It happens to the best of us. Crying at a concert. I’m not talking crazy fan girl who’s crying just because her favorite artist walked out on stage. Don’t do that. I mean the kind where that song just punched you right in the gut and brought back a million memories at once.
If you’ve ever experienced any type of loss in your life, chances are music was one of the things that helped you get through it. Just because you make it through the most difficult part of the grieving process doesn’t mean those feelings go away. Those songs will always hold an association with that loss and there’s a strong possibility those feelings will come flooding back whenever you hear them.
Sometimes you hear those songs when you least expect it, like playing over the speakers somewhere or playing on the radio when you get in your car. But sometimes we know when we’re going to hear them, like when you purposely play them when you’re feeling sad or when you’re going to see an artist in concert.
Concerts are meant to be a full experience. You’re supposed to become overwhelmed with the feelings you get from the music. Most of the time those feelings are excitement and happiness, but sometimes that music can bring back memories of the sadder kind. Most artists want to make music that fans will connect with. What stronger connection can you make than relating it to a difficult time in your life?
I love concerts, they’re my happy place, my escape from reality, but this just happened to me again last weekend. It’s not the first time, but it was a time when I didn’t expect it. I lost my dad recently and music is where I still find the most comfort. He loved country music and the most cathartic thing I did for myself at the time was make a playlist of country songs about dads and songs about loss. We actually played this playlist at the funeral. I don’t know if anyone else even noticed, but I did. I can probably tell you every song that’s on there without looking, so I usually know when I’ll be hearing them at a concert.
Most of the time, I can prepare myself. I typically get really wrapped up in the positive experience, that I can make it through those sad three minutes without too much emotional reaction. However, it also depends how the artist introduces the song. Sometimes they just breeze right into it and through it, but other times they take a minute to make a statement or even talk about what the song means to them. The later option is what happened this weekend. Justin Moore, being the standup guy that he is, took a moment to acknowledge the military, teachers, nurses, police officers, and other groups that often go unrecognized. Then led into how he wrote “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away” for his grandfathers and encouraged everyone to take this time to remember anyone they had lost too soon.
Cue the water works.
I don’t mean that I was sobbing uncontrollably, just some tears streaming down my face. Enough so that I could not deny that I was crying. But you know what’s the best thing about country music fans? They get it. After the song was over, this older man leaned over to me to ask if I was okay. I just said yes, thanked him, and told him my dad recently passed away. He said he figured it was something of the sort, then later leaned back over to say, “it never goes away.”
I think he’s right about that. I’m sure this won’t be the last time I cry at a concert. And I’m also sure that I’m never going to feel bad about it either. If an artist puts a song out with the goal for it to really send a message and you connect with that message on a whole different level, then you just gave a small part of meaning to their career. If we’re supposed to be overwhelmed with emotion by the concert experience, then you’re just getting your money’s worth. There’s no limit on the emotions you’re allowed to feel during a ninety-minute set. If someone else in the crowd has a problem with you having feelings, then screw them. They have their own problems to deal with.
So, to all my people who have ever got a little overly emotional at a concert, here’s to you.
And, again, to those of you that fangirl cry just because you see somebody famous… please stop.