I’m not a music expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I do love going to concerts.
My current concert count is forty-eight—I keep a list in the notes section of my phone or I would lose track—and I’m honestly not sure whether to be proud or ashamed of that number.
Full disclosure: I did see some artists multiple times (eleven of those forty-eight were Ben Rector concerts) but we digress.
My most recent show was Bear’s Den in Grand Rapids. I drove eight hours from Saint Louis, running on too little sleep and too much caffeine, and stopped at HopCat for some of their infamous fries before the show.
Bear’s Den is usually playing in cities like London and Berlin, so when we saw Grand Rapids on the tour schedule, we knew we had to go. We arrived and got our wristbands about thirty minutes before the show started, and miraculously snagged a spot to stand at the front of the Pyramid Scheme crowd.
For those unfamiliar with Bear’s Den’s music, they are a British folk rock band. If that combination sounds unique, it definitely is. They experiment with everything from electronic sounds to brass instruments, and their lyrics don’t shy away from difficult subjects. Their songs are raw and touch on alcoholism, loss, and loneliness in an authentic way—you can tell they’ve lived through the stories woven in their lyrics.
One of the things I love most about concerts is the way the musicians interact with the crowd. As the show kicked off, I could tell Bear’s Den was surprised that we actually knew their songs. They would smile and laugh when the crowd started singing along, word for word, to both old and new songs. Needless to say, they were in agreement that Grand Rapids was the best audience of the tour so far.
And that’s the only time that group of those exact people will be in a room together, singing songs that have touched our lives in different ways. Surely someone in the crowd that night had been moved to tears by one song, or sung another loudly in the car. Or, like my friend and I, had listened to these songs on repeat during train rides and while walking the walls in England. The songs held different memories for all of us and likely meant something totally different to the band.
But regardless of our varying interpretations, concerts are a shared experience. The songs affect us all in different ways, helping us communicate what’s hard to say in everyday conversation.
So as Bear’s Den sang the line “you don’t have to be lonely alone,” I realized that though I knew only one person in the audience, it felt like we all could relate.
If we can all connect with the same music, our souls must be similar in some way. And if concerts bring alive this rare type of link, why wouldn’t I see as many as possible?
It seems I’m going to need a permanent concert allowance in my budget.
Olivia graduated from Calvin in May 2018 with a double major in business (human resources) and writing. She is currently living and working in St. Louis, Missouri but is eager to find a new city and a new adventure.