The concert as therapy

Feb 29, 2020

And thus, we begin with a word I consider taboo. Therapy. Like medicinal, or healing, this word implies there's something wrong with the one who undergoes the activity. Before we get to concerts, let's quickly mention therapy.

First off, most times there's nothing wrong. I mean, things can be wrong, and professional help should most definitely be searched for when there's real risk involved. But for myself, this has yet to be the case.

What is very real, however, is that I have various somewhat esoteric needs. I don't think that's anything special per se, as I'm sure many other people do as well. Maybe you need to be in nature, or you need to pump adrenaline by doing some extreme sport... I, however, need loud music while surrounded by strangers, close to a stage (among other things in life). I just like to think of them as esoteric, for these needs are very high up Maslow's pyramid.

It is a need, not a want. I reckon that my energy level and my ability to focus is sometimes influenced, ever so slightly, by the presence of a concert in my recent history. It is not a strong requirement. I can easily dodge concerts for months and be a very functional human being. Yet it is instinctively clear within the days after I have recharged my batteries with some powerful well crafted audio, life is just a tiny bit better.

I clearly see the act as some from of therapy, some activity I do to adjust my state of mind. And some activity of intrinsic value, whether I enjoy it with others or not.

Two things have helped me realize this.

  1. I once had brought a very close friend to a concert, only to realize that person didn't care much for the experience. Afterwards, I no longer felt obligated to invite other people. I enjoyed concerts more, simply for what they were.
  2. The way I let go of my body and I just dance (very poorly) without a care in the world. That very welcomed mood started with an undefinable post rock concert a few years ago, and slowly made its way into other aspects of my life and I am grateful for it.

It's not a thing about loyalty to a band, even though that can at times be a part of it. I let go, and I recharge in the presence of music I've never heard of in my life! If the context is right, if the sound is good enough, and if the tune excites excites and surprises my brain... it is, instead, pure catharsis I need, and oh so greatly enjoy. A conscious feeling of melting away and being carried by the current.

PS. Yes, the creature with a red shirt in that photo is me.