Live music is back, and so are we – The Weeknd


WHEN LIVE-MUSIC PROMOTERS started putting tours on hold in March 2020 due to Covid, part of me started dying.

As the months without a concert continued, my music-loving friends turned into ghosts, the sun of summer days reminded me of the outdoor festivals of yesteryear and listening to new music felt hollow. .

Then came live broadcasts. At first, being able to catch a rare HER jam session with Chloe x Halle an hour before an equally rare Questlove DJ set was pretty awesome – and
all I had to do was switch browser tabs.

But after six months of streaming shows, the virtual concerts have faded into the endless void of Zoom work meetings and Google Hangouts. Music, once a refuge from the chaos of life, became a reminder of what I was missing: human connection.

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No matter how much I sang alone in my apartment, I couldn’t find the feeling of doing the same with thousands of people IRL. Research confirms this.

“Music has clear access to the ‘reward’ or pleasure centers of the brain. We’re also very rewarded with social connections, so live music creates a double whammy of pleasurable experiences,” says Jessica Grahn, Ph.D., who directs the Music and Neuroscience Lab at the Brain and Mind Institute of the University. ‘Western University.

Makes sense to me: streaming shows can only be one virtual reality live. But why did recorded music also feel so flat to me during the pandemic?

“We see greater brain synchronization for live music than for recorded music, which comes with feelings of social connection and engagement,” says Grahn.

That was it. It wasn’t just the connection I was missing, but a shared experience. Charles Darwin once theorized that humans communicated through musical sounds before they did so through speech. I didn’t just need to go to a live concert. I needed municipalities.

And I was not alone.

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Look at the legions of Bad Bunny fans who, after helping the rapper become the most streamed artist on Spotify in 2020 and 2021, made its El Último Tour del Mundo 2022 the best-selling tour on Ticketmaster since 2018. Watch Coachella, which sold out multi-day passes in January within hours. There is a thirst to witness.

So when New York joined other states in lifting vaccination and mask mandates for indoor events this spring, I made sure I found a way to get to the Tyler, the Creator show at Madison. Square Garden a few weeks later.

Minutes into Tyler’s show, a bespectacled college student and I went from strangers to momentary best friends, our arms draped over each other, reciting lyrics to Tyler’s threesomes with a triceratops . And while I was singing “Don’t Go” to the song “Earfquake” with tens of thousands of other people I’d never met, I didn’t just know that live music was back; I knew I was born again.

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Find a show. Call a friend. Or don’t, because you’ll find at least one (or maybe thousands) reconnecting like you.

Big fan of music? Just looking to refresh your workout playlist? men’s health on Spotify has it all. Follow us here.

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