Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Power of Music

My favorite band in the world is Arcade Fire. Got to see them in a concert in 2007 - standing room only. Amazing show, if a bit hard on the legs and back. Last night, after I heard of one of their famous "secret" freebie shows, I saw them again. Yep, had to stand (more than two and a half hours in all) but it was definitely worth it.
I won't go into raptures about the band - they hardly need my praise, given their worldwide adoration by fans and fellow musicians (e.g., David Bowie). The totality of the experience is what remains with me.
First, there was the anticipation: when I finally got to the outdoor spot, saw the stage set up and fans gathering, I knew I was in for a treat. Then there was the show itself, which began spot on 8:00 and lasted as long as a paid concert - about 90 min. Wow. There were about four songs from the latest album, several from the first, and not enough (IMO) from the second. The band members' enthusiasm was electrifying. Win Butler, the lead singer and songwriter, said he was truly overwhelmed by the turnout (more than 5,000!). "And I'm not shitting you," he added. I've never seen him so happy.
The music, some of it familiar, some of it new and exciting, made me forget about the past month for a few hours. I was filled with the power of music - and by the power of a shared experience. I admit I taped several performances (for my own record), and when I played them back, I actually enjoyed seeing hands waving, fists punching the air with joy, and rhythmic clapping. The crowd was part of my "forgetfulness" for sure.
We connected over a shared emotion, and we temporarily lost our sometimes proud, sometimes narrow, individualism.

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