As a nighttime DJ at Radio 104.5, my job is to connect listeners to their favorite music, and in return, the music connects me to them. It’s a magical bond, a spiritual one that becomes physical when I get to stand shoulder to shoulder with strangers at a concert.
It’s now been months since I have attended a concert — and I miss connecting with people over a shared love of live music.
Truthfully, I didn’t take this whole pandemic seriously in the beginning. I had no idea what was going on and the reality hadn’t yet set in. I would go back and forth between turning the news on and off just to keep my own sanity. But as self-isolation became our new normal, I started to feel a deep void. The one thing I have built my life around, both personally and professionally, was missing: the live music industry. The coronavirus took concerts away; from you, from me, from all of us.
I miss the way I feel when my favorite band hits the stage, that feeling I get when they play a song that I haven’t heard in years. I miss looking around and seeing the stranger next to me with that very same look in their eyes and those same goosebumps on their arms. The truest, most honest version of me exists within a crowd full of strangers seeing our favorite band. And I know so many other live music fans feel the same way.
Concerts can be a spiritual experience, where the crowd is together as one in a hypnotic trance ... taken away by the melody. It’s such a beautiful, organic, and human thing that is created by live music. Sometimes I don’t even feel worthy enough for what live music has done for me and countless others. At each concert I attend, I leave feeling realigned, fine-tuned, and strengthened. It’s hard to imagine when concerts will be back, or what they’ll be like when they return.
But in this time, I’ve found two silver linings to missing live music so much.
The first is that I’ve learned to really appreciate the importance of shared experiences. I can’t wait to return to the Fillmore or the TLA to stand shoulder to shoulder with fellow music fans and scream the lyrics of songs we love. We will feel bonded together in our fandom because going to see live music is a community experience. Live music brings people together who might not normally interact but are connected by a shared love of a particular artist, song, genre, or festival.
The second is that being forced to stay home has made me more open-minded about music in general. Without concerts to attend, I’ve found myself digging into the work of genres and artists that I previously would have ignored, or even mocked. And as a result of becoming more accepting of different types of music, I have also become more accepting in other areas of my life.
Jessica Sabella, also known as Jammin’ Jessie, is a night host on Radio 104.5.