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A very Mary concert

It was an impulsive buy. Caught up in the spur of the moment, I had my friend buy my ticket, just so I wouldn’t back out of the decision later on. That purchase led to one of my most memorable experiences a few months later. On the night of Sept. 19, I found myself having the time of my life at a Made in Heights concert at the El Rey theater in Los Angeles.

The music was ethereal, the performance was charmingly candid and the audience was just a jumble of good vibes. So taking from my experience and what I learned that night, here are a few tips and tricks to make your first concert the one to go down in the books.

Go with friends. Chances are you’ll find yourself dancing. Depending on the song, maybe even singing. But in all honesty, it’ll probably be both. And what feels better than losing yourself in the music with friends that aren’t afraid to look just as or even more stupid than you do? Sharing my first concert experience with my friends made it so much more memorable; my excitement through the concert seemed to multiply as I saw that they were just as pumped and just as into the music as I was. Even though the concert eventually ended, it still seemed to go on in our minds as we all found ourselves pooling together bits and pieces of our own experience to make up a collective, multifaceted night to remember.

Speaking of singing and dancing, that brings me to my next tip. Don’t be afraid to let yourself go. That’s exactly what happened when the infectious energy radiating off vocalist Kelsey Bulkin found its way into every single person in the crowd. Before we knew it, my friends and I were bouncing and swaying along shamelessly as Sabzi’s sick beats ebbed and flowed through our ears. Since you are in a room full of strangers who all like the same artist as you do, there is no one there to judge you (except for maybe your friends), so why not let yourself go?

I have to admit, I’m one of those guilty of wanting to capture and document every single moment on my phone. I feel as if I spent more time watching the concert through my phone’s camera than by watching Sabzi and Kelsey rocking out four feet before my very eyes. Sure, it can be important to snap a photo so you can pull out your phone later on to show everyone “Hey! Look where I went!” But I didn’t pay money to play paparazzi the whole time. And it turns out, the concert became something so memorable that it’s seared into my mind, without the aid of pictures or videos. So don’t worry, put down the phone and just enjoy the moment. Forget about the “later on.” In that moment, the present is all that should matter.

Fill up before you get there. Many theaters have strict food and drink policies, and the El Rey was no exception. The security made me leave my water bottle in the car before I entered the theater, and I would expect the security at other concerts to do the same. On top of that, the food and drinks sold inside some venues have their prices spiked way up. So as a precaution – unless you’re willing to spend $10 for a plate of nachos – grab a meal with your buddies before you hit the concert.

So now you’re ready to go out and have the time of your life. Yes, you’re there to have fun, and yes, I guarantee you will. But the most important thing to remember is to stay safe. You will be in a space with a crowd all caught up in the music along with you, and yes, emotions will run high, but in that excitement you should always be careful not to lose your senses and judgement. Be wary of strangers – making new friends is a good thing, but weird people who keep trying to force themselves into your personal space, not so much.

So go on and have fun. Remember to stay smart, stay safe, and make this something to remember.

By Mary Zhang, Editor-in-chief

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