Last night I went to see Owl City for the second time, and it made me think of how much I love going to concerts. It isn't something I do terribly frequently, but I always thoroughly enjoy myself when I go. Recently someone I'm close to told me they were never much of a concert person because they "just weren't the groupie type." Not only is that a fundamental misunderstanding of the point of a concert, but it also came across to me as devaluing what I find to have meaning and impact.
I don't remember for sure what the first concert I ever went to was, but I'm fairly certain my earliest concert memory is of seeing Steven Curtis Chapman and Nichole Nordeman in California. Steven Curtis Chapman is one of my mum's favourite singers, so I remember being caught up in the atmosphere of her excitement. I also remember how worshipful of an environment it was, in a way I find hard to replicate other places.
Most of the concerts I went to as a kid were family events, more than anything else. I usually went with Mum. Sometimes my brother or father tagged along, but not always. Sometimes we were with friends, but I think I've attended more concerts with Mum than anyone else. I can remember going to see ZOEgirl, Newsboys, Rachel Lampa, Rebecca St. James, and Steven Curtis Chapman, among others. The first time I ever went to a concert that was just for me was when I was about eleven or twelve. My parents bought me tickets to see Jump5, my absolute favourite band at the time. Being in a room full to the brim with people who all loved the same music I did and were just as excited to see four young adults jump all over the stage while lip syncing was an incredible experience. I wasn't there because I wanted to bask in Jump5's presence or anything ridiculous like that - I was there because I loved their music and I wanted to see them perform, and I loved every minute of it.
When I was fifteen, Mum took my best friend Laura and I to Alton Towers, an amusement park in England, to see Superchic[K] and Kutless as part of a festival. It was the only concert I went to the entire time I lived overseas, and it's easily one of my favourite memories from being in England. Laura and I had a blast together, and the concert itself was fantastic. The production quality that goes into a big festival concert set up is unbelievable. Plus, it's hard to beat several thousand people all yelling along the lyrics to songs you've had memorized for years. It's a charge that's hard to replicate.
I was seventeen before I really started going to concerts with any consistency, but that was also about the time I started buying my own concert tickets to go see artists I loved with my friends. Sometimes I still go to concerts with Mum, especially if it's an artist we both enjoy, but I'm still the only member of my family who goes to concerts semi-regularly. Some of my favourites I've even been able to see more than once, and every time the experience just gets better. Switchfoot, Newsboys, RED, Building 429, Owl City, Relient K, and Hawk Nelson are just some of the artists I've seen multiple times.
Ultimately, a concert is a chance to enjoy live music. You get to feel the floor vibrate under your feet, watch the artist completely lose themselves onstage in their music, and watch people who love that music just as much as you dance and sing their hearts out. Sometimes, when I've had a chance to meet the artists, I've been able to get their autographs and see just how much it means to them that people are coming to hear them perform. Going to a concert is one way of showing that artist that you support their passion in life. I find every concert I attend to be a rewarding experience, and I'm grateful for each one.