I have always loved music. I started dance lessons at age 3, saved up to buy my first cassette tape at 4 (it was by the boyband 5ive if you were wondering), and almost cried when I got given my first iPod at 12. But for some unbeknown reason, I had never been to a concert until last year. In 2015 I saw four of my favourite artists live in five shows and marks the year I absolutely fell in love with live music.
In April I saw Ed Sheeran’s Multiply Tour in Christchurch. In July I saw Yellowcard (my all time favourite band) twice, in Sydney and home in Christchurch. In November during my Auckland trip I saw Hozier and Mumford & Sons.
No matter how many times you listen to a song or album recording, it is no comparison to hearing it live whilst you’re surrounded by people with the same passion for music as you.
All the shows I saw in 2015 were incredible in different ways. I was absolutely in awe of Ed’s ability to fill an entire arena with sound using his loop pedal. Also a total win that he did the whole show in an All Blacks jersey.
When I found out Yellowcard were going to play in Sydney whilst I was there I thought I had to go. I’d been a massive fan in my early high school years, and whilst I hadn’t listened as much in the last few years, they were a band I had to see live.
I got the bus from central station along with a bunch of others in black jeans with colourful hair, who were clearly headed to the same place as me (Mayday Parade were the opening act). I met a girl called Hayley who was also attending alone so we stuck together for the night. I am incredibly thankful for her advice to stand on the left hand side of the stage, in front of Sean the violinist. I knew endless lyrics but little about the band members, other than that they’d changed a bit over time.
The violin parts were what I loved about Yellowcard songs but I didn’t know that man behind them was Sean Mackin, a man that very quickly became my latest celebrity crush. Sean is an unbelievable performer, he has so much energy, pulls faces, interacts with the crowd, all whilst making the violin seem cool in an alternative/pop rock band.
Seeing Yellowcard live completely reignited my love of their music. I knew they were playing in Christchurch a few days later and so I bought a last minute ticket. The Christchurch show was in a tiny venue, effectively a small youth hall and the stage was about a foot high. My sister and I went and managed to squeeze our way to the second row (directly in front of Sean’s mic stand on the left of course). I went total crazy fangirl, screaming and almost passing out with excitement when I touched Sean at the end. This was my best concert experience of the year, I think it’s impossible to beat seeing your favourite band of 6 odd years in a tiny venue in your home town.
Hozier in November was my first time at Vector Arena, a much bigger venue than I had been to before. We had standing tickets and were maybe 10 metres back from the front, it would have been nice to be a little closer but it was pretty pushy. The thing that left me in awe at Hozier was the combined talents of everyone on stage, he had support of a full band and a number of back up singers whose beautiful harmonies completely filled the room. I unfortunately wasn’t feeling well during the show but I tried not to let that ruin it for me. This show will stay incredibly special to me as I was there with two of my best friends in the entire world.
My final big concert of the year was seeing Mumford & Sons, again at Vector Arena, 5 days after Hozier. I was lucky to be finished with exams before Hozier so I extended my stay to be able to go to Mumford as well. I went with my cousin and her friend and we somehow managed to keep moving forward during the show to the point when we were only about four people back from the front, near the middle. The highlight of this show was how absolutely nuts the crowd was going. Mumford completely exceeded my expectations, the combination of music, lyrics, lighting and atmosphere were incredible.
Marcus Mumford (the lead singer) was charismatic and brilliant, encouraging the crowd, even those seated, to get up and dance. They played a great mix of songs from all three albums, which was great as I hadn’t listened to the later stuff as much.
I also had a bonus live music experience on New Years Eve. I was staying with my friend Rachel and her family and we all went to the Hilltop Tavern on Banks Peninsula to a swing music gig by the Wellington City Shake-Em-Downers. They played a great combination of original pieces with classic jazz tunes such as Sing, Sing, Sing and Putting on the Ritz. Dancing along was the perfect way to see in 2016.
I don’t have any tickets to upcoming shows which is sad, but I’m definitely keeping my eye out for smaller gigs like the swing one I went to on New Years Eve. For now I can only dream! Below is my list of artists I love and would kill to see live.
Concert Bucket List
Panic! At The Disco
Fall Out Boy
I’d love to write more about music on this blog, so let me know if it’s something you’d be interested in, and tell me your concert bucket list in the comments below!