Living History

How My First Concert Changed How I Listened To Music

It was a warm and hot Sunday night on the 9th December 2007 at the Merdeka Stadium Kuala Lumpur. Because it’s warm and humid all year in Malaysia. Tonight, My Chemical Romance was going to perform live to their Malaysian fans (including myself) for the very first time as part of their Black Parade World Tour.

After a year of listening to the Black Parade album, here I am, ready to listen to them live. As a fan, it was a dream come true – in music terms – to be able to watch your favourite musicians perform live for you.

So here I was, wearing my frame-less glasses, dressed in a black t-shirt and jeans, with messed up hair (I tried my best to dress for the occasion). I was a stand-out among a crowd dressed mostly in black jackets, painted faces, heavy eye-liners, mohawk hairs and spiked shoes, caps, shirts, shorts, everything.


After waiting for nearly 2 hours, the band appeared and the music started. Then, it all became clear.

WE ALL BECAME ONE – Regardless of race, religion, age, gender (or dressing); we we’re all celebrating one thing that day. Music. My Chemical Romance turned strangers to brothers and sisters through one medium – their music.

LISTENING TO MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE WILL NEVER BE THE SAME – After that night, my experience of listening to MCR through my earphones will never be the same. Listening to House of Wolves now brings me to a scene such as this (Sorry, I couldn’t find the Malaysian version, so here’s one from Mexico). Listening to your favourite band live will somehow nail you down as a fan for life.

APPRECIATION. – I learnt to appreciate music on a whole new level. To be able to see the fruits from the effort that the performer puts to perfect the art; to be the master of the alteration of sound so that it’s music to our ears. There’s something special about listening to music in it’s rawest form.

IT’S WORTH THE MONEY – Paying RM350 for a ticket is small money considering the hours and hours of time and effort the artist in-front of you has put to bring you that rockin’ tune. Also, musicians mainly gain their income from live music performance. A recent PWC report says that live music revenues are expected to grow as recorded music revenue continue to drop. So your contribution will be much appreciated.

THIS WONT BE MY LAST LIVE CONCERT FOR SURE – After that fateful day in 2009, I told myself that if I liked a band / musician, I’ll be sure to attend their live performance when they visit. That’s why I was ecstatic when 30 Seconds To Mars came to Malaysia for the MTV World Stage in 2011. And why I was devastated when I missed Distant Worlds just last year. MCR defined the live music experience for me.

We were all celebrating one thing that day. Music.

By the end of the concert I was exhausted. There were many instances where my specs were close to flying off my face. And my feet were sore from getting trampled on. I was surprised to get out without impaling myself in the eye with another guy’s hat.

In the end, there was a happiness beyond description. It was… euphoric.

That brings me to the question. What does live music – or music – do the human brain that gives it such powerful social, emotional and physical impact?

The live performance certainly sounded different from the album. There was something about listening to music raw that makes you appreciate it more.

If you’re a fan of a musician or band, and if they’re coming to town or if you’ve the money to fly somewhere. Then I strongly advice you go.

I think it’s a personal connection between nature and sound. Over to you scientists.


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