Last weekend I attended Widespread Panic’s acoustic set at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. As I joyfully danced with a large smile, I began thinking of the utmost appreciation I have for music as a form of therapy and escape from the stresses of everyday life. No matter the genre each person is attracted to, the fact remains music is one of the most healing and uniting forces on this planet.
I’ve seen Widespread before, but each show’s unique from the others. The different venues bring about a different energy; however, one thing always remains the same. The jams are good, the mood is light and the crowd connects with the music, the band and souls around them.
As Widespread covered Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold,” hands were lifted to the heavens in the venue, which used to be a church. Reaching to the sky in pure bliss, the spirituality I felt inside was truly a healing and other-worldly experience.
Everyone in the audience went from strangers to friends as hugs and high-fives were given out freely. The interactions among the crowd became a personal communion. Each person I looked at appeared ecstatic and expressed so much gratitude for everything around them.
Gleeful shouts of appreciation and proclamation of the feel-good, free-flowing sounds hitting the soul were abundant and unique to each individual. These shouts and expressions brought about a strong sense of togetherness.
These moments remind me of how music is such a beautiful blessing. The notes, chords and triumphant vibrations of the vocal chords simultaneously combining to hit the soul, tug on the heart strings and create goosebumps on the skin is pure magic. These harmonious connections are pure and individualistic.
I have cried during concerts from a pang reaching deep into my core, looked to the sky as the music soared into the clouds, smiled and laughed from pure joy and danced until my feet hurt resulting in bare-footed spins across the ground. I feel as though I’m given the green light to express myself in the most truthful way and bare every exquisite emotion I feel inside.
In a world where we all are so separated by technology and our separate anxieties and troubles, the connection music provides, especially during concerts, is much-needed. Being able to feel like a child again with no worries, insecurities or fretting over societal norms allows us to bond with our inner selves and find the enchantment in the world we may have lost.
I always leave concerts feeling fully refreshed. My heart is always refilled with such happiness and positive energy. What a gift this is! I believe we all need the therapy concerts and music, in general, provides us.
Taking the time to come out of my shell and step out of my own head, reconnecting me with myself and others is something I will always engage in when music grants me the opportunity to do so.
Standard reporter Atlanta Northcutt can be reached at 473-2191.