There is a collective mourning throughout the music community for the lives lost in Paris last week, specifically the massacre at the Bataclan concert hall during the Eagles of Death Metal show. The shock from this disturbingly violent attack is still reverberating in my own community of like-minded friends, most of whom are Airborne fans. The shared thread and whispered assertion remains the same: “It could have been me.”
It could have been all of us. Every single person who attends a public event like a concert is involved, from artist to audience member, and by extension their family and friends. Truly, we are all affected by this tragedy, either outwardly or in the back of our minds. It is now occupying a place in our conscious or subconscious.
Our awareness is heightened now more than ever, especially if we attend or perhaps even headline a public event. Suspicion is creeping close behind, causing us to look over our shoulder and scan our surroundings for an unidentifiable figure dressed in black called fear.
It is everywhere, from schools to movie theaters to malls, and now music venues, where security has usually been less of a presence and the safety has been enforced in a general sense (i.e., no firearms allowed). This is most likely about to change.
There are many chilling events going on worldwide that strike fear in our hearts at any given time, but none so much as this. Why?
Because it happened in a sacred space.
It happened in a place of our minds that many of us frequent. A place to escape, to feel, to connect, to disconnect, to process, to find joy and meaning and validation and acceptance. A place where we relate to one another through the transcendent power of music. This was a deadly violation of a sacred space we as music lovers share. It is the space we stand shoulder to shoulder and sing lyrics we have memorized in our hearts. It is the space where grief dances with joy, where heartbreak entertains hope, and where disillusionment finds meaning. Most of us are there for a common reason: Music is healing, and never more is that so than at a live show, where words are painted like pictures on a moving canvas of light and sound. It is a place that up until recently has been relatively safe, where we may not always agree but vow to respect the right to live.
The attack in Paris violates that sacred space.
This is our world – a world in which there is fear, distrust, disillusionment, despair. But heroically, there is also kindness, compassion, selflessness, courage. Choosing to live comes with an inherent risk of dying, and we all make that choice every time we go to a show and stand in a crowd, or step onstage in front of a thousand liabilities both internal and external, or leave the shelter and protection of a glowing screen in front of our face. Living is the single greatest act of defiance in the face of such blatant disregard for human life, and it might seem selfish, but we all depend on it, every single one of us who want to escape the bars fear builds around us. We are here together, brushing shoulders on a sticky concert venue floor, with shining eyes and hopeful faces, our collective humanity rising up in the space between artist and audience, where music is both heard and felt on a level that transcends fear. Fear of the past, fear of the future, fear of the unknown, but most of all fear of regret
That the rest of your life
Will be a series of nights
That you spend in your mind
Staring backwards through time
At something you lost.
Take back your sacred space, not just for yourselves, but for the person standing on either side of you, for the person on the stage with you, and for the person standing in the pit below you. It is a sacred space we all share, and one we can never afford to lose.
When she’s not front row at a TATE show with a bird emblazoned on her face, Colleen can be found blogging regularly at These Stunning Ruins. She and her husband have also been known to occasionally lay down a wicked Airborne cover.