by Abigail Visco
“Would you ever consider going to a concert alone?”
“I’m not sure,” a friend says. Her face turns beet red as she awkwardly laughs, staring out the window of the classroom and trying to avoid the question. I wanted to know more, but the rest quickly filed in, and class began. This short but intriguing conversation is what led me to ask more people, and I’ve been getting the same response.
Why is it such a difficult question to answer? The more people I ask, the more people give me the same response, and the more intrigued I become. I’ve come to the conclusion that people don’t want to say yes, because then they would be lying. They also don’t want to say no because they don’t want others to know that they’re uncomfortable being alone. I want that to change.
For the longest time, I never went to shows alone. I’d never considered the idea until one of my friends backed out of a concert at the last minute. My best friend and I were supposed to see The Maine together, a dream of ours since middle school, but it was finals week and she was too busy studying. I’d been waiting to see this show for a long time, and I knew that if I didn’t go, I would regret it later. So I set off on an uncertain journey of solitude. Looking back, I am so glad I had this experience.
If you have gone to a concert alone once before and hated it, I urge you to go out and try it again. My first show alone was not the best experience either. It could have gone better. I was too nervous. I had too many unanswered questions running through my mind. Will people know I am alone and think I’m weird? Where should I stand? Should I try to make conversation with others around me? Should I be nervous walking home all alone at night? With each experience, however, these questions became irrelevant, making it easier to focus on the reason I was there—to listen to good music.
If you really can’t stand being alone, make friends. When I saw The Maine, I met a girl who has seen them in concert five times. At first I thought this was a bit excessive, but some great stories came out of it. I’m not usually one to talk to strangers, but in this particular setting, it’s easy. Everyone is there for the same reason, which means everyone already has something in common to discuss. And if you think you’re awkward and embarrassing like I am, don’t worry about it. Odds are, you probably won’t run into these people again. Just find another spot in the crowd and start over if you need to.
Another wonderful benefit of attending a show solo is that you can geek out as much as you want. Typically, unless I am with a friend who is on the same level as I am when it comes to the love for a particular artist, I often tone myself down, swaying to the music a little and clapping at the end of each song. My best friend and I are huge fans of The Maine, but I don’t think she knows that I know almost every word to every single song. When I was alone, I was able to dance and sing without shame. Again, don’t be worried about embarrassing yourself. You most likely won’t see your fellow concertgoers after the show. But if you do, don’t worry, they were focused on the music, not you.
Independence is freeing and empowering. Being comfortable with yourself is not something you should hide. Everyone should learn to enjoy themselves by doing something on their own. It’s good to be able to fall back on yourself. You should never pass up the opportunity to see your favorite band play live just because you have no one to go with. Go with yourself, because in the end, a concert is not about your friendship, it is about enjoying the music.