Before the pandemic, if I was out and about for “non-essential” reasons, there was a pretty high likelihood I was going to a gig. I love live music. For someone who took piano lessons for roughly a third of their life, my own playing is rubbish, but I get a buzz out of seeing people who don’t suck do their thing.
However, it was never quite as easy as that.
Because a gig isn’t just the live music. It’s the sweaty bodies squeezing up against you. It’s the randos who want to hug a stranger and scream centimetres away from your face. It’s the beer being waved around in the air and spilling onto your head.
To be fair, I gave up alcohol years ago, and social situations are way out of my comfort zone. So I’m writing from the perspective of an awkward, sober introvert with an anxiety disorder.
But I guess I’ve always had to weigh up whether or not I love a particular band or want to see a particular gig more than I hate the other stuff that comes with it.
And then a global pandemic hit. Which came with its own set of worries. But it also meant I wasn’t constantly thinking about the pros and cons of going out (there was nowhere to go) and I wasn’t really missing out on anything (there was nothing happening). Truth be told, there was a certain freedom in that.
Now there are gigs back on in Western Australia (albeit with restrictions) and I’ve had to make that decision again. Knowing that people are very lax when it comes to social distancing, the thought of being anywhere near a pub or club at the moment freaks me out.
But there was a benefit gig on Saturday, “A little help for our friends”, to raise money for WA-based production companies that have taken a beating during the pandemic. And I decided to go after considering that:
- the ticket price would hopefully weed out anyone who was just looking to get shitfaced, leaving those who were there for the bands;
- it was at the Astor Theatre, where one can get a drink, but alcohol isn’t the main point of its existence;
- the venue was only allowed a 50% capacity so even if no one was social distancing, I’d have a chance of moving away from people who weren’t respecting my personal space;
- I knew musicians in three of the five bands, and obviously hadn’t seen them play in quite some time;
- I have some face masks at home and was willing to be the only person wearing one at the gig. And I’m pretty sure I was, but hey, I’m also Asian. In many Asian countries, it’s not a cultural oddity to have a mask on, even when there isn’t a global pandemic.
And I’m glad I went.
I did get shoved around a bit on the dance floor and elbowed in the head on multiple occasions (I’m very short). And towards the end of the night, I was starting to feel a little overwhelmed. But no one spilt anything on me and no one touched me on purpose. And the bands were on fire, some perhaps more so than others, but this is a “Lee-Ann’s issues” review, not a gig review. 😛
So yes, I managed to get out and I had a good time. And with WA in a strong position COVID-wise (fingers crossed it stays that way), hopefully there’ll be more good times in the foreseeable future that aren’t crippled by anxiety. 🙂