There are only a few other great feelings comparable to the feeling you get at a great rock show.
You’re sweaty, you’re dehydrated, you’re tired, you’re running on empty and yet – if you like the band enough and if you are determined enough – you still sing (or scream) along to every word and you still stomp your feet to the beat of the music and you still want those very few hours spent in that crowded, smoky theater to never end, to never erase themselves from your memory. Nothing can top this feeling. Few things in life are better than a rock show of a band you love.
I attended my first concert in 2014. I was 19 and I saw, for the first time, two bands that I worshipped since I was 12. When they finally came out onto the stage, I remember realizing for the first time how real those people were. They weren’t just actors playing in a music video or models posing for cover shoots. They weren’t just voices that lived in CDs or instruments that constructed sound on demand. They were real people, and they were only a few feet away from where I stood.
So on that day in 2014, when I attended my first concert and when I realized that the musicians I loved were real people, too, I felt happy. I felt so genuinely, completely, unapologetically happy for the first time in a long time. I was sweaty and dehydrated and tired but none of that mattered because I was at a concert and I was having a great time and I was realizing that Happy Places do exist.
I’ve been to a lot of concerts since then. And they never get old, and I never get tired of them. I attended my first show of 2018 at the Peoria Civic Center on January 25. My friend and I arrived about an hour late. Breaking Benjamin was in the middle of a song when we ran down the stairs of the arena and into the general admission pit. By the end of their set, I was already sweaty and dehydrated and tired and then my friend took my hand and led us through the sea of bodies and we landed about four rows away from the barricade.
And then Avenged Sevenfold came out onto the stage. And then, for nearly two hours, I lost myself in the lyrics and the music and the lights and the bodies in the crowd and the feeling in the air.
After they played a few songs, the fans in front of us left (assumingly for more beer or something) and so my friend and I took their spot and then we both ended up leaning against the metal barricade with our arms slung out in front of us. We were watching Avenged Sevenfold perform from the front row of a sold-out arena.
So it’s been a couple days since the concert ended. And even now, thinking about those few hours still fills me with happiness.
There’s a lot of awful things in the world and sometimes it’s hard to feel happy all the time. But I’ve been to enough rock shows to know that happiness comes and goes. Sometimes it sticks for a while, but sometimes it’s hard to find.
But I can always close my eyes and remember how I felt at those rock shows, at all the ones I’ve been to before and all the ones I’ll go to one day. All rock shows end too quickly, but the feeling they bring lasts forever.