Nothing but the Beat

By Carmen Denia, Yale-NUS ’17 – See bio

So I was lucky and won a free ticket to see David Guetta’s concert here in Manila, which in itself is a pretty cool thing. (Hands up, all you other awesome people who never win these raffle things!)  The concert itself was, of course, much cooler.

I can’t really give critical feedback on it since I’m not an expert on house or trance and even if I was, I’m not too keen on the web backlash that always happens with putting yourself and your opinions out there.  (Terrible, isn’t it? And I’m not even talking about the chance that whatever I say can be twisted up by the newfangled cybercrime law here in the Philippines.)

I just wanted to share about this really standout moment for me in the middle of the booming bass line, the screaming concert goers, the onstage flares, and the strobe lights that seemed high on something slashing the dark where the world seemed very, very full.  It was as if everything was just filled and pulsating and the very membrane containing the universe was stretching itself past its breaking point.

When I felt that, I looked at my aunt who was beside me.  She’s a doctor so I wondered if anyone in the audience could tell that she was a doctor.  She’s getting married so I wondered if anyone looking at her could just tell that.  I wondered if anyone in the audience would know where I’ve been or where I’m going by just looking at me.  Then I wondered if I could tell anything about the audience from what I saw there.

It just seemed so amazing to me in that moment how we label and sort of build our characters or worlds around what we’re doing or what we’ve done and yet, when people who don’t know who we are see us, none of that registers to them.  I mean, what I’m saying has been written or talked about before, but it’s one thing to know that the world is bigger than ourselves and another to feel that faceless, freeing anonymity in a crowd.

In that moment, all I could really see was a thousand or so people shouting the same lyrics, a thousand or so people connected by the fact that a string of notes and beats and the occasional word could make something in us move.

And that’s a pretty magical thing to witness.

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