Sunday, 15 July 2012

Taking the Stage

     He takes a deep breath and jumps around on the spot, loosening off one final time. They are waiting for him, chanting and screaming. It escalates as the other band members step out. Finally it’s his turn.

     He walks out, straight to centre stage, heart pounding in anticipation. The crowd cheer and wave, their long hours of waiting, in queues and in the crowd finally having paid off. The stage around him is still in darkness, only dimly lit from behind so their silhouettes are visible. He shakes off again, trying to rid himself of the nerves.

     Around him, the music starts, the other guys playing the familiar notes and rhythms which reassure him. He joins in with his lyrics, on cue, his own voice sounding low and raspy, mingling with the instrumental. He can hear the crowd singing along, words memorised, and a rush of wonder and gratitude surges through him. Words that he scribbled on scraps of paper, personal and carefully chosen, full of meaning to him – yet the meaning resonates with others, who find solace in his words. The words he chose being sung back to him by hundreds of people, people he has never met, yet share a common bond with him.

     The music fades off as the verse ends – then the climax comes, exploding in sound and light as the chorus kicks off, violent and powerful. The stage is bright and colourful, pyrotechnics blasting around them all. The crowd is like one single entity, jumping and moving to the beat, arms waving, voices shouting; a beast, both tamed by the music, yet wild, free and inspired by it.  He has been part of that entity before, at other concerts, but seeing it from the stage gives it a whole new dimension. In the crowd, you are taken over by the music, absorbing every moment, feeling the rush of awe as the artists you admire perform right in front of you. But to be those artists, to know everyone in that crowd was here to see you, was incredibly humbling. They were nothing without the crowds of fans, and giving them shows was the least they could do – but seeing their expressions, the joy, the wonder, the passion – it was enough to make him just as awestruck as they appeared to be. The bond between them was unusual – both band and crowd having the exact same feelings of awe and gratitude towards each other.

     As the set continues, his feels his nerves melt away, losing himself to the music, feeding off the crowd’s energy. Everything they give him, he strives to give back, pouring heart and passion into the whole performance. Despite being above and apart from the crowd physically, he feels as though he is just as much part of that wild entity as any of them, getting shivers during the slower parts, chest wanting to explode with power at the climaxes. All the while he feels entirely awestruck that their music, notes and words they strung together, has created this event, these shared moments, that feeling of being a part of something greater than one’s self. This was the reason he loved music so much, and was so thrilled to be able to bring these feelings to other people. These are the moments he will forever remember, the moments in which he felt most alive.


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