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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Tuesday, March 28, 2023

How to be solitary at concerts and love it

To say I’ve seen a lot of concerts in my relatively short span of time seeing concerts may almost be an understatement. From AC/DC to ZZ Top, it’s tougher for me to name a band or artist I haven’t seen than it is to name the one’s I have—or at least it feels that way sometimes.

But not everyone wants to go see Papadosio or Dragon Smoke as much as I do. And that’s OK. But when it comes to finding people to go see music with, particularly when it comes to lesser-known bands, it can be a real challenge.

When I first started covering shows, the novelty of seeing a band for free, no matter who, was enough of a reason to go to a concert, plus-one or not. I was there ostensibly to be an objective reporter of the happenings on the stage and didn’t necessarily need a companion to write a review.

Furthermore, as I began seeing more and more jazz shows (mostly due to a good connection to numerous clubs’ PR person), between the quiet policies that show up at numerous clubs and the need for me to pay attention to detail (as I typically knew a dearth of songs performed), it mattered less whether someone was with me.

But this is all a great big appetizer to the entrée that is this column (an extremely lengthy lead if you will): the hidden joy of attending a concert by yourself.

For those of you who have never done this, it takes a tenacity of spirit that some don’t have. For some of you, a trip to your local theater or rock club will be a nightmare experience, but for others of you, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience.

The first thing one needs to do is avoid the temptation to bury your head in your phone. Set breaks present themselves as a prime time to check Twitter or pretend to have friends and wait for non-existent iMessages to come rolling in, but if you can resist that urge, you could actually find yourself meeting some interesting people.

Typically those who are seeing a band are a fan of the band and if you are going to a concert by yourself, you’re probably a fan of the band too. Is that common ground? Why, yes it is!

If none of your friends are joining you at this band’s show, then they almost definitely aren’t going to be able to discuss the b-side off their 2007 record that only came out in Japan. The guy standing next to you wearing a 2007 tour shirt might be just the guy to talk about that with.

Do you like standing in the front row? How about getting there as early as you would like and standing wherever you would like? If that’s something you might be interested in, maybe seeing a show by yourself is the way to go for you.

Furthermore, let’s say that standing in the front row is your thing; you know who else likes standing in the front row: huge fans of the band that’d love nothing more than to discuss the deep cut off the band’s 2004 record.

Shifting gears a bit, when you go to a movie (often seen as an activity to be shared with friends) you’re not supposed to talk. When you go to a concert, also an activity shared with friends, you are allowed to talk, but depending on the genre, it’s often discouraged.

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If a concert is social hour for you and your friends, depending on the genre, that is totally acceptable and makes sense. But for some of us, we are there to appreciate the band on stage.

While some of your friends may be accepting of that, others may just be there to have a good time. If you are one that just wants to enjoy the music, going by yourself lets you do that, from wherever you want in the venue and at set break, you can make friends while letting the music speak for itself while a band is on stage.

I’ve always contended the best way to appreciate a band is to see them live and if you can’t get a friend to see your favorite neo-punk Swedish folk band, then just go by yourself. Who knows, maybe you’ll meet your neighbor from freshman year there or just have a great, unadulterated experience.

Have you ever gone to a concert alone and had a great time? Or was it completely horrible experience? Email Brian your story at

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