Weeks ago I justified splurging on a one-day ticket for Pitchfork Paris all because of the time last fall when I missed M83 in San Francisco after my friends were too indecisive to commit to going before the show sold out. I normally wouldn't condone going to a festival just to see one act, but my love for Midnight City prevailed. And a good thing it did, because last night evolved into eight of the best hours of my Paris sojourn thus far. The other artists were a bit of a mystery to me (How To Dress Well? Japandroids? James Blake?) but thanks to the bass, the buzz and the charged atmosphere emphasized by seizure-inducing light displays, I still felt at ease basking in the rhythm even though I didn't know the lyrics.
A college friend once asked me what was so great about going to live music shows. To his mind it was an expensive habit that didn't warrant the cost when you could just as easily listen to the same songs at full blast in the comfort of your own room. But, for me at least, the answer lies in all the things that you can only experience and feel at a concert: the bass so loud it reverberates throughout your entire body; the unparalleled energy running through the crowd as everyone moves to the beat in a way that is both harmonious and yet dissonant; fighting the good fight to get close to the stage. It's a full-on sensory experience in a way that recorded music can never come close to.
As my first Paris concert experience, I couldn't help but think back to the Stuff White People Like entry called "Standing Still at Concerts" (see #67). Because, yeah...enough said. After the first few sets, though, the crowd finally started to loosen up. Although whether this was because the flow of festival sponsor Heineken had loosened their joints, or rather by that point the expat contingent was out in full force, I cannot say. (I haven't been surrounded by that many native English-speakers since I left California).