Dr. Lisa M. Coffey
Those who know me understand that I am an avid concertgoer from classical to country music. The rhythms, crescendos, cadences, vocals, harmonies, and ad-libs awaken my spirit and allow my body to flow freely through dance—motion, the expression. I enjoy music in all forms, and most times very loud. However, this blog post is about the universal impact of music in a concert atmosphere.
For the third time in 9 months, I traveled to Las Vegas to see live concert performances. I was excited to see the acts each time because I knew the concerts would be excellent; I planned to enjoy a few cocktails and dance until my feet hurt. Silk Sonic and Usher put on great shows worthy of making my top concerts list, and I have been to many concerts.
It wasn't until my second Usher concert in Vegas that this blog post was born. This statement from my concert companion, "music is so universal, no matter the differences between us, tonight we are all together having a great time" (S.V., 2022), gave me a perspective to see this experience through a different lens. At that moment, I looked around the venue and saw 5,000 plus people on their feet, jammin' to the beat, laughing, dancing, and having a great time. No matter our race, religion, sexual orientation, political affiliations, ethnicities, or socioeconomic status, we pushed past those differences, high-fived one another, and kept on groovin'. If the boundaries of the concert venue could expand into the streets, imagine the universality and effects music would have on our everyday interactions with one another. Instead of prejudice, hate, or ignorance toward our differences, we could celebrate those differences and offer friendly high-fives instead of insults or ignorance.
Although Usher is primarily a Rhythm and Blues (R&B) performer, which is heavily influenced by the African America culture, his audience/fan base is very diverse. Ushers' career has spanned three decades, widening the age range of his audience from the young to the old; I am no spring chicken myself. In our section of the venue, many races were seated. Yet, we all swayed together in unison, sang horribly together, and sat in amazement at times to Ushers' powerful vocals and, let's be honest, the pole dancers in the background.
There was no commotion, even though many of us sipped on our party cups, and Las Vegas is 4/20 legal (that's a book/blog post for another time). The common thread between all of us was the music. I wish we could box up that atmosphere and share it with everyone to deal with some of the complexities in life. The isms (racism, ageism, sexism, socialism, elitism, and others) that divide us all simmer under the universality of music. Our lives would be so different if we could vibe to the beats of music that mellows our spirit in and out of a concert arena.
In my book iDid and uCan2, I write about the impact of music on my life. From teaching music in the first grade, my love affair with music and dance. However, it was not until that quick conversation with my date that I realized the impact music has on us as a society. In unison, under the sound of some groovy music, we are greater than the sum of all ignorance, hate, or bigotry. We were all on one accord for those two-plus hours, and reflecting on those moments represents hope and feeling good.
Music to our ears is refreshing and a unification source if we open our minds and hearts beyond the spaces where we enjoy our music. So I encourage everyone to reflect on the music that stirs your soul and how those messages can improve your interpersonal relationships to unify our differences.
(C) Copyright 2022. All rights reserved Lisa M. Coffey