My Sober Concert Experience

Is it necessary to be under the influence to have a good time?

For the purposes of representation only

On the evening of November 10, I decided to take a break from the monotony of my routine life by treating myself to a Martin Garrix concert that was held at the Mahalaxmi Race Course in Mumbai. Caught up due to some prior commitments, I unfortunately reached only at around 8 p.m. for a concert that was scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m., but that wasn’t even the problem. In the hassle surrounding the start of the concert, I FORGOT TO PRE-BOOZE! So, I officially had a sober concert experience, surrounded by people who seemed to be potheads and alcoholics.

The earliest observation that gets to you is how overexcited and emotional people under the influence of substances get over the most trivial of issues. At the concert, Garrix opened with ‘Lions in the Wild’ and as soon as the song started, the guy my right almost had an emotional meltdown and he started to narrate to me the story of how the song reminded him of his ex-girlfriend and ranted on about why he should have never broken up with her. It was all the more unusual and ironic because I had never met this person before in my life. In fact, I don’t even remember his name now to be honest.

The next half an hour or so seemed pretty normal, nothing extremely untoward apart from a few overenthusiastic people ditching their shirts to combat the heat of the concert. Then, another realisation dawned on me.

It doesn’t matter whether you are  the world’s greatest dancer who has perfected the likes of salsa and what not, because the dance moves that get the most traction at concerts is an absurd combination of Ganpati dance and random jumping around. The dance moves at concert are perfect for the adage of ‘what goes around comes around’, as they creatively reinvent themselves every 5 minutes or with every new song.

There is also the myth that concerts are all about the dancing that needs to be seriously debunked. On that night, the place was crowded and dark, and I was standing in that tiny 1 × 1 square metre space, guarding my spot more dearly than a passenger in a crowded Virar local, afraid of flailing arms of people around me, or my phone falling out of my pocket. All this while trying to dance myself and ‘enjoy’ the concert.

My final observation was that we are humans and we get tired after a period of rigorous physical activity such as dancing. It doesn’t matter if it’s the world’s number 1 DJ is playing ‘Animals’ at the end of the concert, most people attending the concert reached their point of satiety by then. I was beginning to feel my legs cramp up a bit, and the others around me were too numb to understand such sensations, they simply began to pass out.

The concert ended a little before 10 p.m., and the crowd made a mad dash towards the exits, which almost resulted in mini stampedes. It is only after the end of such energy-filled events that members of the crowd begin to understand the urges of hunger, thirst and heat. The people that profit the most out of this situation are the local roadside sellers who sell water, food and cigarettes at triple inflation.

Loads of couples and friends who were separated at the concert reunited outside once again and seemed as though they were meeting after ages, the stoners piled up and went off to places to score, the alcoholics headed to bars to continue drinking, and the unfortunate, like me, headed back home.

While the concert in itself was amazing with Martin Garrix spinning some memorable tunes, I wondered whether some places were best enjoyed under the influence of a few substances, and not sober.