This past weekend I attended the much-hyped Ed Sheeran concert in Johannesburg. I learnt some stuff about myself and people in general.
#1 – I am not an Ed Sheeran fan
I wanted to get this one off my chest as quickly as possible. It’s true – I am not a fan. This statement has been met with shocked gasps since the tickets went on sale. People look at me like I am some sort of mentally challenged leper when I tell them.
I have nothing against him and can concede that he is wildly talented. Based on the way he interacted with the crowd, he seems like a genuinely nice guy too. However I am not a fan of pop music in general. I do not connect with his lyrics at all. It’s just one of those things – sorry.
#2 – It’s nice to do something nice
After point #1, you may be wondering why I was there in the first place. Long story, but in a nutshell, we’d tagged along with a friend who was a massive fan but didn’t have anyone to accompany her to the concert.
It was kinda nice to do something that made someone else’s day.
#3 – Crowds are the same regardless of music genre
A while ago I wrote a post about how badly behaved crowds were at various rock concerts I’ve attended. The Ed Sheeran concert confirmed that musical genre has nothing to do with crowd behaviour.
During one particularly quiet song with a fair amount of gentle harmonising, Mr Sheeran asked the crowd to be as silent as possible. This was met with a long, high-pitched, reverberating scream that echoed around the stadium, effectively drowning out the start of the song.
The bar lines were long, queue jumpers abounded and I was kicked in the head several times. Yes, that’s right – I was kicked in the head at an Ed Sheeran concert! Because it seems as though walking the 2 extra steps to reach the stairs was too much effort for the people sitting behind me, who opted to rather squeeze between my seat and the balustrade all night long.
I think it’s safe to say that specific musical genre has nothing to do with it – it’s simply just how people think they can behave at concerts.
#4 – When you’re not invested in the music, you notice other things
I love watching people and I find it interesting how very different folk are united behind a common interest. The audience members ranged wildly in race, age and wardrobe choice. It was, perhaps, one of the most diverse crowds I have ever seen, so good on Ed Sheeran for having mass appeal.
I also noticed that our little group of three were all wearing the same shoes. And there was a rainbow that appeared over the stadium which was pretty cool too.
#5 – Very few people are able to “live in the moment”
About fifteen years ago, I travelled to Bolivia. I had a camera in one hand and a video camera in the other, all in an effort to capture as much as possible. Paradoxically, in my effort to record the experience, I realised upon my return home that I do not remember much about the trip. Since then, I no longer record video and take only a handful of photos in order to free up my time and attention to actually enjoy the experience of being wherever I happen to be.
I find it really sad that people feel the need to place a screen between themselves and reality. They’ve paid a lot of money to be at the live show of someone who will in all likelihood not tour here again. But instead of watching and listening, they’re fussing over their smartphones for the entire duration of the concert, trying to record it so they can “remember it later”. Or, even worse, hoping to “go viral” on social media.
Here is my advice to you. Stop worrying about your social media feed. Put away your phone. Watch the stage. Listen to the music. Feel the wind on your face and the warmth radiating from the person next to you. Absorb the excitement of the crowd. Commit all of that to memory and you’ll have something more meaningful than a blurry video with distorted sound that you will probably never watch again.
If you want to watch the concert on a screen, get the DVD.
#6 – Mrs Megamalist is my hero
In the last decade, despite numerous assertions that she does not care at all about music, I have dragged Mrs Megamalist to scores of concerts and festivals. I have this to say to her:
I understand now why you ask me how many songs are in the set and then spend your time counting them down. Stadium shows are a really long day out and there is a lot of waiting around while nothing happens – it’s pretty damn boring. Thank you for suffering in silence all these years as you entertain my desire to see my favourite bands. You are truly long suffering and have bucket-loads of patience.
The shoe was firmly on the other foot this time around, proving that one can never truly understand someone else’s point until they themselves are in that situation. As such, moving forward, I will stop insisting that “you’ll enjoy it when we’re there” and take you into consideration a little more than I clearly have in the past (well, I’ll try, at least)!
As with all concerts, after months of waiting I can’t believe it’s all over. I started out as being “not a fan” and the live concert has not convinced me otherwise. I did have an ok time though – I guess Ed Sheeran is not the worst. But would I go again? Well, that’s a hard no from me. I’d rather let a true fan take my seat next time around.
Have you attended an Ed Sheeran concert? Perhaps you’ve been at a show you were not really enthused about going to? Let me know below!