Live Entertainment: Why It’s Worth the Splurge
A few weeks ago, I was part of the audience at comedian John Mulaney’s standup act. In the moments where I wasn’t laughing, and these moments were few and far between, I found myself lost in thought. This was the first live show I had been to in a little over two years amid the ongoing pandemic.
I had been a Mulaney fan since I was in my twenties and it had always been a quiet dream of mine to see him live. Somehow, I blinked and found myself in my thirties, having lived through countless chapters of life — anticipated and unexpected alike — and found myself sitting in a full venue surrounded by comedy fans from all walks of life. It felt surreal, yet incredibly satisfying, to re-experience live entertainment after such a prolonged period away from it.
Live entertainment is something we tend to take for granted. We think it will always be there, but that’s not true. Sometimes global events have the power to separate us from these events, for years at a time, and it takes a much-needed reunion to remember why we are eternal fans of live concerts, standup acts and festivals. If you’re mulling over whether to buy that concert ticket or VIP pass, here’s what makes live entertainment worth the splurge.
The Shared Experience
Linda Williamson is a PR specialist at Newsroom PR who loves live music. Williamson attends concerts regularly and once flew from Los Angeles to New York just to see LCD Soundsystem live.
Williamson said a big part of what makes live entertainment special is that it’s a shared experience. Think about the experience of watching a movie on a streaming platform versus in a movie theater. The moviegoing experience is full of elements, like audience laughter or gasps during a dramatic reveal, that can never be fully replicated at home.
“It can be a very powerful shared experience to feel moved by music, shoulder by shoulder, with a crowd of people who are all feeling equally moved,” said Williamson. “Humans are communal beings, and we thrive on shared experiences. And when you can share emotions with other people, it multiplies them.”
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Live Entertainment is Emotional
We shriek with excitement, we find ourselves sobbing, we scream until our voices are hoarse. Live entertainment is an emotional, special experience for every fan, even in moments when we least expect it.
Williamson recently went to a small local bar well known to professional musicians. Three 70-year-old musicians took the stage and blew everyone in the room away. It nearly brought Williamson to tears.
“I felt flabbergasted by what I had just seen. And I felt privileged. These were people who had been playing music since their childhood, and had attained an untouchable level of skill,” said Williamson.
Many years ago, Jillene Luce — a pianist, composer, singer and performer — went with an in-the-know girlfriend named Lea to a concert for an up-and-coming artist: “Ziggy Something.”
In a huge dirty concert hall with the capacity to fit 5,000 people, only about 200 people were present. Luce and Lea went straight to the front and stood just under the feet of musician David Bowie.
“There I watched — awestruck, mouth hanging open — at what was soon to be my biggest idol and inspiration in music creativity for a very long time,” said Luce.
In that moment, Luce was not only emotional but incredibly inspired. Bowie showed a whole generation, including that small crowd of 200 people, that it can be fun and fabulous to be unique and push boundaries.
You Never Regret It
It was a night to remember when Luce saw David Bowie live. Williamson will never experience the exact moment of sitting in that bar watching those musicians take the stage again. And I will always remember John Mulaney as the first show I felt confident seeing amid the pandemic. That’s where the excitement is.
And that’s where we have no regrets. Rachel Blank, founder and CEO of Allara, is an avid concert goer who has seen Bon Jovi and the Red Hot Chili Peppers live several times. Blank doesn’t regret any of the shows she’s seen or the amount of money spent on them.
In fact, Blank has an affirmation for these types of splurges: “I affirm, ‘I let go of this money with joy, and I know it will come back to me multiplied in wonderful ways.'”
“Life is all about having a variety of different experiences, so we should all live it up while we can!” said Blank.
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