In a café last week, I overheard a conversation between a young woman and a…
Three Vital Lessons From Sold-out Stadiums
A live concert can be a sensory feast, a beautiful experience to be a part of, and it’s heartwarming to see my friends’ enthusiasm after attending a perhaps once-in-a-lifetime show.
Seeing their beloved artist on stage had been on their bucket list for a very long time, and finally, their wish came true. They experienced a few amazing hours which they will remember forever. What more could an entertainment event possibly offer?
I also recently became hooked on live music, and have seen several world-class musicians perform right before my eyes over the course of the last year or so. All the concerts were special to me in different ways.
But then one day I learnt that there is experience, and then there is ‘experience’. It is possible for talented and caring performers to create magical moments that don’t only become mere memories in the life history of those who were present, but moments that actually change people for good. And being at the receiving end of this can be quite addictive.
Recently, when the opportunity arose, I decided to go on a big trip and see five shows by my favourite rock band in four countries over the course of two months.
But why would a professional and borderline workaholic woman in her 40’s decide to take a couple of months off to follow a band around the world?
Why isn’t it enough for her to see them once and then carry on with her normal life? And what gives her the strength to face the disbelief and teasing remarks of her friends and family who believe that she must be out of her mind?
I’ve always found it difficult to explain … But I was not looking for a series of once-in-a-lifetime experiences. For me, going to these concerts, and spending time meaningfully between them, meant tasting a new way of living and hopefully taking a step towards becoming a better person both personally and professionally.
Sometimes I say to my friends, half-jokingly, that I went on a field trip.
To be honest, I did this trip mainly because I felt drawn to do it, but I also knew that I would see some wonderful lessons in action, especially about looking after people and creating change that matters:
1. Follow your true colours.
‘It’s funny but lots of those decisions we made, took ten years to see why they were good … The door is so open for us to be who we are.”
These words, which I heard from one of the guitarists in an interview, are my compass. Of course, the band have needed to work intelligently and with dedication in order to stay at the top of their game for almost three decades now. But as they themselves acknowledge, listening to their intuition about what’s best for their audiences and themselves was crucial.
Acting on those gut feelings and creating their own rules, often against grave warnings from their peers, took a lot of courage and hard work. But by making and sharing music in a way that felt right to them, for example, tailoring every single show to the local crowd, has helped these musicians work really well together over all these years while building a solid fan base.
2. Bare your soul.
Whether your job is to create art or to provide a completely different type of service, it can be difficult to decide which parts of your personality you should share with your audience and what to keep private.
By exposing who you are, including your deepest thoughts and feelings, you may attract more unwanted attention and criticism than you’re comfortable with handling. On the other hand, you’ll be easier to relate to and thus have greater power to touch people’s hearts.
Members of the band have been sharing boldly their views about a variety of social and moral issues they care about, not only through their music but also their words and actions, both on and off stage. They have lost some fans as a result but gained the enduring loyalty of many others.
3. Give your tribe the wind to fly.
The strength of the community formed around the band became tangible to me during the trip. The amount of support I witnessed between fans who might never even have met before was incredible. In fact, members of this tribe frequently help each other out with problems that have nothing to do with music.
Lifelong friendships can form between strangers from all walks of life standing in a line together somewhere, or sharing a table at a self-organised event, or attending the same concert.
The band certainly didn’t plan all this. However, they’ve shown an example of a great culture which inspired and shaped the community, and through a variety of events and online platforms, they’ve given people the opportunity to connect.
The ideas and intentions of these six musicians have reached far beyond music venues and now have their own life.
Lots of fans are actively supporting causes the band advocates for, which in turn inspires the band to keep looking after their fans and giving back. Together they pursue massive goals such as eradicating homelessness in an entire city. Then in the light of these efforts, those rock songs acquire deeper meaning, and the shows become more moving and exciting.
Yet, I’m convinced that you don’t need to be an artist and perform on stage to create ‘experiences’ that change lives (and I don’t use these words lightly).
If you gather the courage and grit to follow your true colours, bare your soul and give your tribe the wind to fly, your thoughts and efforts might reach further than you’ve ever imagined.
(If you need some good music to help you gather that courage and grit, I’m happy to give you some suggestions.)
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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