Thursday, February 7, 2013

Post-Concert Depression: It's Totally A Thing

In early 2011, I purchased three sets of concerts tickets: The Script, Kings of Leon and Coldplay. The latter two were both right at the end of the year, so as much as I was looking forward to them, it seemed like the time would never really come. By then time I'd see these two concerts, I'd be mere days away from the end of my university career and quite frankly I couldn't see anything beyond that at all. So, The Script came and went, and everything was still alright because I had two more concerts to look forward to! And so in the lead-up to Coldplay I experienced that strange emotion where you feel so overwhelmed you think you'll start crying everytime someone mentions the band's name. Wait, is it just me who feels like that?! Awkward. Anyway, after Coldplay I was too elated to be depressed, but three weeks later, once KOL was over, it was a different story. Yeah, I was feeling defeated after four fruitless years of studying, but PCD was part of it too. On the way back the next day, I felt panicked for hours for absolutely no reason at all. I just could not work it out! Why was I feeling this way? Was it because I had looked forward to this event for so long and suddenly it was over, leaving me with nothing to look forward to? Was it because I wished I had enjoyed the concert more while I was there?

How do you feel the day after a really good concert? No, I don't mean the day after a quick little gig in the local botanical gardens, or that cool club in town, I mean a real concert. Picture this: you've bought tickets to see your favourite band live for the first time, and for months and months everything leads up to that moment. Hysterical excitement, crazy screams, hyperventilation and then ... it's all over. And now what? Now it's time to come back down to earth and go back to real life. Also, what if you never get to see your favourite band again? What if the lead singer ODs, or the bassist hits the drummer over the head, leading to the fall out of the century? When it comes to bands, you can never quite be sure that "Oh well, I'll catch them again on their next tour, toodles."

People deal with the aftermath of concerts in many different ways. If you're a cool kid (...then get the hell off my blog, firstly), you'll probably post a couple of photos of you and your mates, holding a few beers and grinning like idiots. Then you'll tell everyone at the office that you had "a pretty kiff night, hey bru", and go back to your daily life.

But if you're not a Cool Kid (ie, you're a band kid), you'll most likely be left in floods of tears. You'll feel a horrible panicky feeling deep in the pit of your stomach, as though you're dreading something. And you will be dreading something: a life without the concert you'd so looked forward to. Perhaps you'll become even more obsessed with the band you just saw, tearing up at photos of wee Jared Followill, or setting an image of Dave Grohl's face as the background on every device you possess (of course, I have never done the latter. Ahem).

My first experience with real Post-Concert Depression (PCD) was something like that. When I saw The Killers live in 2009, it was also my first trip to Cape Town, about everything about that week was just plain wonderful. Upon my return home, I became positively obsessed with the band; listening to nothing but them, Twitter-creeping, finding out absolutely everything I could, and constantly thinking back to the concert. It was as though I had to keep reminding myself that I had actually been there, and that I could remember it. Maybe not quite PCD, but definitely some kind of strange PCR (Post-Concert Reaction).

Alternatively, like other forms of depression, you may feel the need to sit alone in your room and cry for a few days. And anyone who dares to say "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened" will get quite well acquainted with your fist. After my return from England, I was tired, my body had launched a protest against lack of food, lack of sleep and too much travel, but most of all, I was sad. I'd just seen a ridiculous amount of bands live, and now it was all over. Cue pulling my blankets over my head and hating my life for a full 12 hours before I had to be at work the next day. My life continued to be hated for several days after this.

Another manifestation of PCD is a feeling of dissatisfaction with your every day life. I mean seriously now, what could be better than going to a concert every night? Nothing. Nothing at all. But we've all got to face the facts; there are only a select few amongst us who get to do that for a living, and you're probably not one of them. "I'll just quit this piece of you-know-what job and become a groupie" is a thought that's crossed many a mind a day or two after a concert, but hold your horses for a just a little while so that PCD can wear off before you hand in that letter of resignation.

Perhaps the most bizarre way in which PCD rears its ugly head is in a full avoidance of any reminder of the band at all. Everytime you hear a song by the band you saw live, it may feel like you're being stabbed in the heart with a tiny needle. Ouch. Better to avoid The Shins altogether lest a flood of memories should knock you so hard you become a blubbering mess when "Bait & Switch" comes on your iPod in the car.

Yes, PCD is totally a thing. In fact, I'd been wondering why I was in such an awful mood today, when suddenly I realised that I am experiencing RHCP PCD. No, I don't hate my life, or my job, or my car... I simply hate the fact that I'm not sure when I'll get to hear 'Dani California' live again. Now where's my box of tissues gone...

Update (30/07/2013):

My own PCD is back in full swing, and this time it's worse than ever. It's been two full weeks since T in the Park, but it still plays on my every thought. I realise that I've never actually offered any solutions for curing PCD, so here are my top three tips:

1) Identification: As long as you know what you're suffering from, you've taken the first step to overcoming PCD. Every time you feel a little stab of pain, remember what it is, and remember the great time you had at the concert.

2) Desensitize yourself: It doesn't help to stop listening to the band because it reminds you too much of the concert for which you so long. Just suck it up, play your favourite song at full volume and pretend you're back at the show. Similarly, look at your photos often.

3) Plan another gig: As long a you have a concert on the horizon, you're sure to feel much better about life. I myself have Yellowcard and Billy Talent coming up within the next few weeks - they're not The Killers or Bruce or The Gaslight Anthem, but they're good enough.


  1. Thank you for posting this blog! I recently saw OneRepublic perform live and I had such a great time. I'm having a bit of PCD right now and this blog really helps.

  2. I saw City and Colour last night and im experiencing some PCD

  3. I saw Years & Years last night and it was so so so good. Olly is the cutest creature on the planet and he even waved at me, I'm suffering from severe post-concert sadness. He's truly an angel!

  4. I just went to see Panic! At The Disco and Weezer with my best friends and am suffering from PCD now... it was just so incredible and now I just go back to ordinary life? Now my life can never meet the standard of that concert....

  5. Just went to my first ever concert Halloween night and I couldn't figure out what the hell was wrong with me until I googled it. It was amazing, and tomorrow I have to go back to work... I may just wear my headphones so I can listen to them all day.

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