My experiences with concerts always begin months in advance.
I see one of my favorite artists announce a tour. I quickly make a mental note of the date and venue for the show closest to me, then I wait until the tickets go on sale, usually a few days later. Then, the painful process of buying tickets begins.
After I finally get tickets, I begin the usually monthslong wait for the big day to arrive. If you don’t believe me, I bought tickets back in June to see Lorde on her Solar Power tour. The concert isn’t for another week.
It’s safe to say that I prepare for concerts pretty early.
But, my pattern was broken this week. My boyfriend called me and asked if I wanted to go to a concert.
“When?” I asked.
“Tuesday,” he said. It was Sunday.
I was caught off-guard. This is so unlike me, randomly deciding to go to a show just days before.
“Who’s playing?” I asked.
“Perfume Genius,” he replied. A name I vaguely recognized, but I could not name a single song.
“This could be fun,” I thought. I immediately agreed.
My excitement slowly built as the concert neared. I tried to avoid listening to any Perfume Genius songs on Spotify to get a truly fresh experience. My boyfriend was also very unfamiliar with the artist, so we were both going in somewhat blind.
Once we got there, the crowd was immediately comforting in how similar they were to us. It wasn’t too crowded when we got there — 10 minutes before the opening act began — but quickly the venue filled up.
The opening act, Hand Habits, was extremely talented and personable, cracking jokes and telling little stories to get the crowd engaged. With opening acts, the crowd can either pay close attention or completely drown them out with individual conversations. Thankfully, this audience gave Hand Habits the attention and appreciation they deserved.
After Hand Habits played their very short set, one that left me wanting more, my boyfriend and I turned to each other with wide eyes.
“This is going to be good,” he said.
And it was. Perfume Genius left me speechless. His songs were gorgeous, played before a backdrop of what looked like winding wires or branches. The backdrop was lit from behind with dynamic lights, somehow perfectly colored to encapsulate each song’s energy.
Throughout Perfume Genius’ hourlong set, I was shocked that, in all the concerts I had been to, I never thought to try out a new artist. Typically, tickets are too expensive to buy on a whim, so I guess it’s understandable that I’ve never done it.
But, these were $25 day-of tickets bought at the box office. I’d also never bought tickets at the box office. But honestly, the lack of fees made it very nice. Additionally, I felt confident that we weren’t taking tickets away from fans, as buying tickets online well beforehand may.
To top it off, I found two new artists to listen to. It was a bit disorienting being in a crowd of people singing along to songs I had never heard, but it was also sort of exciting. I’m used to singing all the words with them, but there I was, discovering something new while they were reliving the joy of hearing a song you know front to back.
I probably won’t do this a lot — I mean, financially I’m still a college student — but if I have a spare $25 on an open night, I might just venture to a venue and see if cheap tickets are available.
Live music is always incredible, and I truly felt that loss during the COVID-19 lockdown. Now, I want to experience as much of it as I can. And I encourage you too as well. You can find some new music while supporting musical acts that have likely had a rough couple of years. It’s a win for everyone.