The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

‘Lights Up’ back on live music

‘Lights Up’ back on live music - The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Harry Styles sings 'Carolina' Sept. 9, 2021 at the AT&T Center. This was Styles' third show of his Love on Tour. Photo by Clarissa Martinez

After almost two years without live music, I had been itching to get back into concert venues. 

It’s been a month since I attended my first concert post lockdown, and it was one for the books because it was an artist I adore the most: Harry Styles.

Honestly, I would’ve been happy to see any artist live, but this made it extra special. I held onto these tickets for nearly two years and survived one rescheduling. 

I waited for this, and it did not disappoint. 

For me, a concert is more than just the music; it’s a whole experience. It’s about the outfit, the visuals, stage setup and audience interaction. 

A Styles concert can be compared to the Met Gala. Every outfit, fans and artist, is carefully constructed in tasteful, outrageous fashion as if they’re walking the red carpet.

He dresses in a custom Gucci outfit each night, usually a colored shirt paired with trousers held up with matching suspenders. 

His fans give him a run for his money.

Every fan comes dressed to impress, in ‘70s style outfits, outfits inspired by the star and outfits that express themselves. 

I showed up in an outfit inspired by the “Fine Line” album cover: a pink top with puffy sleeves paired with white shorts with gold buttons. 

The show was sold out. 

I always feel this rush when I enter a concert venue. It sends chills through my body, and nerves and adrenaline rush through me.

I prepared myself months before for another reschedule. Walking in the building felt so surreal, like it wasn’t actually happening.

I had hesitations about returning to live music. COVID-19 cases were rising and the pandemic wasn’t going anywhere. 

However, it put my mind at ease knowing Styles required full vaccination status or a negative COVID test within 48 hours for entry.

The whole concert felt like a dream. I can’t put into words the feeling of what it’s like to see an artist who you’ve admired since the age of 11. 

Singing along to his music, hearing his voice, seeing his smile live was a moment I thought I’d never be able to experience.

It didn’t even matter to me that I had nosebleed seats. The energy in the stadium made it all the more special. 

You could feel the excitement bouncing off the arena walls.

Music played while waiting for the artist with songs like “Olivia” by One Direction, “good 4 you” by Olivia Rodrigo and “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen. The crowd sang along loud and proud to these songs, so loud you almost couldn’t hear the music.

The stage was set up in a way that everyone could see with the main stage being placed directly in the center and a catwalk on either side that split the arena in half vertically. 

The lights shut off and the opening sounds from “Golden” played on the speakers. The screams of excitement brought chills to my body. 

I kept looking at my boyfriend trying to get a grasp on reality and see his reaction and then he screamed and pointed to the stage and there Styles was.

I felt tears on my cheeks. Styles’ smile radiated through the screens and I couldn’t contain myself.

I could feel the music in my bones even from two stories up. 

He moved around the stage during each song, sometimes staying in the middle or walking down the catwalk on each side. 

Styles made it clear that in that room, you were free to be whoever you wanted to be; you were free to be yourself.

Standing next to strangers who you can tell are just as excited as you to be there, no matter how much of the artist they know, is what unites us all.

Everyone in that room had been through something individually and as a collective in the past two years, and that’s what made us similar despite our differences, Styles said before he performed “Fine Line.”

This song is one of my favorites of his. To me, this song represents being in between something, stuck in the middle between two sides. 

Hearing his voice echo “We’ll be all right” and hearing those trumpets hit made the tears flow like a river. 

The past couple of years have been tough and I’ve often found myself stuck. This song has gotten me through so much the past two years. 

The pandemic, school and work stress and family life have all taken a toll on me. But hearing this song was a reassurance that we will be all right. 

Live music is an experience that’s made for the moment. You spend days, in my case years, waiting for this moment and then in the blink of an eye, it’s passed.

I look back at the pictures and videos I recorded and realize I didn’t take as much as I usually do.

I was living in that moment, screaming, dancing and singing with the people next to me because that’s what I waited years to do. I waited too long to hear those songs live and looking back on it, I don’t regret not taking those videos.

Watching people get excited when he moved their way or smiled or did a dance move, brought a smile to my face. 

Live music isn’t the same post lockdown; it’s better. The small barrier of a face mask and a vaccine is something I’m willing to put up with to experience this euphoric feeling. 

Because there’s nothing like hearing your favorite song live, and that’s a feeling that videos or recordings cannot replicate.

I have two concerts lined up for the next month, and I’m excited to experience this over again with a different artist, even if they’re not Harry Styles.

About the Author

Clarissa Martinez
Clarissa Martinez is a junior communications major at Texas A&M University-San Antonio. She loves writing about important issues and also loves exploring interesting topics, such as movie and music reviews. In her spare time, she loves listening to music, watching movies and television shows, and going to concerts. In the future, she hopes to end up with a career in Film and Television Production or in Journalism.

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