Friday night crowds at the Aragon Ballroom
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Friday night, and hundreds of people are lined up to get in, most foregoing seasonal outerwear to be comfortable once they are inside. Chattering away in anticipation of what they are about to see, a cheer is let out by all once the doors open.
As my friend and I hurried into the Aragon Ballroom to ensure ourselves a good spot in front of the stage, the atmosphere consumed us. We were giddy walking towards the stage. We could still hear each other over the recorded music and jovial conversation.
The Aragon looked historic yet charmingly modern. The vibrant architecture of the twenties blended with the modern alternative rock scene. The ceiling of the ballroom was painted in an outer-space inspired theme. He had never been to a concert before, but I knew what we were in for. This night would be one not be forgotten for a long a time.
Seeing a good band perform live is a life-changing experience. The feelings of euphoria and the general good mood that a musician performing live can give is completely incredible.
“Live music is completely different than recorded,” Junior Sean O’Brien said. “You really get your heart into it, especially when the artist has good stage presence or interacts with the crowd. It’s just so much more engaging.”
Two songs into their set, Cage the Elephant’s lead guitarist and lead vocalist were in the crowd, half crowd-surfing and half moshing as they were performing. Their willingness to be in the thick of their fans made the show so much better. I knew they were interested in their fans and not above them.
Seeing a live artist adds a visual layer to the music that is impossible to recreate. Many musicians often add little spins on their music that make it different than the recorded version. These things give you an appreciation for how an artist conveys the meaning and message of his or her work. It’s a very complicated, euphoric feeling, and it’s almost ineffable.
“Seeing a live band is so much more authentic,” junior Dana Balog said. “You get to hear the passion in their voice and see how much they love what they do. You get to watch your favorite music come to life in front of your eyes.”
This shared feeling of excitement to see the music you are passionate about creates a sense of community within the audience. No one has personal space, yet no one minds.
“The atmosphere is really unique,” O’Brien said. “Everyone is there for the same reason, so you have that in common.”
This sense of togetherness is what makes seeing a great band an amazing experience. Everyone is there in a common goal and it gives personification to the music. You may have listened to a song thousands of times, but the music is not alive. Seeing a person making the music happen in real time and seeing the passion that is present in the art is what makes the music so much better.
The lead vocalist danced in ways that would normally look sort of unnatural, but it fit with his passion and the music so well that I’ll be able to visualize it for a long time. His sort of body roll with excited jumping would usually look awkward, but it looked so natural as he sang. His movements just seemed to make sense, as if they were a logical extension of the music.
Part of seeing this passion creates a relationship between the audience and performer. The way the artist or band members interact with the crowd and each other makes the experience so much more personal.“I like feeling like I’ve gotten to know someone,” Balog said.
Seeing live music is truly a unique experience. There is a palpable air of excitement that permeates the venue. Even if the music is not your favorite band or even your favorite genre, the energy of live music creates an air of joy.
“The feeling live music gives you is the kind of thing that doesn’t go away,” college freshman, and concert veteran Drew Brown said. “It’s awesome every time.”
Even if tickets are a little expensive, or it is just a local band playing at a small venue, a good show can be very therapeutic. If you find the time after finals, it may be the perfect way to relax into your summer break.