On Friday, September 9th, 2011 at 10:00AM EST, I joined the hordes of fans rushing to get tickets for SM Town Live in New York and at exactly 10:13AM, I had two tickets in Section 118, Row 15 with one VIP merchandise bag. Though the whole experience was absolutely and completely crazy, it was totally worth it—every penny, every second, and every sweat.
But why? A concert is the ultimate fan experience for fans to be with other fans and their artist(s).
Fans that attend concerts have already dedicated multiple facets of their lives—financial, social, emotional, and perhaps even intellectual—to enjoying and supporting their artist. Take an artist like SM Entertainment’s Dong Bang Shin Ki and a fan that has been following them since debut. After six years, 10 studio albums, countless posters, calendars, and socks why wouldn’t a fan make the final push for the best seats, the best package, and the best experience? Part of the reason why a concert is the ultimate fan experience is because in a lot of ways, it is serves as the culmination of their efforts. After having only experienced this person through headphones, video screens, and the like, fans finally have the ability to see this individual in person while having them do what the fan loves them for.
Fans that attend concerts also have the opportunity to share that very love with other fans. All types of fans congregate during concerts. You can share your stories, your experiences, even the little things, like your favorite song or favorite member. And though things may get crazy at times, a group of people, united by their enjoyment for one thing is united together, enjoying and sharing the same experience. Though it may not be a social experience to begin with, at a concert, music becomes one.
But on top of being able to enjoy themselves and being with others fans, the following is the most important:
History: Call it a load of romantic sap, but these people and their music have been with me for a long time. BoA gave me courage on my first day of high school, SNSD gave me confidence with my first love, and Dong Bang Shin Ki was always there, regardless of the moment. Music has been there for some of the most memorable, most remarkable moments of my life and these artists have been a big part of that.
Experience: To see an idol face-to-face, satisfies an internal desire to complete the experience of having someone touch your life. You have experienced the same loves and heartbreaks, the same trials and tribulations. But regardless of all the moments that a fan and artist have shared metaphysically, seeing an idol in person confirms the reality of their existence and thus the reality of the experience in a way that separation by oceans and landforms cannot. And it is the same for them. The very oceans and landforms that separate us from them, separate them from us. For a brief time, we are all here, in the same space, sharing the same experience.
That is why many fans will spend any amount of money, any amount of time, and any amount of effort just to score the tickets for the concert and for the idols of their dreams. It is a moment to enjoy yourself, enjoy other fans, enjoy the artist, and more importantly, enjoy the experience that everyone is sharing. Because when you are there, in the same space, sharing the same experience, it makes the musical and in many ways, emotional bond you have with everyone in attendance more complete that is has ever been. Because for a couple of hours, all of you are going through the exact same thing.
Call it crazy, call it delusional, call it whatever you want—fans, and even artists, believe it and that is exactly why concerts are huge events that people, on both ends, go crazy for.