Beyond the limits, the Austin City Limits: Best Live Concert Experience
Today on Live Music Week, along with bands live in studio, we are playing a variety of songs that were performed live from both the WERS studio and from around the world. In appreciation of this, WERS writer Mica shares her best live concert experience, and what it all means to her.
By Mica Kendall
Before my move to Boston, in Texas the epitome of all music experiences was found at one of the biggest music festivals in the country and the largest in the state, Austin City Limits. Austin City Limits (ACL) has been rooted in Austin’s musical history since 1976 with over 450,000 people attending each year and is well regarded for its national broadcast coverage. I decided to attend the festival in 2016 to see if it lived up to its high reputation and the experience was unlike any experience one could acquire by just going to a regular concert at a local venue.
The atmosphere at Austin City Limits brings a certain kind of kinetic energy to the crowd- attending the festival, with its array of colorful flags waving in the air and the sparse 351 acres of land at Zilker Park encompassing eight large stages for the hundreds of acts that play at the 3 day fest. I personally spent my entire day at the Honda Stage, one of the main stages, for one of my favorite bands, Catfish and the Bottlemen, who I had seen twice over the years prior to the festival, but their set at ACL was completely elevated from their typical solo concert performances.
Looking behind my spot at barricade, I could see I was enveloped within a crowd of thousands of people stretching beyond what my view could comprehend. What was most notable about being a part of that crowd was the sense of how everyone was there purely for the experience and music. There were no mass of arms raised with cell phones shoved in front of their faces, but instead a genuine connection with full focus on the acts. The live music experience ACL brings has the reputation it lives up to; with a newly heightened experience making music listeners feel detached from the outside world and more immersed with the overwhelming amount of incoming talent playing before them.
As soon as Catfish and the Bottlemen came on stage, my friends and I were too busy jumping up and down throughout the set that none of us had the time to pull out our phones. Instead we blissfully enjoyed their songs by screaming our heads off to every lyric from their newest album, at this time being, “The Ride.” Even Frontman, Van McCann, seemed to feed off the energy from the crowd of thousands due to the enigmatic ambience that is contained along with the history of famous acts that have resided on the same stage throughout ACL chronology. Knowing that their set will forever be archived in ACL musical history, this gives the acts a heightened rush while performing.
To establish a stronger newfound appreciation for live music, I would encourage all music lovers to attend a large music festival at least once in their lives, in order to obtain the genuine connection of being immersed in an atmosphere devoted towards discovering and appreciating various acts of live music. Music festivals hold a separate elevated entity compared to regular concerts, and will create everlasting special memories to keep throughout years of listening to live music.