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I’ve made an important discovery in the field of psychology. For some reason I can’t get published by the American Psychological Association, but this paper has been wise enough to let me report my findings.

Here’s the backstory: I woke up, scanned my usual news sources and email, and almost wet myself upon learning that one of my favorite bands, the Black Keys, added a stop in Denver to their 2012 tour. It’s been weeks since, and it’s become apparent to me and everyone subjected to my nonsense that I’m going through stages of concert excitement.

Yes, much like one goes through stages of grief, I’ve concluded that there are stages of excitement for live music. I’ve outlined what to expect below. Hopefully WebMD will pick this up, so we can all diagnose ourselves with something other than brain tumors.

Stage 1: OMGOMGOMG

It’s your average day. You’re slumped over a coffee, looking at cat videos on YouTube, and the news pops up on your phone/Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr/email (WOOF! Office fans?). Your favorite band is coming to town. If you’re standing, you need to sit down. If you’re sitting down, you jump up. Your jaw drops, and when you recover use of it, all you can do is yell some variation of “OH MY GOD HOLY SHIT YES.” Next, you frantically relay the news every other fan you know, then maybe start rubbing it in the faces of friends living somewhere clearly not cool enough to deserve this band’s presence. Spend the rest of the day, maybe even the week, strutting around and greeting everyone you know with “DUDE. Did you hear?”

Stage 2: Time for excessive planning.

Now that you’ve calmed down, it’s time to plan for this show to end all shows. It’s so far off, you need to do something, anything, to make it feel more immediate. How much are tickets? Should I sell a kidney to afford floor seats? Who wants to come with? Ew, don’t tell him, he’ll be a total drag. Where should we get drinks before? And after? How can I convince the lead singer to marry me? Better wear a nice bra if I’m gonna throw it at him.

Stage 3: Wait, what?

It’s all planned out and all you can do it wait. Weeks go by and you get distracted by other things. There are other shows to see in the meantime, plus work to get done and parties to attend. So it catches you a bit off guard when someone says, “Hey, excited for the big show?” You actually kind of forgot, and by staring blankly at this person, you now you feel like your fan cred has taken a hit. Damnit.

Stage 4: Let’s speculate endlessly.

OK, the show is back on your mind and about a week away. This is the point where you start wondering to yourself and, much to the annoyance of everyone you know, out loud. The most time consuming part of this stage is guessing at the set list. There are at least five songs you really, really hope the band plays. And, chances are, the band has a huge hit you’re worried they got sick of and will refuse to play a la Nirvana and “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” On top of that, there’s probably a list of potential surprise guests to consider. This is especially true for rappers — the number of killer appearances possible during a Jay-Z show, for example, is crazy (sorry, cray.) At this point, your daily tasks have taken a back seat to anything having to do with this show.

Stage 5: LET’S DO THIS.

Finally. The day has arrived and you’re so fucking stoked. You’ve got that swagger in your step that you had back in Stage 1, and your iPod is making its way through this band’s entire catalog. Nothing can bring you down today because nothing else matters but this concert. There’s only one concern on your mind: How early is too early to start pre-gaming? Doesn’t matter. In RST (Rock Standard Time) it’s just about BEER:30. Party on, Wayne.

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