As a concert photographer and general music lover, I have been to a lot of concerts in my lifetime. My first one was a B5 + Ciara concert at Six Flags just before my junior year of high school (nine and a half years ago?!) and that was when I finally understood the thrill of going to concerts to see the artists you love. What's actually kind of funny here, though, is that I didn't know basically anything about these two artists before I saw them live. I've been to concerts where my favorite musicians have performed, and these two artists are still at the very top of my list. It's pretty amazing how a live performance can completely change how you feel about an artist. In this case, I fell in love with the style, message, stage presence, and raw talent of each of these artists. This is why you should always go to shows, even if you've never heard of the person or band who's playing. You just might be pleasantly surprised and discover a new found love for the artist or genre!
A couple summers ago, I went to a music festival with one of my friends. He was really excited about seeing an artist I had never even heard of and he brought me along to join him at the show. I came home that night on top of the world. Allen Stone's show was the best I had ever been to. He knew how to get the crowd pumped and involved, he sang with so much soul, and he was incredibly kind when we met him after the show. I didn't know any of the words to his songs since I had never heard them before, but I still had the time of my life. Allen Stone knows how to put on a show and if you ever get the chance to see him live, DO IT. You won't regret it. It's one big dance party and he'll have you movin' and groovin' with everyone around you. His concert definitely wins for the best high-energy show I've ever been to. (You can check out some of the pictures from this show in my Concert Photography.)
This past weekend, I was coming in from out of town and instead of going straight home, I texted one of my friends to see what she was up to. An hour later, I was listening to a very cool Christopher Norman open for Washington native, Mary Lambert (just like Allen Stone). Small crowd, everyone was sitting down. Very chill. I didn't have my camera on me, but that was okay. As a photographer whose passion is for concert photography, it was weird to be at a show without my trusty Canon in hand. I think that might have been my first show without my camera in a couple years, actually. What this allowed me to do, though, is something I haven't done in a while:
Just be present.
I got to go to the show and enjoy it just like everyone else. I didn't run back and forth to snap pictures. I just took it in as someone in the audience without a care in the world. I love shooting shows, it's one of the most incredible feelings in the world, but this was a show I was happy to just sit back, relax, and take in in a different way.
I knew a few of Mary Lambert's songs, but not too well. As soon as she stepped on stage, I knew this wasn't going to be an ordinary show. Filled with beautiful spoken word and songs straight from her soul, there's no doubt in my mind or heart that she moved people in the audience, myself included. Her shows really should come with a trigger warning, just like she said! The part that moved me the most was her story about body image. What started as a funny tale about editing music videos ("You create abs?!? You can make butts?!?") turned into a spoken word section that really grabbed me. Honestly, I teared up listening to it. The vulnerability and honestly and heart she put into each sentence empowered each and every person who really absorbed what she had to say. While listening to it, you suddenly feel beautiful, stunning even. You feel like you're a work of art no matter what your size. You're special because there's only one of you and you shouldn't hate the skin you're in. Embrace it, love it, and treat it with care. Everyone should hear that message.
On top of that, Mary Lambert is just hilarious. She has an infectious laugh, a bright personality that can light up a room, and a voice that makes you feel something. Love, happiness, sorrow. She makes you want to get up on your feet and sing along with her to "Secrets" while you dance around with your friends and people you've never met. She makes you leave there feeling so good to your core to the point where you're telling your friends that you officially want her to be your new best friend. Mary Lambert is down-to-earth and full of real talk. Going to her show was the best decision I made that day. I sincerely hope you'll go see her live whenever she comes to your city. I sincerely hope you get an experience like mine. I haven't been able to get her songs out of my head since the show!
Check out Mary Lambert's tour dates, bring some tissues to the show, and get ready to cry and laugh right along with her. And Mary, if you ever come back here around Halloween, I'll happy-cry at babies dressed as tacos right along with you.