There’s this thing that happens when I’m going to see one of my favorite bands (of which there are a number). Particularly on the day of the show, I get anxious — anxious like you would before a big presentation, or a meaningful exam or something. My chest tightens, my breathing speeds up, and I lose focus on pretty much anything else. It’s the closest feeling I get to “going into battle,” and it’s because I crave connection. I want to share a knowing look, or be seen singing every word, and I know I have the best chance of doing this if I’m close to the stage. So, I start negotiating in my head — I’ll get to the show early, I’ll never go to the bathroom and I’ll somehow grab water very quickly on the way or send someone back to grab some for me. It’s a whole battle plan. I get dry mouth just thinking about it.
I’m going to see Arcade Fire tonight for the 7th time. I didn’t even think I’d be that excited for their current tour. Like many of my peers, I got caught up in the ridiculous fake marketing strategy of the band, not getting the point and not caring to. I felt annoyed that a band who I thought was so earnest in their message and their love seemed to be shirking that for some inside joke. But then I actually listened to Everything Now.
Win Butler feels like my spirit twin at this point. Maybe it’s just because I am a step behind him in our life journey, but he seems to know how to express exactly what I’m thinking and feeling before I know I’m thinking or feeling it, so that when it finally hits me, something blooms inside of me. This sounds so pretentious, but it’s the realest way I can express it: when I finally took my first (and only) art class in college, I was able to go to museums and look at paintings and actually have them reveal themselves to me — not always, but enough to give me a deeper appreciation. That’s how Arcade Fire’s music feels to me. The layers reveal themselves a bit at a time, and only when they will have the biggest impact on my life, and they change me.
I think I also steered away from Arcade Fire because of how much they seemed to reflect my deepest fears, dreams, regrets and hopes. I’m hard on myself, so when I get annoyed with myself, anything that feels like me is equally annoying. But just as that feels true, as I’m falling in love with the band all over again, my own self-love is heightened.
There’s no real point I have here. I guess I just hope that everyone gets to feel connected like this makes me feel connected, because especially now it can feel like an awfully lonely and isolated world, and connection can help to pull us out of the mud. I’m going to lean into the pre-show tingles, show up early, and be open to whatever feelings come my way.