Thursday, 24 October 2013

Heartbreak Girl

“I dedicate this song to you,
The one who never sees the truth,
That I can take away your hurt, heartbreak girl.
Hold you tight straight through the day light,
I'm right here. When you gonna realise
That I'm your cure, heartbreak girl?”

Heartbreak Girl – 5 Seconds of Summer

Just over a week ago I went to see One Direction sing at Vector Arena and, like most other concerts, they had an opening act. I had heard of 5 Seconds of Summer before but did not know any of their music. Nevertheless, I encouraged my friend (and her little sister, making being at a One Direction a lot less creepy) to go early so we could see them open. They were a terrific live act and I was quite into them from my seat at the rear end of the arena.

A funny thing happened when they were playing though. I found myself singing along. This in itself is not unusual; the crowd is nearly always singing along with the band as they play. What was odd was how I was singing, or trying to sing, to a song which I didn’t actually know the lyrics too. I had never heard these songs before, bar Heartbreak Girl which was played in Vector Arena shortly before the band went on. I pride myself on knowing a lot of lyrics to a lot of songs, but surely I shouldn’t know them to songs I’d never listened to before.

It was a fearful moment in my mind, because I realised I was at complete control of the band. While it was at the hands of music and quite often I surrender to the songs, this particular time it was done without my will and it was a disconcerting experience. It wasn’t bad or scary as such, but there was definitely something odd about it which made me think. I have never questioned how much a band is in power at concerts but with ease they can make a crowd scream or stay quiet, force them to sing along and with simple instructions they can light up a whole arena. I have attended many concerts and I guarantee that at every single one the artist has been instructing the crowd what to do. And bands can control emotions: at concerts I have laughed, I have cried, and I have walked away feeling satisfied and euphoric.

I do wonder what the artists who are thinking when they are on stage with the crowd at their control. Did 5 Seconds of Summer know they had me singing along without knowing any words, and that they made me want to go and buy their music and find out more about them? Or were they just on stage, playing their music and having a good time with a crowd who obviously loved them? Probably the latter and we should be grateful these artists are not taking advantage of our weaknesses much more than encouraging us to buy albums and merchandise (which I have done post shows), and putting on a performance which makes someone like me fall in love with their music. 

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