On the frigid night of November 30, from the stage of the Murat theatre, Fitz and the Tantrums, with a block-leveling opener from Phantogram, set ablaze a remote area of Indianapolis (figuratively – calm down you pyromaniac). Phantogram gave their own great, albeit short, performance, then the stage was left for Michael, Noelle, and Co. of Fitz and the Tantrums to work their magic – and they undoubtedly did.
After transforming $30 seats into $70 seats, with sly seat-scoping and a confident meandering to the front rows, my friends and I found ourselves mere rows from stage. To use a clichéd but relatable piece of perspective: from here we could see the performers’ sweat; and from here the concert was terrific.
But this didn’t just happen by circumstance. Michael and Noelle made the crowd earn it, and looking back, I’m thankful they did.
Anyone with enough concert experience can attest to that one concert they went to which, despite expectations of anything else, became a complete dud. They were deathly excited to see the performer(s), but afterwards they left the venue with nothing but disappointment. Maybe they were too excited, maybe the venue was horrible or the performer didn’t care, or maybe they (and possibly everyone else) just couldn’t get into it.
There were ominous shades in the opening of Fitz and the Tantrums. In-between the set changes, people left – presumably because they were there only to see Phantogram. Because of this, the seating in the theatre changed and was awkwardly formed for the start of the concert’s second half. Because Phantogram and Fitz and the Tantrums cater to a large, diverse demographic, the concert hall was filled with a large, diverse population of people and ages. There wasn’t a unifying character to the audience, which can help bring everyone together.
Fitz (and the Tantrums) came out to cheers and excitement, but settled into a concert hall populated with a disjointed, non-present audience. Personally, I always feel horrible when the performers can’t get a rise out of the audience. To me, there would be nothing worse than putting yourself out there to create this awesome experience for someone, only for them to stare back blankly with their dopey faces, overpriced drink in one hand and cell phone in the other. When Fitz broke onto stage with vibrant energy ready to wow, I felt guilty that the audience, after two songs, was still in hibernation. Understandably, it may take a song or two to achieve full immersion, which is why the opening song is vital, but in this moment the audience wasn’t budging – and Fitz knew this.
It is because of this that I’m writing this article (and also because Mary Luncsford will steal $20 from me if I don’t editor’s note: this is false). This is what that title all the way up there is for: remember that at concerts you’re meant to enjoy yourself. After Fitz and co. realized what was up with the audience, they immediately set out to squash it, and from then on the concert was riotous with dancing, singing, and a near-limitless stamina for obeying whatever Noelle’s orders were. Let me remind you, this concert was filled with people of all ages and backgrounds; old men and teenage girls were all vibing along.
We were lucky to have a group like Fitz and the Tantrums to smack us awake. If we hadn’t, that entire concert would have come and gone with no substance. The concert-goers feed off of the energy of the performance, but the performers themselves also feed off of the audience. It’s a symbiotic relationship, which if nurtured, blossoms into a fantastical experience imprinted onto your memory. This is why you need to remember to have fun at concerts. Whatever happened in the past week, in your love/work/family/whatever life, should be left at the door – or better yet, let go of in concert catharsis. Don’t worry about being embarrassed, you’re at a concert; it’s embarrassing not to dance and sing along. Don’t worry about you friends judging you; they won’t care or they will be dancing along too. If they do judge, they aren’t your friends – forget them (unless their friendship carries perks, in which case keep working that angle).
I’ll admit, even I was a little closed off when Fitz came out. I realized my wrong, though, and let go to enjoy the concert. If Fitz had come out behaving just as the subdued audience was (myself included) and gave a lame, low-energy performance, I would have passed the entire concert thinking of how else I could have spent those $30. The same goes for how we, the concert-goers, affect the performers.
Since becoming an avid concert-goer, I’ve learned two valuable lessons: the concert is always a good idea, and you can’t see every concert. This experience, the concert, is only happening right here and now. You won’t be able to have this experience again. Concerts are a miraculous thing. All of these people with a unifying love for something come together to experience it presently as it happens. Why waste the moment? Remember to enjoy the concert. Your energy could become the infectious saving grace that inspires the rest of the audience or gives the performers a reason to come back.