I’ve seen a lot of people in the scene that are either my age or just a little older that have seemed to (quite literally) fall back at shows. The blame is assigned to bad backs, weak knees, adult responsibilities, or any other myriad of completely logical culprits. Sure, I understand it. Hell, I even gave it a shot pretty recently. On Friday, May 22nd, I saw You Me and Everyone We Know, Daisyhead, and Future Crooks in Poughkeepsie and decided to give this thing a go.
I’ll even go so far as to admit that watching from the back of a venue as small as The Loft doesn’t make a tremendous literal difference, but a difference is still made. I was able to enjoy Future Crooks from the back end of a venue, sing along to the songs in the set list that I did know, and actually talk to the people I came with. It was a different experience than I was used to for sure…and I didn’t hate it. So, I let it continue through most of Daisyhead’s set.
I watched Daisyhead perform from the merch tables. I was half paying attention while eyeing the merch I knew I would be leaving with. They were great, but lacked a lot of crowd interaction besides asking about how to pronounce Poughkeepsie (Puh-Kip-See) at the beginning of their set. This adopted mindset worked out well for me here, because I can’t imagine how I would have felt being pressed against the stage for a set that I wasn’t totally invested in.
In the back of my head, I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to watch You Me and Everyone We Know play from the back of the venue. I meandered to the front of the stage as kids shifted from the stage to merch. I’m sure that the same people I see praising this back of the venue shift have similar exceptions. I had to be at the front so that I could pour my heart out to these guys and sing/yell back every single word to every single song until I could feel my voice start to fade.
I didn’t care about having to work the next day or that my ears were still ringing when I clocked in. What I cared about was the set, the band, and making sure they were clear that they mean the world to me. I mean, that is the point of it all, right?
When I left the show, the people I went with teased (as expected) about just how into the set I was. Like I said, I can only imagine what a jackass I must have looked like during the set. If the way I felt was any indication of how I looked, I’m glad I could put on a show for them. The thing is: as Ben [Liebsch, vocalist]’s energy just seemed to increase, I subconsciously felt the need to match it. The crazier he got, the louder I sang and the more I just let go.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that he performed from the crowd and made the whole experience feel incredibly intimate, but this was without a doubt the best show of my life.
So, will I be re-visiting the back of the venue in the near future? Absolutely. It allows for me to enjoy the bands I came to see without having to compete with kids or be held against the stage for bands that I don’t care for. I can pay attention when I want to and socialize when I don’t. It’s a great place to view the show as an adult, but it will never replace being right in the front of things and getting crazy with a band that you love.
The tl;dr version of this is as follows.
Enjoying the set from the back of the venue is fine and great. I completely understand why more and more of my peers have started this shift at this point in their lives, but don’t be afraid to let your love for the music take precedence every once in a while. The memories you make in that moment will outweigh the backaches. Believe me.