Manchester / by Deborah Clague

The first real concert I went to was the Smashing Pumpkins' "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness" tour. I was sixteen. My mother - yes, my mother - accompanied me. The music was as good as it could have been in an arena that lacked proper acoustics but it was memorable moreso for these two occurrences:

1) when the band's bassist, D'Arcy, decided to make fun of my home and native land (and the crowd appropriately booed her in unison); and, 

2) being thoroughly mortified after running into a much cooler classmate who appeared to be there without either of his parents acting as date for the night. 

The cool. The uncool. Showing adulation or heaping scorn. The concert is a great uniter of people from all backgrounds seeking a common, shared experience through the power of music. Years later, I would return with my mother – yes, my awesome mother – to Winnipeg's newly built arena to witness the commander of Beyoncé in person in which 16,000+ people of all colour and creed danced along to every single beat. Heck, I STILL practice those moves to this day in the privacy of my condo (with the blinds closed). Or how could I forget the epic Paul McCartney show when 33,000+ people filled the evening's amethyst sky with harmony while singing along to "Hey Jude"? I felt chills! It was magic. And I haven't even gotten into the M.I.A. and The Hives shows that have provided some of the greatest moments of my life. 

The concert allows people to unwind together and to dream together, amongst strangers, amongst friends. It invites new memories, while a lyric may initiate reminiscing over old ones. It is supposed to be a safe space for all, if only for one night.

As the world seems to become darker day by day, we must remember that light.