadence so punchy that you can feel it in your bones.

Live music is my raison d’être. I’m never more excited or contented than when I’m watching a band play onstage, whether it’s to a crowd of five or five thousand. If it’s been a while since you’ve seen a show, make plans to get out there and check one out. Support local live music – you might be surprised at some of the talent you’ll come across!


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