Among my 14 things to do this year, was going to a concert alone. I hadn’t been to a concert in ages and realized part of the reason was not having anyone to go with. When I caught wind of The 1975 coming to town, I snapped up presale tickets and hoped I would find a friend to go with by the time the concert came. But a few weeks after purchasing, I decided not to talk someone into going with me. I decided to have the experience with me, myself, and I. I had gone to shows alone before, but it was a little different. I went alone, but I had a certainty that I would run into, and hangout with friends there. So at the end of it, I still basically ‘went with friends.’
We live in a weird society that almost pressures you into sharing all your experiences with someone. Whether it is physically, by inviting others along, or digitally (as I am doing now) by posting it on some social network, or blog, we rarely do something just for us without the intention of having others join in or validate the experience. Honestly, when was the last time you went out alone just because you wanted to enjoy something for yourself? ‘
This pressure to have someone there, or at least have others know, made it difficult at times to stick to my goal of attending and experiencing the show alone. I found myself itching to ask someone, anyone. “Please, please, please come with me; I don’t want to look like a loser and go by myself.” But in the end, I arrived at the show by myself, and rocked out to my favorite band without the intention of telling all my friends about it.
If you’ve ever wanted or needed to go to a show alone, here are some things to keep in mind; based on my experience.
1. Depending on the concert, you may have to arrive early and standing in line for even 30min (let alone 3 hours) with no one to talk to, and get hyped up with, can be a little boring. It may be the moment when you realize you are alone there, because everyone else around you will be taking selfies with their friends and chit chatting about the up coming show, or just life in general. If you can’t stand the loneliness or just want to help the time pass quicker, join in on a conversation or make a buddy in the line. I managed to meet 4 hardcore fans that I spent time with throughout the night and it made the experience a lot better. Yes, there were still times I was left-out or alone because joining a group is not the same as being part of it, but the fact that we shared a love of the band helped to form a kind of bond with us, which made me appreciate the night more than if I had brought a friend who was only there to tag along.
2. You don’t have to cater to anyone. One of the things I liked about going alone was doing what I wanted, when I wanted (for the most part). I’m all for compromising, but getting to pick the spot I wanted without consenting to anyone, not having to wait around for friends to use the bathroom or get band merch, even being able to go home when I wanted without feeling guilty or at the mercy of anyone was refreshing. I know people who travel alone can kind of relate. It’s nice have friends around, but sometimes it’s nice to have the freedom to do what you like.
3. The downside of the above is there no one to hold your spot (unless you meet some nice helpful people) or (and this was the worst part) take pictures of you and the show. Yes, you’ll have your own pictures but what if they don’t turn out? You also have to hope someone will stop and take pictures of you at the show or when you meet the band (which I did). I was lucky that I made some friends there who stuck around with me to get pictures with Mattew Healy, but had I not I may not have been able to get a good shot with him, which would have lessened the experience. There’s a reason photo sharing sites are so popular, pictures help to validate and boost an experience. The more photos you have, the more real it all seems. On the off chance something happens to your phone or camera, ir’s nice to know your friends were able to capture the moment.
4. Pre and after concert excitment. Because you won’t have anyone to talk to. You pretty much have to keep all your enthusiasm to yourself. Part of going to a show though is talking about it, both before and after. As nice as it is experience something entirely for yourself, you can feel a weird loneliness when everyone around you is hugging and talking about how much fun they had, and you simply walk out and go home. I loved the show, but my love for it was expanded by the fact that the people I acquainted let me share the experience with them. We all enjoyed the show, and we all gushed for hours after it. If I had to keep all that in, it would have been difficult.
5. On the flip side, going alone, and enjoying something by yourself, is better than having a friend tag along who really doesn’t want to be there. If it’s your favorite band, bring someone that at least has some interest in the band, or at the very least likes the genre. There is nothing worse than seeing a show with someone who can’t wait for it to be over.
6. You aren’t exactly alone. The best part about seeing a concert made up of hardcore fans is the energy that runs through the room. I spent most of the concert singing and dancing alone, but I didn’t feel alone. I felt one with all the fans. If you can simply get into the experience, you can completely forget that you didn’t bring anyone with you. Chances are, even if you don’t make a new concert buddy, the energy of the fans will help remind you of why you are there in the first place and that makes the experience a lot less lonely.
I would absolutely go to another concert alone. As much as I love having my friends and family to enjoy things with, it’s not mandatory. If a band you like is coming to town, or you want to see a movie, or even travel somewhere, GO! Don’t make the excuse “I have no one to go with, so I’m not going.” You’ll miss out on opportunities if you do.