The Power of Music

Connecting with people, no matter where they come from. 
Setting aside all the differences we might have and bonding over the simple fact that we like the same songs.

Last week I finally managed to visit a friend of mine again. And surprisingly, not much has changed over the last four years. Laura and I first met while we were both studying in Los Angeles, which was all the way back in 2010. Funnily enough we didn't get along too well when we first met each other. I think we both thought that the other person was kind of arrogant. 

But after talking for a couple of minutes we realized that our first impressions of each other couldn't be further from the truth, and we became best friends in a matter of days. When we had to get back to our home countries we swore to visit each other as often as possible, but as always, life happened.
Prague, 2011
A year after we came back from the U.S., Laura asked me if I wanted to come to Prague for this music festival they had going on in the summer. I recognized some of the bands, even one of my all time favorites was playing, so it was a no-brainer for me to say yes. A week before the festival Laura told me that her uncle was tour manager of one of the Czech bands that were playing, meaning we even got backstage passes. 

After the initial freak out I calmed down and reminded myself that backstage is not that glamorous and that musicians are humans as well. But what do I know, I've only ever been backstage when I was performing with the orchestra I played in, and backstage usually meant one tiny room for 50 people including all their instruments. Fun times.

Brian Fallon/ The Gaslight Anthem, Prague City Fest, 2011
Anyway, back to the actual story. Prague City Fest was amazing, and we spent a total of 30mins backstage as we both wanted to enjoy the festival from the other side of the stage. Funnily enough they only gave out artist passes, so everyone thought we would also eventually be performing. For everyone's sake I'm glad we didn't.  

The Hives, Prague City Fest, 2011
 When we came back to Laura's place we thought that this could be our "thing", meeting up at concerts every once in a while, so when Springsteen announced that he'd come to Prague in 2012 I was like "Hell yeah, count me in!"
Since we had standing tickets for the show, we waited in line for eight hours before they opened the doors. Which sounds horrible, but we started talking to the other crazy people around us and had lots of good chats. Once again we bonded over the fact that we liked the same music. And coffee. Lots of it. 

To this day I keep talking to the two guys we ended up spending the rest of the concert with, one of them from Slovakia and the other one from Poland. During the concert we stood in the second row, Springsteen played for 3.5h and it was one of the best concerts I've ever been to.

Springsteen, 2012
When Laura and I had to say goodbye, we figured that seeing each other once a year sounds like something we should be able to do, so we swore to keep an eye on who's coming to town in order to have an excuse to visit each other. But, as expected, things didn't really go to plan and we both were super busy, especially during the summertime. 

Don't ask me how, but four years passed and neither of us managed to visit the other one. So, at the beginning of this year, I spontaneously asked Laura if she was free for a couple of days in April to go and see Frank Turner, and thankfully it all worked out. 

We both only had about three days to spare, but that was still way better than nothing. Thankfully, booking a flight in Europe is not that expensive, so even a chronically broke student like myself can once in a while go on vacation.

I arrived at Prague Airport and found Laura at Costa, buying me a coffee. I immediately had to smile at the fact that she didn't even ask me if I wanted a coffee, she just knew. Some things never change. We spent the rest of the day walking along the riverside and catching up over food and cider. It's crazy how much and yet how little we both have changed over the last couple of years. 

The next day we did some more walking up and down various hills of Prague, always stopping for coffee and/or food once we reached the top. There's nothing better than enjoying the view of a beautiful city with some cake and good coffee. In the evening we went to see Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls, which turned out to be the best concert I've seen them play so far. Funnily enough, I felt like half the audience wasn't even Czech but were foreigners like myself.

Ducking Punches, Lucerna Music Hall, 2016
To be honest, it was one of Frank's speeches that made me write this blog post. I can't recall what he said word by word, but it went along the lines of setting all differences aside and treating everybody equally, to simply have a good time and maybe even make new friends while being at his show. 

I've always been a person who tries to be as non-judgmental and free of prejudices as possible, and I tend to surround myself with people who think the same way. I don't care about your gender, your religion, your nationality, your skin color or your favorite kind of music. Okay, that last one is a total lie.

But going to concerts always makes me realize that for an hour or two, we are one big family, united by the fact that we like the same music. For a moment, the most important thing is that everyone has a good time in the company of one another. People forget about the prejudices or judgements they might have and different opinions on politics etc. get set aside. And I'd say most of the people I meet (at concerts) think the same way as I do, we don't care what background you come from as long as you don't behave like an asshole.

Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls, Lucerna Music Hall, 2016
Concerts and traveling are a great way to get in contact with people you wouldn't normally talk to. And the more you talk to all sorts of people, the more you realize that it doesn't matter whether you're German or Czech, man or woman, black or white, tall or small, brown haired or red haired. If you can have a great time spending two hours at a concert together, why shouldn't you be able to do the same over coffee? 

Sadly, there will always be this one exception. Just remember that assholes will be assholes, no matter where they come from. Just because you met one green-eyed idiot it doesn't mean that all green-eyed people are idiots.

Anyway, back to the point, if there even is one...

Music has the powerful ability to unite people from all ages, genders, nationalities etc.If there is even one person at every concert who is a little less judgemental after going to the show, I'd call it a successful night. 

So here's to music, for slowly making the world a better place, one concert at a time.

"Now who'd've thought, that after all, something as simple as rock'n'roll would save us all?"
 - Frank Turner.


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