In high school I lived for shows. Every weekend was spent going to concerts. I would go to watch my friends play in their bands in the basements of nondenominational churches and VFW halls with all the other emo and punk kids from the suburbs. Or I would scrounge up twenty bucks to get to New Haven or Hartford to see one of my favorite bands that happened to be passing through. When I think about being sixteen, I think about the swaying of the crowd as the band strikes its opening notes, fighting my way to the front, avoiding the mosh pit that was bound to open up any second. Shows are a defining feature of my past.
Last week, I got to go to my first show in what felt like ages. My friend Krista was in town to see an amazing band from England, Bastille. I am also a huge fan but the show sold out so I resigned myself with not going. We met up after work and headed into Brooklyn to grab dinner at Two Door Tavern in Williamsburg. A super cute and very Brooklyn-esque restaurant with really great food. I had frickles (fried pickles for those of you not in the know) and fish and chips with lots of malt vinegar on top. Even though I couldn’t see the band, the dinner made up for it. I walked Krista over to the Music Hall of Williamsburg and let her know how to get back to my place in East Harlem. Walking away I debated my options for the evening. I had the season premiere of Grey’s Anatomy on my DVR and decided that it was a good night for TV and a glass of wine. Suddenly my phone rings and it’s Krista–Ticketmaster lied and they were still selling tickets at the door! I turned right around and headed back to venue (thankfully I had only gotten a block or two before Krista called or else I would have hopped on the subway and not gotten her message until I was back in Manhattan).
We got ourselves a beer and hung out by the bar while the opening band went on, then headed upstairs to the stage. The way the venue is set up is that the stage is at the back of the building with the floor space and a balcony. On the floor, there are two raised wings on the side. Krista and I set up shop on the left-hand wing giving us an extremely close unobstructed view of the stage. We got there right as the second band, Little Daylight, was starting their set. I’ve never heard them before but now I’m obsessed. I can’t stop listening to their EP. Their music was super catchy and really got the crowd excited for the show.
Then, it was time. Bastille took the stage. Before I even explain, I just want you to know, it was one of the best performances I’ve ever seen. This is a serious statement for me, since I’ve been to a couple hundred shows ranging from local bands to massive stadium tours. It was the band’s first show in New York. Do you know how rare it is to witness a band’s first New York show? Especially a band that I feel is going to be massive one day. Dan Smith, the lead singer, has a fantastic voice. The band sounded better live than they do on the record. My favorite thing about seeing a live performance is feeling the energy and the emotion of the band. A recording can’t capture it; it can only be experience in those fleeting moments of the performance as it’s happening in real time. I love the feeling of the bass in my chest and the lights in my eyes. They played all my favorites and even covers of Rhythm of the Night and early 2000’s classic, City High’s What Would You Do. They played a truly amazing set and when it ended, even after the encore when Dan walked through the crowd – he literally did a loop of the entire venue, I just wanted more and more. It’s the high you can only get from a great show. Krista and I left the concert with a stunned glee upon our faces and our voices hoarse from screaming every line to every song.
- Dan Smith
- Dan singing his way through the crowd
This show made me feel 16 again. It was utter perfection.