Recently, I rediscovered something I hadn’t felt in a little while.
Let me just preface this by saying; I’ve been to quite a few rock shows over the past few years but being 19 going on 20, I haven’t been to anywhere near as many as some.
Where has the fun gone?
Now before you get all defensive, hear me out. I’ve definitely been to some very very amazing shows that I could not and would not dare to criticise. However, I saw one particular show at Wembley recently that gave me a whole new perspective.
I’m used to going to a show and it feeling like it’s hitting all the usual beats. Go in, watch supports bands I may or may not care about, watch the main band play, get into a few pits and have a right good sing along to some of my favourite songs. There’s nothing wrong with that though right? Right. My problem stems from the fact that it seems mostly all shows are just that nowadays, without much added in the way of spectacle.
Maybe it’s my naivety coming from a relatively young age but it just seems to me the genre is getting a little stale, what I’ve seen of it anyway. From small shows where the band can’t really do much more than occupy what space they have to, big shows where bands may have a big set and some pyro but don’t do much with it. Where’s the “wow” factor? I’d lowered my expectations to the point where I basically gauged how good a live show was by how battered and bruised I felt afterwards, as if that showed any indication of the amount of fun I had.
But don’t get me wrong, I am still a firm believer in a show being mostly about the music itself and how it makes you feel, but if that was all I was looking for, I’d have no need to go to one. I could purely just sit at home and have that same feeling listening to the same songs.
When I go to a live show, I want to hear the music, see the band and feel like a part of something bigger than myself. And for the most part? I do. However, I guess I got quite jaded with this feeling over time, just knowing what to expect from mostly any show before I’d even been. Maybe it’s just the bands I happen to see?
So back to that recent Wembley show. I can’t beat around the bush here. It was Babymetal. For anyone who thinks I just lost any credibility, I apologise. Though I do have a point.
The best way I can describe my feeling about that show was the conversation I had with my friend afterwards. We spent a good while in awe and even after hearing the criticisms people had about it, we both were shocked at what we had just witnessed. From the start, we were surrounded by people who weren’t singing along with the classics being played by Daniel P Carter such as Last Resort, Duality etc (seriously, if you hear Duality and don’t sing along I have no time for you) we were both kind of bummed out and thought the crowd might ruin this gig if they weren’t willing to mosh. Just think about that. We had turned up to see a band we both enjoyed and we were already dismissing the show based on the crowd. If that doesn’t tell you something, I don’t know what will.
From the second the show started though, I honestly didn’t care much about what was happening around me, I just had a smile on my face for the whole time they were on. Now don’t get me wrong, the crowd did pick up massively and I was getting stuck in as much as my body would allow me, but that was not what made the gig for me. When it dawns on you that you’ve traveled miles to watch a band from a foreign country who for the most part, don’t sing in a language that you understand, spend their time on stage doing dance routines to each song and have such a ridiculous mash up of music most people refuse to even accept can work. I went from being in some of the most insane pits of my life to having my arms around a line of other people from different countries as we all sang along to lyrics we didn’t all understand. But that didn’t matter. I wasn’t there just because it was some band I liked. I was there to have fun. I was there dance like an idiot to some J-pop/metal fusion and then get stuck in to a wall of death (just to add to that as well, in all my years on this planet, I have refused to dance.). I was there to experience something majorly new and exciting to me.
Now, people did criticise the show and say it could’ve been better, looking at shows they’ve played in the past in Japan. Also even my friend, who I just said also loved the show, said that there were certain points he noticed a slight slip up in their dance routines, making them a tad out of time. But even he followed it up with “they’re only human”. Which I think perfectly brings whatever this piece of writing is to an end. Being human, we’re all going to have our opinions and if you like going to shows that are mostly the same as the last just with different songs, be my guest because I will too. I’m just going to be more mindful in the future and hope more artists try new things. Make audiences genuinely surprised and leave the show how I did on the night of Babymetal.
“What the hell did I just see?”