This weekend, I attended my first concert in over a year. Stop Light Observations opened for Mt. Joy this Saturday night in Asheville. Compared to my last concert, with hundreds of people crowded into a warehouse, it’s clear that for the time being, we have officially entered into a new era of live music that is here to stay. Gone are the days of mosh pits, welcome to the new normal: drive in, socially distanced concerts.
I honestly didn’t know what to expect as my friend and I made the two and a half hour drive up to Asheville on Saturday morning. We had purchased the tickets based on a spur of the moment decision along with two of our other friends as it seemed like the perfect break from the chaos of midterms. As we drove up listening to Mt. Joy’s music, windows rolled down and watching the mountains and fall trees pass us by, it was easy to forget the pandemic.
When we finally got to the venue, we pulled into the long line of cars waiting to drive up onto the hill overlooking the stage. Rows and rows of cars spilled over the hills, all lined up with people sitting on car roofs or in chairs and picnic blankets spread out on the grass within their designated car squares.
We pulled into our spot and climbed onto the top of our jeep and were completely overwhelmed by the Smoky Mountains backdrop as Stop Light Observations began their set. As soon as they began their first song “good to u,” I forgot about me freezing or the fact that I was on top of a car and felt instant waves of serotonin that only live music can bring.
The energy around me shifted and everyone collectively began vibing, just simply so excited to be there listening to a live band in the most gorgeous venue. By the time Mt. Joy made their appearance on stage, I could feel everyone’s happiness around me and it was clear how much we were all craving something like this.
As Mt. Joy began playing, the sun had fallen and the only lights were from the full moon, the stars and the flashing lights from the stage as the concert blared on. When Astrovan began to play, we threw off the blankets we had bundled up in, stood up and began dancing on the roof of the jeep again unaware of anything except for the music and ourselves.
Concerts have always been something that feels like you’ve been transported into another universe for just a few hours one night. You listen to your favorite music full blast with the band playing right there and it feels like it’s just for you. Everyone around you is in the same little world in that moment and everyone vibes together. And while the idea of people being together in a concert venue, dancing and singing is something I think we are all anxious to get back to, there is something to be said for this new creation of drive-in concerts.
I will always love concerts and there is nothing like the feeling of jumping and dancing next to people who are all feeling the same happiness you are from the music, but the feeling I had listening to folksy music while standing on the roof of a car in the middle of the mountains is something I never imagined myself experiencing and was truly something else. For now, especially during COVID times, it was more than I could have ever wanted.