When DJ super-duo Skrillex and Diplo, collectively known as Jack Ü, played back to back concerts in downtown San Francisco this month, groups of 20-somethings flooded Market Street, their kandi-clad hands clasped together as they migrated to and from each show.
Like many of them, I had been awake and at my laptop at 9:59 a.m. in mid-February when pre-sale tickets first became available, obsessively refreshing the web page until it hit 10:00 so I could snatch my spot in the crowd.
Unlike many of them, I didn’t hashtag my mandatory post-show Instagram picture “squad goals accomplished,” because there was no squad – I went by myself.
To many people, the concept of attending shows alone sounds sad, lonely, and maybe even a little weird, but it’s actually how I prefer going to concerts. If I’m dropping a lot of money on a concert, it’s because I really care about the music. There have been countless times I have been out with friends at a bar or dancing at a club and one of my friends drank too much and either had to go home early or needed someone to hold their hair back in the bathroom while they threw up for 45 minutes. This is irritating enough on a normal night, but even worse if I’ve paid to get into the venue and want to enjoy the show I came to see.
Even if nobody’s too drunk, if the friend I brought is clearly not having as good of a time as I am, I start feeling bad and guilty and it makes it difficult to enjoy the performance. I prefer to show up to concerts early, spend the whole time dancing as close to the stage as possible and stay until they kick everyone out, but I have a lot of friends who would rather only stay for an hour or so and spend half the time at the bar. When I attend shows by myself, I can do my own thing.
This isn’t to say that I don’t ever enjoy going to shows with other people. Sometimes it’s fun to have a dancing partner, someone to scream the words with when I get excited about the song that’s playing and a buddy with whom to reminisce about the performance while we’re waiting for the L Owl.
More often than not when I go to shows solo, I’m the only person in the crowd who’s obviously by themselves, but that doesn’t mean I’m having any less fun than the group of girls squealing behind me and posting selfies on their Snapchat stories. Shows are fun, period, and sometimes I like to enjoy them by myself, and that’s not a sad thing.