The Modern Concert… and Why I Miss The Way They Used To Be


Last week I made sure to go over what’s necessary to keep your instrument safe when going to a summer festival. I feel good that we went over that and I can sleep at night knowing that many more instruments will be kept safe this festival season, but I still feel that since the summer music season is approaching there is one more thing I need to get off my chest. I find that going to a concert nowadays is a much different experience than when I was younger, and I must explain why…

As much as I don’t love waiting in line, I would do it for hours to make sure I got a concert ticket… That little piece of thick paper with the band name printed across the front… yep I still have a drawer full of them. Every ticket stub that I saved has a little story attached to it, and they are conveniently dated so it helps me go right back to the exact date and time. HOWEVER, now you can sit at home and order your ticket online and conveniently print it immediately… This seems weird to me (But also convenient)… I mean that little ticket seemed to mean so much more… the printed receipt with a barcode on it for security to scan seems somewhat less important… I am not sure why, it just does. I want to go back to the days of anxiously waiting in line with other potential concert goers, it seemed like such a commitment to the band… or even a statement of support.

Point 1 – Old Fashioned Paper Ticket

Speaking of lines, security at concerts nowadays is staggering. You can barely get through security with a bottle of water or a bottle opener. Upon entering the concert venue you get patted down and searched for any suspect items. HOWEVER, security used to not be so tight and there was a more “anything goes” atmosphere. Bottled water wasn’t a threat and often times the only person at the gate was the ticket taker. Being that we live in a much different world now, I like the idea of security with that many people around.

Point 2 – Gate Security

Once inside you can breathe a sigh of relief… until you hop in the refreshment line… $8 beers and $4 waters… Ok so that is just plain crazy. I know that the vendors have to make a bit too, but holy cow… I mean it is a good thing there is an ATM machine next to the beer tent. HOWEVER, you used to be able to bring a water bottle in (and it could contain water or other beverages). If you did happen to hop in line for a refreshment, I felt they used to be reasonably priced… maybe $3 beers and $2 waters.

Point 3 – BYOB and Lower Priced Refreshments

So the show starts and all of a sudden there is this immediate glow of blue lights from the crowd… and everyone is on their phones… Some are videoing the performance, some are posting to their facebook, others are texting their friend who somehow couldn’t get in the gate, but none of them are really at the concert… I mean they might be physically, but mentally they are doing four different things at once. HOWEVER, concerts used to be a moment in time… you were there, and you heard everything. There was no video to review or youtube to revisit and hear the exact performance from the night prior. It was important that you took everything in; the sounds, the sights… everything… because it was a moment. There is something almost romantic about how precious concerts can be because it is a moment in time that will never happen again… and how awesome to be fully in that moment.

Point 4 – Distraction-less Concerts

So if I tally the points the only one that goes for the modern experience is security… But to me what says it all is the last point (taken by the concerts similar to the ones I attended when I was younger). Concerts are a beautiful exchange between an artist and an audience, and we should honor that and give our full attention to that. (no, watching it through the video screen on your phone isn’t the same thing). Be present, listen, watch, and take in everything the concert has to offer. Don’t get me wrong I watch some of the videos posted featuring concerts and other performances (and thank goodness Woodstock was documented), but to me going in my dresser drawer and looking at my old ticket stubs tells so much more of a story and brings back so many more memories.

Please safely enjoy any concert you may plan to go to this summer and even though it is tempting, try and keep the phone out of it. Let your eyes and ears retain the memories, and remember to save that ticket stub if you happen to get one.

Happy concert going and most of all happy pickin’

Tony Polecastro


Tony Polecastro is a certified “guitar geek” who drinks three super sized coffees every day. When he’s not doing YouTube guitar reviews for the Acoustic Letter, he teaches guitar, dobro, and banjo to over 50 students locally and worldwide via Skype. You can get free tabs and video lessons for the Acoustic Letter demo songs on his website