There is, however, another aspect of a good, VERY good rock show that transcends anything and everything on the physical level. It has to do with intimacy. On one hand, it is an extension of the sex metaphor, at least as far as emotionally involved encounters are concerned. On the other, it’s something that cannot be matched by any act of physical intimacy, however emotionally charged. It is somewhere close to sex as described in the best of the love stories, whose authors take you into their characters’ heads instead of focusing on their bodies. Perhaps it is something like sex would be without all too often being reduced to meaningless, casual or utilitarian. Maybe it is something that sex was meant to be, something that it strives to imitate on the more mundane plane.
I would say that most of it happens in the mind, just like anything on an advanced emotional level. And yet, the body is involved just as much. Body, mind, heart, soul, or whatever you deem responsible for you being you – your whole being is committed to the moment with unadulterated passion.
This gives rise to the question – if a rock show is so much like sex, who are the parties involved? As it often is, the most obvious answer is also the wrong one. It is not happening between you and the band, or any specific person in it. Not even the one standing right in front of you with a microphone and an expression that shows he’s enjoying it at the very least as much as you are. Yet a show is what brings you, a fan, and the band together, is it not? It is. But there is more to it.
I have attended four shows of my favourite band, seeking to find this emotional proximity, the point of contact between myself and the band whose music spoke to the innermost bits of my heart. At my fifth one, I finally found it. All it took was opening myself enough so that the parts of me that the music spoke to could speak back. At every show before this one, I always sought with my eyes, trying to make eye contact for a fleeting moment. At this one, it was not required. Half of the time, I could barely see the stage, through my flailing hair and half-closed eyes and water-sprayed glasses. But I felt closer to the band than if the singer had spent the entire show looking me squarely in the face. I finally fully understood what he meant that one time when he said that it was always about the music, not the messengers.
The intimacy I spoke of happens not when one pair of eyes meets another, but when souls connect. The music is the innermost essence of the one playing it, and it takes nothing short of the absolute entirety of your own being to embrace it fully. When you do that, you pour your heart out at the ones pouring theirs out at you, and somewhere halfway, true magic happens. You are one.
And almost every time, something beautiful, loved and wanted is born as a result.