In this First Concert Ever segment, the indie pop artist, Arden Jones, talks about the story of his first experience with live music. You can check out the story, after the break.
When I was young, I went to a few concerts with my family, but the first concert that made a serious impression on me was when I was a freshman in high school. It was at a festival, Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. The show that I remember so clearly – it kind of changed my life, actually – was J. Cole. I was three rows back, only because I waited at his stage all day so I could see him up close. I had minimal experience with festivals or even concerts, and I didn’t really understand what the big deal about listening to music with a bunch of other people was. Part of me wondered why people spent their entire savings when they could listen to music at home.
At the time I had been listening to 2014 Forest Hills Drive, the J.Cole album that had come out the previous year. I had listened to that on repeat all year. I was obsessed with J.Cole and was so excited to just see him in person. Then when he came out on stage, he had such a crazy presence. I wasn’t expecting it. After hearing the entire crowd roared in unison, I suddenly understood what people meant when they said concerts are crazy, insane, etc. When J.Cole started performing and I knew every lyric, I was 100% involved in the music. I forgot everything else around me. I looked up to him as an artist, and I couldn’t believe I was watching him live. I was screaming my head off the whole time, and I finally understood the magic, the adrenaline pumping, losing your voice and the thousands of people around you all in the exact same place, surrounded by the same crazy energy. You truly feel connected to so many other humans.
So that was it. I remember getting a hot dog and some water afterward. I was starving and super dehydrated and it was like I had just played a two-hour soccer game. I was so tired and sweaty. It felt like the most complete experience of my life and all while singing, which is my favorite thing to do. Watching J. Cole have so much fun as he performed – it all made so much sense.
After that, I started going to concerts all the time. I saw people like Flume, Russ, Anderson Pac, Sheck Wes, Travis Scott, and The Avett Brothers. Ever since that day witnessing J.Cole perform in Golden Gate Park, I’ve had a dream to perform at the biggest stadium filled with the most people possible and have every single person feel like they are a part of the show.
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