Manchester University
Oak Leaves

February 22, 2019

Spartans Attend Concerts, Rock Out to Favorite Bands

Zoe Vorndran


The lights are low. The crowd dances rhythmically to the music. The artist pauses. A myriad of voices in the audience belt out the lyrics in unison. For two unique individuals, that is the best part of going to concerts.

Despite growing up with different backgrounds, music has the ability to unite people. This is true for concert lovers Delaney McKesson, a senior social work and peace studies double major, and Digby Strogen, a senior peace studies major.

McKesson’s passion for concerts began when she saw Hannah Montana and the Jonas Brothers, which sparked her interest to see live bands perform.

Since then, she has seen other bands such as Ed Sheeran, Troye Sivan, Hozier, Halsey, The 1975, Twenty One Pilots, Jon Bellion, Vesperteen, Panic! at the Disco, BORNS, Paramore and Fleetwood Mac.

“I think what I really like about live music is the environment,” McKesson said. “Concerts have the ability to bring music to life and adds so much depth. I love being there in person and just feeling the music with every ounce of myself.”

From Hozier’s calmer vibe to Panic! at the Disco’s high energy, McKesson finds it powerful to watch the artist perform their songs, and she enjoys watching the artist pour their soul into the performance which offers a unique experience.

Additionally, McKesson appreciates the crowd. She enjoys being part of a diverse crowd united by music. “Listening to the song on the radio is good,” she said, “but being there in person while being surrounded by a bunch of people who are living the same experience as you makes it so different.”

Whether in the audience among family or three car loads of friends, McKesson likes that going to concerts make lasting memories. She recalled a time when she sat in the second row at a Panic! at the Disco concert and the bassist, Dallon, threw her the set list at the end. She also met the BORNS after they performed.

In addition to the memories from attending concerts, McKesson continues to make memories outside of concerts. She recounted last December when Phangs, the opening act at the Vesperteen show she attended, performed a show in her living room. “It was such a neat experience and a way to take a break from finals while eating cinnamon rolls and listening to some music,” she said. “I still feel pretty special to say I had a concert in my living room.”

McKesson summed up her experiences by stating, “I bottle up all the good feelings I get during a concert and save them for a rainy day.”

Another concert enthusiast, Digby Strogen, is a self-proclaimed Deadhead, a dedicated Dead and Company fan. Strogen has followed Dead and Company to six different states including California, Nevada, Arizona, Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. In California alone, he saw them eight times. Strogen describes the band’s vibe as one incredible wave of music and energy.

Due to his parents’ love for Grateful Dead, the precursor to Dead and Company, Strogen grew up listening to their music. His enthusiasm for Dead and Company increased when his parents took him to one of their concerts in 2015.

Captivated by the environment, he instantly fell in love. “My favorite thing about Dead and Company is the energy,” he said. “The band puts all of their energy into performing for us and deadheads put all of their energy into enjoying it. It’s an awesome vibe.”

He appreciates the fact that the band is a jam band which involves improvisation and varied set lists. Like McKesson, Strogen appreciates dancing and singing along with the thousands of fans which makes the music come to life.

The band’s energy combined with the fans’ enthusiasm and dedication encouraged him to continue going to Dead and Company’s concerts. “Going to Dead shows is like a huge family reunion,” Strogen said. “A Dead concert is pretty much its own little society. All the fans are so friendly with each other because they share this next level bond of peace and love of music. It’s a special experience.”