I Could Never: My Solange Knowles Concert Experience


“I could NEVER,” Oliver gchats to me. I think he’s probably joking. I think he’s probably mocking me. I don’t know for sure.

I can’t tell if it’s a big deal and I definitely don’t want to make it seem like I think it’s one if he doesn’t think it’s one. Especially because I’m not even sure if I do actually think this is a big deal. Maybe I just think that it’s new and different — something to be acknowledged. Yes, that’s most likely how I feel.

Either way, I don’t want to get caught thinking something I don’t actually think. That is the living worst. There is just no dissuading someone once they’ve misunderstood you as being insecure about something. Remember what Queen Gertrude said about protesting?

I don’t really care how Oliver in particular will judge me over this decision. He is merely a placeholder for everyone else I know at the moment. I don’t really want anyone to know what I’m doing. Well, not what I’m doing, but how I’m doing what I’m doing.

The fact that I think what I’m doing is worth examining doesn’t mean that I want to be put through the paces of either likely polar reaction: “Who cares? I’ve done that hundreds of times,” or “Who cares. I would never do that.” Great, well I haven’t and I would, so can I just consider and evaluate it without first having to take an excruciating detour to argue the merit of doing so?

Thank you, invisible mental peanut gallery. In reality, nobody said or thought either of those things — barely anyone even knew about it. I guess I’m just a little sensitive. I guess I feel like it’s sort of a big deal even though I don’t want to admit it. I guess I doth protest too much.

I’ve never been to a concert alone, until tonight.

I’ve lived and traveled alone. I’ve been to the movies alone plenty of times. I’ve eaten full meals by myself at table service restaurants without a book or an iPhone. I don’t expect any applause for it. This isn’t an episode of Sex & the City. People do it every day.

As a person who writes, I am used to spending time alone and happy to do it. I like it. However, I don’t go to many concerts to begin with and when I do, I go with other people. There’s something strange about going to such an active and social event alone, especially when you’re also planning to leave alone. I’m not saying this is a groundbreaking feat. I’m just saying, for me, it’s new territory.

This is sort of a drill. To be doing something traditionally thought of as a pairs activity, alone. Later maybe I can run in a three-legged race as a single entry. I have been not alone in the good way for many years. Due to circumstances beyond my control, this next year may find me alone, and emphatically so. This kind of thing is good practice.

I originally planned to go see this show a week earlier with my girlfriend, but it sold out. After a second show was added, she got me a ticket as a surprise. There was only one snag: she would be away. She offered to buy a second ticket so that I could take a friend. I decided not only could I not let her do that, I didn’t want her to do it.

“I guess I really wanted things this way,” I thought as I walked into Bowery Ballroom. No one else there will know I’m alone. But I will know. When she plays “Losing You,” I won’t have someone to turn to and smile, boo-hoo.

Solange welcomed me into the room with her radiance, her comedian’s timing, her green-and-orange plaid dress, and her banging-ass voice. For the evening she would be everyone’s date. Seriously, she asked us, “You would tell me if I had pink lipstick smeared all over my face, wouldn’t you?” When she played “Losing You” everyone smiled and no one turned a head anywhere, for fear of missing a single second of Solange synchronously dancing with her bandmates.

I stood not moving at first. Then suddenly I had to move everything. It was probably right around the time that they were playing “Cosmic Journey.” Solange cut the song in the middle and said, “Alright, this isn’t working out. We tried to re-learn this shit at sound check and it wasn’t working. Sometimes you win, and sometimes you just fucking lose. So fuck it, let’s dance!”

I still felt alone, but when you’re in motion you feel it less. If you keep dancing you don’t have time to worry about stuff like being alone at a concert or your yet-to-be-determined future. If you can’t go forward you might as well enjoy going side-to-side. So fuck it, let’s dance.

Besides, it is impossible to not dance when Solange Knowles tells you: “When this next beat drops, I want you all to lose your fucking minds!” It’s a pretty direct command. Stand still after that? I could NEVER. 

You should follow Thought Catalog on Twitter here.