Last June I stood in the Etihad Stadium in Manchester watching Muse live for the fifth time – little did I know this would be the last gig I would attend in 14 months.
The Coronavirus has obviously reeked havoc all over the world but as we see pubs, restaurants, and shops start to reopen, we start to remember what life was like before all of this. However, one element that seems even further out of reach is going to gig.
At WhatsOnHub, we love live music; it’s one of our favourite nights out. The whole team has spent a large portion of their lives at gigs of different size and genre. We love live music and events so much we created our website to help people discover even more great gigs in their area.
I’ve spent a great deal of my time in lockdown reminiscing about the great times I’ve had at live music gigs throughout my life; even going back and watching some concerts online. However, the feeling isn’t the same. So what is it that makes a live music event so great? Here are the 8 things I miss the most about gigs.
1. Waiting in the queue at the venue
It’s British tradition to take great pride in queuing. But why do we love it so much? Because it’s often the portal to where we want to be. And I think the queue outside a music venue is up there with the best.
Chatting with your pals and fellow music fans alike, ticket clutched in hand; the queue into the venue is one of the most magical queues because you can feel the anticipation coursing through your body. You’re ready to get out of the cold and into the smelly music venue.
2. Checking out the support acts
I’ve discovered some great new acts that I would have never heard of if they weren’t supporting a band that I love. Artists often pick touring support acts who they like – so chances are, you’ll probably like them too!
Getting to the venue early to check out the support acts is probably one of the most satisfying feelings at a gig; especially if they turn out to be excellent.
At some smaller shows, you may find a local band. It’s great to get there early to check them out because you’ll probably make their day.
3. When the lights turn off and the headliner comes on stage
You’ve watched the support acts and now you’re standing chatting with your mates, drinking overpriced beer. Next thing you know the lights switch off and before you can finish your sentence the whole room is screaming. You know the feeling.
If you’re seeing a band with a lot of production value, chances are you’re about to experience some WWE, dramatic walk out with some very deep bass rumbling through your soul.
4. Realising that your favourite bands/artists are actually real people
Obviously I know my favourite bands are real people, but after so many years of seeing them on album covers, magazines, and music videos, it’s almost jarring to see them in real life.
They almost look like a waxwork exhibition – spooky.
5. Experiencing my favourite songs live
This one seems like a simple one; and it is. But the live version is often vastly different from the record and if a band is very authentic, it will experience a different version every time you see them.
Bands put a lot of production on a record which sounds amazing, but you cannot beat that sound of raw guitars and crashing cymbals.
6. Getting the chance to meet my heroes
A lot of my heroes happen to be musicians and getting to meet them after a gig is such a surreal experience. Chances are, if you’re seeing a massive artist you may not get the opportunity to meet them; however, most smaller acts/bands will come out of the venue after a gig to meet the fans.
I’ve had lots of great chats with bands over the years after gigs and I’ve got the slightly embarrassing selfies to prove it.
7. Buying merch to remember the night forever
Do you ever open your drawer and pull out a random black scruffy t-shirt that you bought from a gig and instantly remember the whole night?
Buying merch is a great way to support your favourite artist – especially smaller local acts. Not only does it support the band and crew directly but you walk away with something that will remind of that night forever.
They all end up becoming pyjama tops regardless.
8. Being surrounded by people who love the artist/band
I like to think about a gig as being a part of one massive community where judgement stops at the ticket booth. You’re surrounded by like-minded individuals who will, like you, sing their hearts out to every word. So enjoy it!
When I’m at a gig, I forget about all my worries and live in that moment. And that brings me to today – 14 months since the last gig I attended. If anywhere could help me forget my troubles in these times, a gig would be the perfect place to do it – just arms lengths out of reach. Wear a mask, wash your hands, and let’s get back to the venues when it’s safe to do so.