I always get a little nervous when going to an 18+ show at the Metro. You simply never know what you're getting yourself into. Such was the case Saturday night when I ventured out to see Nada Surf. I had concers about what I would find what I would find inside, as I honestly had no clue what kind of audience even goes to a Nada Surf concert. All I know about this band is their new album and the fact that I used to sing "Popular" all throughout high school. Would the rest of the audience be my age or would they all be 18 and 19?
Once inside, all of my fears of a crowd much younger than myself were both confirmed and dismissed. Yeah, there were 18 yr olds, but there was also a much older crowd at this show. Many of my fellow concert-goers were well into their 40s. The first thing I noticed when I walked in was the incredibly high excitement level in the air. It was the type of feeling that you can sense in people that don't usually get to go to concerts and then they mystically have tickets to their favorite band. Delta Spirit was on stage, doing their wholesomely rocking thing, and a guy that must have been seven feet tall and 250 pounds was just dancing away, having the greatest of times.
One of my favorite things about the Metro is their meticulous attention to the schedule. Every set is a specific length and there are clocks and postings all over the venue to remind both the audience and the artists. Not 20 minutes after Delta Spirit was done, Nada Surf took the stage.
The show was your average rock show at the Metro, complete with power ballads, an appearance from The Jealous Girlfriends' Holly Miranda. What I took away from the show, though, was commnitas. When you go to a concert, you can usually expect the band to ask you to sing a couple of lines at some point, that's to be expected. Artists do it all the time, sometimes to disastrous results. Not at this show, though. When the band asked us all to sing, we sang. It was nothing complicated, just some simple "la la las" to get us all through to the next song. What happened next, though, surprised me in a very positive way. Nada Surf asked us to dance. They didn't just simply tell us, "Hey guys, you should dance during this song." They actually had a little side-stepping routine planned for us and after showing us how it was done, they began their song. To my amazement, the entire audience (save a couple of lame folks that thought they were too cool for it) actually started doing the dance. I felt completely geeky and out of place and self-aware, but I also loved it. I loved being in a scene from a cheesy music movie from the 90s. Often, concerts can be a personal experience. You may share the evening with a friend or two, but it's very rare that you leave the venue feeling as if you've been a part of an ensemble all night. 'Twas very gratifying.
Nada Surf tends to visit Chicago often. They even noted at one point that they've lost count of how many times they've played the Metro. My advice to you? If you're feeling particularly sour and in need of of a shared experience? Go check them out the next time they're in town.
Photo by Flickr user cshimala