The Beginner’s Guide to Surviving a Show Alone

Photo by Margaret Murphy

Photo by Margaret Murphy

You’re favorite artist is finally, finally coming to town. You buy your ticket, body pounding with excitement, and suddenly your heart sinks when you realize the show is on a Tuesday night; and absolutely none of your friends will want to go with you.

If you’re a huge live music fan, you’ve inevitably been faced with this situation. Your friends will offer a bevy of excuses for why they can’t go to the show with you: I have a HUGE meeting the next morning, I don’t like them enough to be tired at work the next day, I have a birthday party that night, I have to feed my neighbor’s cat, I hate your face and I just don’t want to go. All perfectly valid excuses.

So, what do you do? Going to a show alone must be so awkward, right?

Well, I’ve conducted that social experiment for you, and the answer is no, no it’s not awkward — actually, it’s quite enjoyable. I had always avoided going to shows by myself for fear of being preyed upon by boys in their mid- to late-twenties still acting like douchey frat stars who potentially have Rohypnol in their pocket. But I really wanted to see Milky Chance at the 9:30 Club on Wednesday night, so I decided to fly solo.

I learned many things during my two-hour date with myself, but most importantly, I figured out exactly how to go to a show alone and still have an awesome time:

1) Go get yourself a drink

Please note, ‘a drink’. As in, get yourself ONE drink. As you walk into the venue you’ll likely feel a little awkward and insecure. After all, you aren’t rolling up with a squad that affirms how awesome you are. So, proceed to the bar and get yourself a bevy. Having something in your hand will make you feel less fidgety and having booze in your system will make you feel more at ease with your solo situation. Treat yo-self.

2) Do not keep buying yourself drinks

This is very important. Don’t be that guy/girl in the back drunk all by yourself. You may think you’re just “doing you,” but you’re wrong.  It’s never a good look. Ever.

3) Put your phone away

I know, I know. Your phone is your security blanket. When it’s in your hand you feel warm and complete. Put it away. Bury it deep in your purse or pocket and don’t take it out again unless you want to take a sweet photo of the show. You may think that being on your phone constantly makes you look less awkward, but actually the opposite is true. If you’re at an amazing show and you’re just on your phone the entire time, you look like the lame person who came to a show and isn’t in the moment, which draws very negative attention to yourself.

4) Be friendly and social

This is one of those moments where basic lessons you learned in Kindergarten, like be nice and don’t judge people, are probably most applicable. If someone is kind enough to chat with you, don’t be dismissive or treat he/she like a creeper. You’re the one at a show by yourself. That being said, if as you speak to said person you realize that he/she may be a serial stalker, feel free to excuse yourself to “use the bathroom.”

5) Move around

One of the best parts about going to a show by yourself is that you have the ability to freely move about the venue without worrying about anybody else’s whereabouts. Everyone has that annoying friend who wants to be as close to the stage as possible or has to pee every 20 minutes (guilty), but when you’re on your own you can pretty much migrate as frequently, or infrequently, as you want. I watched Milky Chance from probably ten different vantage points in the 9:30 Club and it was AWESOME. Plus, the more you move, the more people you’ll interact with. Making it easier to make new friends.

6) Make concert buddies

That is, if you want to. If you’d rather hang out and enjoy the show all on your own, do you. I like making concert friends, even if the friendship only lasts an hour. Most people attending shows are very social and chatty. Remember, these are people who voluntarily paid to be inside a crowded room with other people’s sweat likely pressed up against their bodies — they are not recluses.

7) Remember that nobody cares

This is the single most important thing to keep in mind. I know this concept is difficult to absorb because in our own minds we are the center around which the universe revolves. But seriously, truly, really, nobody gives a shit about the fact that you’re at a show alone — because absolutely nobody is paying attention to you. So relax and dance as if nobody’s watching (because they aren’t).

If you aren’t familiar with Milky Chance, you should be! They’re an awesome German band comprised of Clemens Rehbein and Philipp Dausch, two friends who met in high school and have been making dope music together ever since. Their debut album “Sadnecessary” was released in October 2013 in Germany and one year later in the U.S. Their music fuses the singer-songwriter spirit with upbeat electronic sound — the result is deeply sentimental music that you can seriously groove to.

At one point in time during their show on Wednesday night, just before they played “Loveland,” Clemens and Philipp joyfully asked the crowd, “Is anyone in here tonight in love?” which incited an enthusiastic response from the crowd. Though I couldn’t myself scream and cheer in response, I loved that the band was so in touch with the subject they sing about with such emotion and conviction. That’s what makes them so special. The sincerity of sentiment wrapped in an upbeat package that makes you feel like you can dance through your troubles, until you finally find yourself dancing with the person you love.


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