The Joy of Going to Concerts Alone

I am just back from yet another fantastic show at DC’s 9:30 Club. As is usual for me, I went to the show alone.

This tends to confuse people. Whenever I mention to someone that I’m going to a concert, the second question (“Oh, who are you going to see” is always the first) is “Who are you going with?” “Nobody, I’m just going by myself” usually elicits either befuddlement or sympathy. People assure me that I’ll have fun anyway, or suggest that going by myself won’t be too bad.

Going to concerts by myself is my most favorite thing ever.

Having other people around is stressful! Perhaps I am too concerned with other people’s happiness, but if I’m bringing someone else to a concert, especially if it’s a band that I’m familiar with and they’re not, I always become more concerned about their welfare than my own. Are they enjoying themselves? Are they getting bumped? Is it too crowded? Do they like the music? Are other people blocking their view of the stage?

And then I get self-conscious about myself. Am I singing? Am I singing too loudly? Am I dancing too much? Do I look like a fool? Do I look like I’m having too good a time? Do I look like I’m not having a good time?

Of course, there is also the question of where we stand while at the show. I have seen three of my most favorite bands while trapped in the balcony, because I was there with other people, and that’s where they wanted to go, and I’m too much of a people-pleaser. It was like watching a concert on television. There are a handful of bands I am really quite fond of, and when they’re playing a show, I want to be right up in the thick of things.

There’s a certain sort of energy generated in the first few rows of a good crowd that I am firmly convinced has healing qualities. And if this means that stage divers are landing on my head, or there is a large quantity of squealing and cheering in my immediate space, I’m okay with that. Hell, it’s part of the experience. It’s more than worth it, for the feeling you get from being there, from being part of the crowd. And I simply can’t lose myself in that if I’m with someone I know.

Plus, depending on the crowd, I sometimes make friends with whoever’s standing around me. Certain bands draw a certain type of person, and if they’re as excited as you are, they’re probably talking about it. I have chatted, played cards, shared candy, and even waltzed with strangers standing next to me at shows. (The waltzing was appropriate, I promise.) I’m not responsible for these strangers, and they’re just as into it as I am. There’s no pressure!

The one huge exception to the “concerts are always better alone” rule is this: going to a show with the person who introduced you to the band. This works, for reasons I can’t entirely identify. If, like me, most of your closest friends are scattered across the country and globe, this is quite the rare occurrence. But, if somehow, you, the band, and the friend that got you into that band in the first place are all in the same city, it can indeed be a magical experience.

So what about you? Do you go ever go to concerts alone? Is it your favorite thing, or something you only do if you can’t convince anyone else to go with you?

By CherriSpryte

CherriSpryte wants you to know that The Great Pumpkin loves you.

7 replies on “The Joy of Going to Concerts Alone”

I go to shows alone all the time. Post-high school, I never had many friends with the same taste in music as me, so if I want to see bands I like, I have to see then by myself. Now I have some friends and acquaintances that I see at shows, but I rarely, if ever, actually go with them. It’s more that if we both happen to be at the same show, we’ll see each other there.

It definitely takes a lot of pressure off. You don’t have to wait for other people to get their act together and buy tickets, hoping it doesn’t sell out. No arguments about when to arrive (What if I want to see all the opening bands but someone else is content rolling right before the main act?). And a lot of the things you said — stand wherever you want, act however you like.

I also tend to feel really awkward when I’m standing with people but not talking. It’s not too bad when the show is on and you’re all focused on that, but between acts some places play recorded music at top volume so I just kind of stand there like a dork.

I almost always go to shows alone, and when I go with someone it’s always someone who’s really into the band and thus also wants to go ridiculously early to get a good spot (off the top of my head, one person went with me to Lisa Hannigan in October, and a small group to see Andrew Bird last December). But then again, my taste in music is very diverse (I like everything from punk to really mellow folk), and my friends tend to just like folk, so if I want to go to a punk show it’s usually alone (which presents its own problems as a five-foot-two/under ninety pounds biological female, but that’s another post). But even at those shows, usually we’re not “together” once the show starts, and I don’t notice much of a difference between shows I went with someone and shows I went to alone aside from having someone to talk to during the wait in line and once we’re in the venue.

Concerts are the one solo adventure I’ve shied away from, but that’s going to have to change (you know, once I have a job and actual money again) because my BFFs have kids now and they just can’t get out like they used to.

And I don’t want to take others for all the reasons listed above…I just don’t want the responsibility (perceived) of someone else’s enjoyment of a band I like.

So yeah…when job comes, solo concert adventures will be mine to have and hold and cuddle and call George.

I usually take one person with me.  I have one really good friend who likes to be in the thick of it all with me, so he’s the perfect concert going companion. As much as I love the show, I also like having someone who shared it with me to talk about it with.  But neither of us cares if we get separated at the show, so it works out well.



confession.  i was supposed to go alone to a show tonight, but it’s been a crazy week and i feel really crappy so i…didn’t go.  sigh. i feel bad, but the ticket was mad cheap…..but still. blahhh.


kudos to you, though.  you’ve inspired me to actually go to a show alone, though!

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