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Hearing It Live: The Full Concert Experience

Everything you need to know about going to concerts – from stunning outfits to the best songs to sing!
Sabrina Carpenter performing at Terminal 5 (May 11 2023)

Between the thrill of seeing the faces of my favorite music artists and the feeling I get when I hear my favorite song come on over the giant speakers, going to concerts has become one of my favorite things to do in my free time. When I have the time and money to see one of my favorite artists nearby, you can count on me to be singing my heart out at a variety of venues.

In 2023, I have had the privilege to go to four concerts, and now I can share the complete breakdown of the ultimate concert experience: what to wear, how to socialize, and, of course, how to have the best time!

Live music has quickly become one of my favorite things since, at concerts, I feel like I have a commonality with other fans at the concert, and hearing the songs I love being sung by the artist in front of my face is a pretty insane feeling. This year, I have had the opportunity to see four concerts at varying locations; Sabrina Carpenter (Terminal 5- NYC), Taylor Swift (MetLife Stadium – NJ), Harry Styles (RCF Arena- Italy), and Boygenius (Madison Square Garden- NYC).

While each artist differs in location, performance, and aesthetic, each concert has proved to be a fun and unique experience. This year truly has been memorable, as each concert has given me irreplaceable experiences. Most students in Wayne Hills High School could agree that concerts are something everyone should experience, and now WHHS students and I will give anyone looking to go to a concert the complete breakdown of the experience.

On May 11th, 2023, I was lucky enough to see Sabrina Carpenter perform at Terminal 5 in New York City, with Blu DeTiger as the supporting act. Sabrina’s setlist included every song from her recent album, “Emails I Can’t Send”, along with a few songs from previous albums. Two of my closest friends accompanied me and can verify the truly irreplicable experience we had. For my friends and I, we all wore pink, purple, and red to match the aesthetic of the album and tour. Carpenter stole the stage with her fun dancing, and her colorful set, filled with hearts, set the vibe for the night. Alise Pauksena – a junior at Wayne Hills – shared that, “I loved the end when she played ‘Nonsense’ and all the balloons and confetti came out from the ceiling, it was really cute.” Her performance brought out a fun energy from the entire crowd, and her live vocals had the crowd in awe.

While Carpenter already had me wowed with her performance, I feel a need to share that the opener, Blu DeTiger, made a great impression on me as well. Alise Pauksena also shared, “I had never heard of her before the concert but as soon as she played more of her set, I really thought her music was a vibe”. DeTiger played a medley of songs that are either featured on her albums or released as singles. I also hadn’t heard of her before the concert, but now she has become a staple on my playlists. My friends and I also had the privilege to meet her after the concert and take a picture with her, and her sweet and friendly attitude made her even more remarkable.

On the topic of fabulous supporting acts, Taylor Swift’s tour, formally known as the Eras Tour, featured a spectacular list of supporting artists joining Swift on tour. While I would’ve been happy to see any of these supporting acts, I was blessed to be able to see Gracie Abrams and Phoebe Bridgers. Phoebe Bridgers has been at the top of my Spotify Wrapped for years, so seeing her for the first time live was incredible. I also have been a fan of Gracie Abrams for a good amount of time and her set made me love her, and her music, even more. I attended the Eras Tour with Lexi Bonczek, a junior at Wayne Hills, who shared with me her thoughts about these supporting acts, “I was so happy to find out that Phoebe and Gracie were opening for Taylor since they are two of my favorite artists. Hearing them live was great and their vocals were amazing in person”. Each of their sets had fans singing and dancing, even before Taylor Swift arrived on stage to perform.

The Eras Tour is one of the best concerts I’ve seen in my entire life. As I previously stated, the opening acts were a pleasure to watch, but Swift created one of the most incredible atmospheres at her concert. Lexi Bonczek also told me her thoughts on socializing at the concert, “I loved that everyone shared friendship bracelets there. I think it brought fans together.” I agree that taking home a bracelet relating to a Swift song was the perfect concert souvenir. Fans also showed creativity with their outfits, as they featured bright colors, sparkles, or details that were specific to one of Swift’s songs or albums. Yet, Swift’s performance alone could’ve made the experience the best night of my life. Her vocals were beautiful live and her outfit changes kept the crowd’s eyes on her the entire time. Her ability to feature a song from each of her 10 albums on the setlist, while including two “surprise songs”, or songs that aren’t on the original setlist, each night is truly a talent. Swift made her love for her fans extremely clear on stage, and the workers at MetLife stadium were accommodating and kind. You could say that it was a concert that I will remember “All Too Well”. 

Swift isn’t the only trending artist who gave me a night to remember. I had the privilege of seeing her ex-boyfriend and good friend, Harry Styles, in concert in July of 2023. This concert was extremely special, as I had the opportunity to see the final show of his tour, “Love on Tour”,  at RCF Arena in Reggio Emilia, Italy. Seeing Harry Styles live is already a unique experience, but seeing him in a different country was truly a once-in-a-lifetime event. Junior Lexi Bonczek and I both also had a chance to see Harry Styles in NYC in previous years. In both NYC and Italy, fans proved to be kind and the crowd was very hyped for Styles. However, Lexi pointed out the differences in outfits in Italy versus NYC, “In New York, it was a lot more glamorous. In both places, you see a lot of boas and feathers but Italy was a lot more casual. Most people just wore a t-shirt and jeans since it was so hot out.” Despite it being 96 degrees outside in an outdoor venue, Lexi and I had a blast and we were honored to hear Styles perform a special piano piece that he had written just for the final show. Whether it’s in Italy or at Madison Square Garden in NYC, Styles proves to be one of my favorite performers.

It’s not just Harry Styles who put on a great show at Madison Square Garden, as I recently saw Boygenius on October 2nd of this year at MSG. Boygenius (Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus) has become one of my favorite bands, and seeing them live was life-changing. This concert was truly special since it was the first time that Boygenius had performed at MSG. They proved to create a lovely atmosphere at their concerts, as every fan was so kind and accepting. As for outfits, there were many references to their music videos and many people came in a button-up shirt and tie, which is a signature look of the band. Their setlist included every song from their EP titled “Boygenius” and their new album titled “The Record”, along with a special preview of their new four songs from their new EP, “The Rest”. Baker, Bridgers, and Dacus created beautiful harmonies and had the crowd going insane every time they sang.

The supporting act for this show was one of my other favorite bands, Muna, who are also great friends with the members of Boygenius. Muna (Katie Gavin, Josette Maskin, Naomi McPherson) had a set featuring songs from their three albums and had the crowd going wild. Their performance was wildly entertaining and you can sense that each member has a true love for their fans. Senior Anzor Mustafa was not able to see them at MSG, but he shared with me his experience seeing them live in 2022, “Muna was really fun and had a lot of energy. Even people who didn’t know their songs were having fun and dancing around.” I 100% agree with Anzor, as it seemed the whole crowd loved their energy. As a huge fan of both Boygenius and Muna, this night was one that I wish I could relive over and over again. 

In the future, I hope to see more concerts, as there are still so many artists that I would love to see live. Connecting with people who have similar interests as yourself is so important, and I find that concerts are the perfect way to meet new people. I have yet to go to a concert where I did not have fun and I would recommend that anyone who has the opportunity to see their favorite artists should go! In the next couple of years, I would love to see Lana Del Rey, The Weeknd, and Clairo live in concert.

The next time you want to go out with your friends, check to see what live music is playing near you!

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About the Contributor
Sophia Flower
Sophia Flower, Staff Writer
Sophia Flower is a junior at Wayne Hills High School and is involved in both journalism and the Patriot Press club. She enjoys writing about entertainment and lifestyle, specifically movies and music!

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