free spirit.

I hadn’t been to a gig/concert in a long time. Music was something I had recently relegated to Spotify playlists out of convenience, but when the chance to see Khalid in London came up, it satisfied what I had long been craving – listening to raw, transcendent melody live in the flesh.

The ballads ‘Better’ and ‘Location’ and uplifting anthems ‘Right Back’ and ‘8TEEN’ live weren’t just incredible; the renditions were ethereal. Standing in the thick of a packed venue made me feel like I was part of something bigger, yet far less important. It sounds cheesy given that it was just music, but it was the way that the atmosphere that clothed the set. It takes you away from the grave concerns that linger in your mind, but it doesn’t just make you forget them momentarily. It opens up perspective. For everything that I am going through, they appeared so insignificant. There is more to life than what is just straight ahead of you, but it requires a brief pause and a quick glance upwards. Not to a God or anything even significant, but to hope.

I imagine it was akin to religious or cultural processions, where you see people singing and relaying their praises together to a higher power. Apart from the occasional ‘woop’ or scattering of applause, everyone was hanging on every word, like hymns in a cathedral. I imagine it’s also a feeling that those involved with something like Extinction Rebellion are familiar with, where it’s not simply the cause that’s unifying; it’s the comfort of like-minded people being devoted to the same value.

I often find myself in crowds of people for various reasons, but I rarely feel like we’re all together. There’s always an invisible distance and a reluctance to interact that just ends up making everyone feel lonely together. I hope we all look together to look upwards soon.

“The cold blooded winter takes me right back

To when I was shut down by the weather and frozen

On the eastside of paradise, I want to feel alive

In a beautiful suncity.”