Over the last 28 years I have seen hundreds of bands. Music has always been a dear friend to me and from a young age the majority of my spending money has been spent on paying my respects in person. I’ve gone to shows with friends, with my sisters, with my boyfriends, with my cousins, I even go alone. People are sometimes puzzled when they hear that last admission but if you haven’t gone to a show alone I urge you to try it. That is the thing about music, you are never alone. When I was 16 years old I watched Eagles of Death Metal open for the Strokes. Chris Wooley and I made one of our many pilgrimages to San Francisco, and although I hadn’t heard of EODMetal before I immediately had a shit eating grin on my face when they launched straight into ‘I want you so hard/Boys Bad news’. I don’t know what song was playing when the gunfire began in Paris. For all the shows I’ve been to, it goes without saying that the notion that eight gunmen would come out and open fire has never crossed my mind. I don’t think terror that great is something those of us who have never experienced can even begin to accurately imagine. I don’t think anyone who lived through the attack would want us to. 29 minutes into the set I picture myself standing up towards the front of the stage, wearing my platform shoes to have a chance of seeing better, rhythmically dodging the taller person who always seems to end up in front of me, sipping the first of more than likely a few beers. There is no seed of doubt in my mind, no problems to be mulled over. When you’re at a show you have 90 minutes to be just another face in the crowd along side people who in turn share a little piece of you. Together you are the reason for the band being there. There is no sense that its all about you. The shows have always been what brings us together.
When I was 19 I went to Paris. When the rest of my Contiki group got in line to see the top of the Eiffel Tower, I set out to visit Jim Morrison at the Père Lachaise Cemetery. One of the books I’d bought on the trip was Light my Fire: My Life with the Doors by Ray Manzarek. The best way I can describe my relationship with music is that when I love the song I don’t just want to hear it but I then want to know how many cups of coffee it was written over. I often refer to singers by their first names. Their music spanning through so much of my life that they’re some of my most treasured, strongest relationships. I know I am not alone in this sentiment and imagine many of the people at the sold out show at the Bataclan concert felt the same. An escape from our jobs, our problems, our relationships. Back then, that point in my life belonged to the Doors. I spent about thirty minutes finding Morrison’s headstone and another thirty standing near it.
When the musc is over, turn out the light
For the music is your special friendDance on fire as it intendsMusic is your only friendUntil the end
What have they done to the earth?
What have they done to our fair sister?
Ravaged and plundered and ripped her and bit her
Stuck her with knives in the side of the dawn
And tied her with fences and dragged her downI hear a very gentle sound With your ear down to the groundWe want the world and we want it… We want the world and we want it… Now Now? Now!Persian night, babe See the light, babeSave us! Jesus! Save us!
So when the music’s overWhen the music’s over, yeah
When the music’s over
Turn out the lights
Turn out the lights
Turn out the lightsWell the music is your special friend
Dance on fire as it intends
Music is your only friend
Until the end
Until the end
Until the end!