“Front row or no go,” I proudly scrawl across my Instagram story after clicking a blurry picture, clutching the barricade at yet another dingy, rundown concert venue. In my mind flashes the image of every previous show from Pittsburgh to Connecticut to New York City to Philadelphia to London to Orlando to Toronto. Every stage showered in blue and red lights, crowded by eager fans trying not-so-discretely to maneuver their way to the spot I held onto dearly.
So, this, my dear musician, is my love letter from the front row of your millionth show on tour:
I’ll breathe in your lyrics, bathing in their elegance, and expel from my lungs the pain I’d been holding on to for far too long.
It’s not that I think you’re in love with me, nor do I think I’m in love with you, but I sure am hooked on this feeling of opulence that dares to surround you.
The confidence you have as you twist your way across the stage, dodging and diving into a spotlight here and a strobe light there, draws me further toward the illusion. I watch as your fingers guide their way across your favorite guitar, the strings just bending at your will. And at this moment, I’m certain this is love.
I begin falling from the first stroke of the chord, the first time the drummer counts you in, and I won’t stop drowning in your presence until the last note of the planned encore.
I’ll interlace my fingers with my best friend as we scream along with you as you scream back in our general direction, but we’ll feel it in our hearts (and in our lungs that simply can’t keep up) that these words were meant for us.
Do you know how stage presence can make a show? It doesn’t matter what you’re singing about if you’re doing it with the surreal energy that draws all of us in. The front row for tonight are your best friends, but also your worst enemies. We’ll make or break this gig for you, just as you define our night.
It’s a symbiotic relationship, my dear. Bands need us to live and we need them to breathe every day. The feeling of this front row won’t just go away. It sustains me until the next band can find their way into this lazy town and bring me to life again. Here at the barricade, I am a new person.
For the front row isn’t just glamorizing the band. The front row lights me on fire and says “this is your reason for living”. I’m falling in love with finding solace amongst strangers. I’m falling in love with being truly seen for the first time and somehow it’s by a musician that will never even know my name. I’m falling in love with knowing that nothing will ever feel this right. Tussling with crowd surfers and moshers, a quick Doc Marten to the head, a spill of a drink down my chest, but, yet, I’d choose to be nowhere else but here.
And suddenly I know I’m projecting this feeling on the person before me and somehow that’s alright.
I’ll leave tonight with a spinning head and an overflowing heart, while you’ll find your back to your rackety van and move on to the next.
What I feel is not romantic nor platonic because whether idolization or infatuation, this is a new sort of love. It’s a love of this silly little life from the front row.
The Girl Screaming and Crying to Your Least Favorite Song