by Jasmine Salgado (’26) | November 18, 2022
A year and a half of pandemic-related anxiety and isolation has left society hungry for forms of entertainment that used to be commonplace in a pre-COVID world, such as concerts. As COVID-19 no longer dominates every aspect of day-to-day life, the younger generation is now being exposed to new experiences that they were otherwise incapable of appreciating these past few years. Having been forced into self-isolation during some of their most socially formative years, Gen-Z has undoubtedly undergone a unique and complicated experience, and are essentially starting from scratch with establishing new social norms at concerts.
The anticipation and obsession teens have formed around their favorite artists is made even more extreme in how long they have gone unable to see them. This plays a huge role in the increase of medical emergencies at concerts lately. Phoebe Bridgers, Mitski, and Billie Eilish are only a few singers that have had dangerous crowds, either from general over-excitement or outrage over the set list they chose to perform.
Due to the drastically increased time spent online the past few years, many people have started buying tickets to see an artist simply because one of their songs went viral on TikTok. Since they are unfamiliar with the rest of their discography, they easily get restless during a performance once the most popular song is over (if sung at all). It should be noted that these singers are all most popular with younger demographics, including many who are going to their first concerts — unfortunately, this same subsection of fans are being put most in danger by this post-COVID frenzy.
While these concerts can be intense, the opposing end of the spectrum has become prevalent as well. A trend formed last summer where attendees of American rapper Coi Leray’s concerts would silently stare at her, as well as lie on the floor and sleep, mid-performance. This, for many people, was done in the hopes of being recorded and posted on social media platforms to then have their few moments of fame. This blatant disrespect towards the performer seems to become only more common over time.
After having had so much time at home to build a romanticized image of their favorite singer’s personality and concerts in their head, Gen-Z keeps being disappointed by imperfect reality. Having had no choice but to daydream for so long in self-isolation naturally brings them to this conclusion, but they will need to unlearn this behavior in order to fully appreciate concerts for what they are: not a time spent in anger towards an artist, but one of happiness with fellow music lovers.
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