The Concert Experience
Tales From The Pit [Part 1]
Concerts some thing that I honestly can say I live and breathe for. I go to them a lot, they make my day when they are on. and I always get excited coming up to a show. But I know so many people that haven’t experienced the joy for a number of reasons. so I am here to try and convince you why you should.
This is going to be a 3 part series. In part one we will explore my love for live music. Part 2 will be more about going to concerts on your own a topic which I have very little imp put on, but Hector has plenty. and finally we will explore the world of music festivals.
So as I said above I am writing these to try and convince other blind people to go out and experience the joys of live music. But more then that, these series of blog posts serves a much more self indulgent purpose. it gives me a chance to tell some of my favourite stories.
I also want to take this moment to thank Hector who some of you will know as Quacker for his help not only with some of the areas that I was lacking on for these articles. But also to add his voice to my message, to share some of his stories.
He will be a main feature in part 2 how ever he will also be in both parts 1 and 3.
I should also mention here that I am very in to heavy metal. So allot of what I am talking about is to do with heavy metal shows. But Hector has been to other types of shows so don’t expect it all to be about the metal!
The crowd is always restless just before a band goes on stage. Sound check is done, the instruments are sitting waiting for people to take them up. The crowd will randomly break out in to chants of the bands name. or just general screaming and cheering.
For a sighted person they know that shit is about to happen. The lights go down the back ground music will stop, and what ever the bands intro is will start to play.
For a blind person that shift in music is the best give away. but even if not the energy in the room will change. and at the for sight of a band member the scattered cheers will become a torrent of sound!
Those first few moments are like no other part of the show. If you are at the front of a mosh pit, the crush of bodies around you that you thought couldn’t get any closer will find a way to do just that. If your in the middle suddenly people will be moving all around you, and you will be pulled in any number of directions.
If you are at the back the rush of displaced air as dozen, hundreds or even thousands of people rush to try and get as close as they can to the band as they strike up the first note, the first chord of that very first song!
This energy that comes as all of these people come together in support of the band is electric and can’t be matched.
The first show!
Most people that are in to music. Especially those who love live music will likely remember there first show. For me that means we have to wind the clock back to January 21st 2009. Me and 2 school friends all aged just 15 went to see Bullet for my valentine headline a show while they were down in Australia on the Big Day Out music festival.
We wind the clock back to January 21st 2009. I saw Bullet for my Valentine crush a live set here in Sydney. While I can honestly say it was not the best show quality wise. It was never the less an amazing show and something I will remember for a long time.
When I think about that night I remember thinking how much I would love to see some of the other bands I liked at the time. I have seen most of those bands live now. I have stood in that same room and watched a dozen or more other bands play on that same stage. While I have seen some amazing shows nothing can take away from this being my first show.
I asked Hector about his first concert experience and I believe he enjoyed it and by the sounds of it, Well remembers it.
My first concert experience was a headlining show for a now-broken up Danish metal band called Trail of Tears at their Corona, California stop on their 2008 North American tour. My brother and I were fans of both the headlining act and one of the opening bands, Echo’s of Eternity, and at around twelve years old, my brother thought I was old enough to go to my first metal show. There wound up being an issue where, for some reason, Echoes of eternity didn’t make it to the show, but I had a blast. The venue was tiny, the music was loud, and I’ve been hooked ever since. To top it off, we stuck around after the show, and I got to meet most of the members of Trail of Tears.
Loving live music!
So why do people love live music? From shows with a few dozen people to festivals with hundreds of thousands.
We all feel some level of acceptance. No matter how weird you are you can feel like you belong at a show.
Plus the live atmosphere is something like nothing else.
Favourite concert experience?
Picking a favourite was actually quite hard. At the end of this article you will find some of my favourite shows.
But for me my favourite was probably Slipknot with Lamb of God and In Hearts Wake.
This show was not only an amazing line up bringing 3 of my favourite bands together, But it had fantastic sound and amazing atmosphere and a brilliant crowd.
It was a perfect storm for me and I had an amazing night.
I once again refer to Hector and asked him about his favourite concert and he had this to say.
My favourite concert experience was seeing Nightwish at the Greek Theatre here in LA. I was in the front row in the pit, and it was hands down the most incredible case of a band being so perfectly mixed into the venue they’re playing I have ever heard. Whoever was handling sound that night deserves a gold medal. Plus, as someone who was first inspired to get into music by them, it was something special to finally say I have played on the same stage as my heroes, having performed at the Greek Theatre during a high school battle of the bands several years before.
The Dangers of the Crowd
Can concerts be a dangerous place. Honestly the answer is yes. But if you are smart they don’t have to be.
I have been to some fucked up shows. But most of the worst shows for danger have been small death metal shows.
In the end the safest place at shows like that is the back.
Stay out of the pit at dangerous shows and you should be fine. As for larger shows again I speak of heavy metal here. But as long as you aren’t stupid and understand what you are getting into and where you are. You shouldn’t be in any real danger.
Worst concert experience
Worst concert was much easier then favourite.
In June 2012 I went to see a band called buried in Verona and nothing went right the hole night!
First my friend got us lost on the way to venue. We ended up making us walk over 40 minutes that we didn’t need to.
We missed the first band because of that.
When we finally got to the show it turns out it was an old church and the sound quality in that room was terrible.
Of the 5 bands we did see most were pretty shit.
To add to the fun of the evening it started raining. This had a 2 fold effect on the evening. First it meant we couldn’t sit outside. The second part was that all the smokers stood in the door smoking but this just filled the venue with the smell of smoke.
Over all it wasn’t really worth remembering.
So obviously I asked our now good friend hector about his worst experience.
My worst concert experience wasn’t because of the concert itself, but for the conditions of the day of the show. While visiting my family in Texas in 2010, my cousin and I went to the Dallas stop of the Rock star Energy Mayhem Fest. I was in Texas for three weeks, and there wasn’t a single day where the temperature didn’t go well past 100 degrees. Those who lived in the area knew well enough what to expect, and I remember my cousin telling me there were even some girls who showed up in swimsuits. I, on the other hand, had packed nothing but my usual attire that consists of a lot of metal band T-shirts, which of course have to be all black. The festival started just past noon and went to near midnight, so I got plenty of hours to overheat. To make things worse, we didn’t have much cash on us to buy drinks, and going back to the cooler we had in his car was out of the question. So we each paid $6 for a bottle of water, which we then did our best to keep full using the water fountains around the fairgrounds, which of course put out nothing but boiling water.
So yes you can have a bad experience. But at least for me. For every bad experience I have had, I have had 30 or more good ones.
Concerts are amazing and I hope any one that has not been to a show thinks again and decides to go enjoy that thing that is called live music!
The Favourites list of Hannibal
So as promised above, some of my favourite concerts.
These are going to be in chronological order instead of best order because I find it hard to order them properly.
January 21st 2009: Bullet For My Valentine:
I spoke of this show above. It was my first show and that is how it makes this list.
November 13th 2010: Despised Icon:
This made the list for a few reasons. First death metal show I went to. Secondly 1 of the opening bands invited me and my friend to stand on stage with them which was cool. Finally the guitarist from Despised Icon gave me a pick at the end of the show.
May 26th 2011: The Destroy Music Tour:
This was a fucking amazing show. Me and my friend got let in first and we spent the hole show front and centre. I got picks from both the main 2 bands that played as well as a set list from 1 of them. The lead singer from the main act also gave me a free hoody after the show.
April 30th : 2012 August Burns Red
I don’t really have allot to say about why this was an amazing show. The line up was amazing, The sound quality was brilliant and it was just a really fun evening.
February 22 2014 : Eminem
I grew up listening to Eminem thanks to my oldest brother. So while he puts on a fantastic show. For me it was the chance to see this artist was actually quite special for me.
September 6th 2014 : Devildriver
This was a high energy mammoth heavy metal show. 3 bands Aversions Crown, Whitechapel and Devildriver who just smashed it in the best sounding heavy show I have ever been to.
November 30th 2016: Alestorm:
Pirate metal, basically get drunk and have fun. So that is what I did. They are fun and silly and it was allot of fun.
May 6 2016 : iron Maiden
Iron Maiden formed more then 10 years before I was born, yet seeing them in 2016 demonstrated how most modern bands get it wrong. They were theatrical but it was absolutely one of my favourite shows I have ever been to.
October 29th 2016 : Slipknot
Again I talked about this above but it is obviously in my top 10 so here it is again.
January 19 2018 : Parkway drive
This makes it in this list for so many reasons. The line up was quality. The headlining act in Parkway Drive killed it. But really this was my 100th concert so. nuff said.