Why it’s Okay to Go to a Concert Alone

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By John Walaszek

When I first moved to Chicago, I didn’t go see Bone Thugs-n-Harmony at Double Door because I couldn’t find anyone to go with. It was a Monday, but I guess nobody else wanted to unwind and go see Bizzy. So I didn’t go to the show, two blocks away from my apartment, because I didn’t want to go by myself.

There’s a weird stigma with doing something by yourself in public. There are certain things we accept doing alone, and other things that we do not. Instead of going to the show I probably just got high and watched Chappelle's Show, by myself. Watching shows and movies on your own in your own home is okay, but when other people can actually see you watching Life of Pi by yourself, it becomes extremely uncomfortable.

So when I couldn't find anyone to come and see The Orwells a few months ago, I bit the bullet and went alone. It was weird at first, but then kind of great. Complete freedom. Like sleeping naked for the first time. But when I tell people about that show, I get mixed reactions. A lot of people have told me that they admire my courage, like I overcame some tragedy, and that they could never go to a show alone. Others express jealousy, saying they wish they could do something like that.

Life happens, but you shouldn’t miss out on something because you’re too scared to walk to another building and stand there alone for two hours. Not to mention a building that is packed with music, people, and liquor. It’s impossible to end up spending the whole time alone.

However, I know that a lot of people can’t even fathom doing this, and that’s why I put together a list of things to remember just in case Bone Thugs-n-Harmony are playing down the street from your apartment and nobody else wants to go.

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  • Chicago87

    I love going to shows alone! Sometimes you end up meeting new friends and sometimes its just a chill night but I still can’t get over the self-consciousness of telling other people I went alone. They seem to think its sad when really I just have alot of friends who can only handle a few concerts a year when I prefer weekly shows :-)

  • John Walaszek

    Or they’re just jealous of your self-confidence and disguise it as pity. Keep rockin’

  • DS

    I hate going to shows with people. They always ruin it for me, be it with their lack of knowledge of the artist, lack of open-mindedness, annoying concert etiquette. THUMBS DOWN TO COMPANY. Alone is the way to go!

  • Jake the Snake

    I went to a show by myself last night for the first time. I ended up having a great time and the freedom was really nice. It felt good to not be tied down to anyone.

  • Dee Jay

    Recently I’ve skipped out on 2 concerts because I couldn’t find anyone else to go with me, but after reading this I feel inspired. Next time I decide to go to a concert I’m gonna try going by myself! Great article P&P!

  • duda

    I absolutely love this article. I made great friends going to concerts by myself.

  • cruz

    Yea you sound like the worst person to go to a show with ever hahaha

  • http://relaxedmaniac.tumblr.com/ doug_hefferlegs

    I went to a CHVRCHES concert alone last month and it was honestly the best show I’ve seen. I really did not want to go by myself at first. All my friends had plans, but I could not pass up seeing them live. Now I go to shows by myself all the time and have a blast! Wicked article, John!

  • sd

    all these points are about how you’ll be more comfortable and itll be easier and whatnot but when i go to a concert what im paying for is the memories me and my friends will get and shit, im sure a lil wayne songs sounds better on the album thru my headphones than it does live on stage. i just recently passed on the drake vs lil wayne show cuz i dont know anybody to go with and i woulda gone if i knew for sure i was gonna meet ppl there but what if i dont? $70 to just hang by myself lookin at those two? nah

  • John Walaszek

    Yea going solo to a huge concert with stadium tickets is on another level… I’m trying to get at the small shows down the street… you find out someone you love is playing around the corner for $10, don’t back out because no one else is down to go with

  • John Walaszek

    you get it you get it

  • x97sfinest

    This is kinda mandatory for a struggle music journalist

  • icwhatudidthere

    The past few years, I’ve been shooting shows and festivals, so I invariably end up going alone, even to music festivals. Even with that experience, the stigma is so ingrained in us, it still feels a little weird to go to a show alone when I’m not working the show!
    Definitely helps to have a scenario in your head, like thinking, “if anyone asks, I’ll tell em I’m press but couldn’t get a +1″, which is usually true. But going alone definitely has its perks. There are also some shows where it’s just too hard to coordinate getting tickets, like something that sells out in minutes or a surprise pop up show. And it’s true, it really doesn’t take much effort at all to meet new people at a show, really it’s even easier than at a bar or a club.

  • sobercool

    It all boils down to “No one is paying attention to you.”

  • tmx

    all true! and dont go to your favorite band with your favorite girlfriend

  • Tiddo

    I’ve been going to show alone quite a bit for the past 10 years or so. And I never was aware people would consider this to be courageous or anything. I just wanna have some fun and if my friends aren’t coming I’ll have fun without them. Pretty simple.

  • THAT GUY

    YO I’M GOING TO CHANCE ALONE NEXT WEEK IN LONDON – IF YOU SEE ME COME HOLLA!

  • Boliji

    Bravo and thank you. Exactly the same as travelling solo. I desperately wanted to go to India when I was younger but nobody wanted to come with so I got tired of waiting and flew. That was just the start-I met THE best friends who I’m still friends with 15 years later. I’m inspired !!

  • Drew

    Im going to Music Midtown alone.

  • http://www.pamploo.com/ Pamploo

    I’ve been to numerous concerts alone. I saw The Internet alone last friday and I’m actually going to see Allen Stone tonight all-by-myself. You always meet people that are as hyped as you

  • jessmmeyer

    I used to miss out on stuff, too, because no one was interested in going with me. Then I started going alone, and not only did I meet cool people, or run into people I knew, but it’s true – you get to do whatever you want!

  • a real[ly] nice guy.

    yeah, i actually go to an assload of concerts (small, huge stadium shows, the whole nine) by myself and at first its cool but I cant lie…I’m pretty well over it, mainly due to the double edge sword that is slide two (no one pays attention to you) and its contradictory slide 5 (you meet people). Might be a personal issue but I dont ever meet anyone. Ever. 95% of the people came with at least one other person and they usually intend to share the experience with that person, so they continue to not pay attention to you. If its an artist/a band that you MUST see I say fuck people and go see it regardless because the personal experience but it really becomes wasteful to hoard all these experiences and not ever have anyone to share them about (kinda over music blogging too…those were the days tho).

  • Mélissa Make Up

    YEAH this article iz so true ! i did it many times and its fucking cool..at first i waz affraid but now i aint got problems with it, its even better..i got to see beyonce alone in september ;)

  • John Walaszek

    I don’t think they’re contradictory, just showing the different possibilities. If you want to go incognito you easily can, but you can also meet people if that’s your goal. It’s whatever you want to make it.

    Lets say 95% did come with someone (which isn’t true), but then 40% of those are awkward dates, and having someone come in and talk to them about music saves their night and yours. Everyone wins.

  • John Walaszek

    you rock

  • tall and now sad

    damn, first it was on the festival suggestions and now this too… some of us can’t help being tall

  • Markinoz

    Been going to some shows alone for years now- love it! Stand where I want; get a drink when I feel like it; don’t have to wait around whilst someone gets their bag out of the cloakroom after the gig; always meet someone to talk to. You’re not really alone – as there are hundreds/thousands of others in the room!

  • luckyjynx

    This article is so true. I’ve been to a bunch of shows alone and I enjoy it every time. I either meet new friends or end up seeing old ones I didn’t know were going to be there. I’m heading to Splendour in the Grass (a three day festival) by myself at the end of the month and can’t wait to not have to worry about timetable clashes with other people’s favourite bands ;)

  • Marie-Claire

    I just bought a ticket to go see Lily Allen kinda spontaneously and I was stressed about going alone but now that I read all these comments I feel excited to go :D

  • Elle

    Thanks for writing this! I love going to concerts alone – just enjoying the music and not having to friggin have dinner or drinks before/after or try to talk over/about the music. I also HATE going with a friend who doesn’t know the band – worst experience ever. I wish more people went to shows alone, there would probably be less bullsh*t!

  • Circa1989

    I love this article! I can relate to it on so many levels. I have been going to shows by myself for years and its great. you meet so many ppl, you are in control.

  • neonix

    To the author: why did you not have the threesome?

  • neonix

    On a more serious note, my recommendation about bringing along friends who are ignorant of the band is to show them their music well before the show. It’s very unlikely they’ll fall in love with their music AT the show, but there’s a chance they may love the music on CD, at their own leisure, in their home or wherever. It gives them the chance to listen to it more than once as well and have it sink in and grow on them. Then they will be more excited for the show.

    …or they will hate it, but then you at least know not to bring them :P

  • Lola

    Lily Allen ?