Photographic pandemic memories of concerts past

Like a lot of people, I miss concerts. Heaving groups of strangers locked in communion with a singer and a song, losing themselves. I’m hoping that we might finally get to a point soon where thanks to vaccination I might be able to go to a show again; I’ve got tickets to see one of my favourite bands in May I’m really hoping doesn’t fall through.

In the meantime I’ve found myself looking back at concerts past. In the hazy pre-iPhone era, you couldn’t really easily take photos at a show, and until recently, my phones were crap enough that I couldn’t take a good photo even then. So many of the great gigs I’ve seen over the years only exist in my memories – Elvis Costello triumphing for more than three hours one night in Oregon; The Pixies shredding on their first reunion tour; blues legend RL Burnside stunning a packed Missisippi bar; LCD Soundsystem commanding a sweaty packed tent; Gang Of Four showing post-punk’s power never died, and many more.

I’ve taken a lot of terrible, blurry pictures at concerts, and a few good ones. I look at them a lot now, remembering the murmur and buzz of the crowd and the glare of the lights and the distinctive sound of one perfect song, and an audience united in singing along…

Lorde, 2017
Nick Cave, 2017
Peter Murphy of Bauhaus, 2018
The D4, Auckland City Limits, 2018
Elvis Costello, 2013
Amanda Palmer, 2020
A crowded house at Crowded House, 2021
Sleater-Kinney, 2016
The Rolling Stones, from a distance, 2014
Midnight Oil, 2017
Reb Fountain, 2021
Kamasi Washington, 2019
Neil Young and Crazy Horse, 2013

Author: nik dirga

I'm an American journalist who has lived in New Zealand for more than a decade now.

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