My feet hurt a little bit and there’s a distinct chance that a good old fashioned case of tinnitus is going to kick in at a moment’s notice, but for having just lived through a full week of live music, I’ve got to admit that my mood is almost astonishingly chipper.
This little experiment—seven straight nights (back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back nights, for those following at home) of high-profile live music across three New York City boroughs—didn’t exactly come together by design; rather, it pieced itself into a cohesive, digestible week-long agenda. What started as simply a three-day festival weekend eventually expanded to four, and then five, before those final two blanks, wherever they were in the schedule, were eventually filled in. And from there, it was set.
The agenda, as it developed, was finalized as such:
Wednesday —Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in Queens
Thursday — Arcade Fire in Brooklyn
Friday, Saturday, Sunday — Panorama NYC Festival in Manhattan
Monday — George Ezra in Manhattan
Tuesday — Fleet Foxes in Brooklyn
As someone typically content with arriving home from the office and wiping out in my bed or on my couch, throwing on a record or Netflix, and simply decompressing, a week-long music agenda was something for which I didn’t have to prepare myself, per sé, but rather something that I knew would finally be an adventure to throw myself into. When this initially came together, I told a roommate of my intentions. “That sounds… exhausting,” I was candidly told. But here I am, at 1:02 AM after the final show, and I feel… not that bad.
It helps that my self-curated music marathon was pretty eclectically selected (if I do say so myself). From legends that I’ve always dreamed of seeing (Tom Petty) to young promising artists that I was both familiar (Tyler, the Creator) and entirely unfamiliar with (George Ezra), and from R+B stalwarts (Frank Ocean and Solange) to a few of my favorite bands ever (Arcade Fire, Nine Inch Nails, and Fleet Foxes), each day and night of this venture had a different vibe; at no point did consecutive days feel tedious or overwhelming. Not once did the thought of calling this thing off cross my mind.
Going to stadiums, wedding halls, ballrooms, and festival-bearing islands on a nightly basis isn’t exactly the most sustainable lifestyle, but at this point, somehow, continuing on this same path doesn’t feel outside of the realm of possibilities. I can’t possibly do a live show every night forever, right? What do I do with my nights now? Is my Netflix password still the same? Does Game of Thrones still exist?
Things will normalize for sure—I won’t be salivating for live music every single night. But even though it’s about as cliché as it gets, there’s got to be something said for the live music scene in NYC, particularly in the summer. In a seven day period, I just saw a living legend celebrating his band’s 40th Anniversary in Tom Petty, perhaps a generation’s most iconic band releasing a brand new record in Arcade Fire, a reclusive and wildly affectionate R+B superstar in Frank Ocean. I saw the FINAL New York City show ever for A Tribe Called Quest, one of the two greatest rap groups of all time. That is special—and magical things like that are happening every day.
Standing near the stage in the Prospect Park Bandshell, the hairs on the back of my neck sharply stood up when I heard Robin Pecknold’s transformative voice in person for the first time. It was right around that same time that for the first time all week, after three prior night shows, three full-day festival affairs, and general living life things, my feet began to hurt. But that wasn’t going to deter me. Nuh uh. Pecknold’s voice rang beautifully through my ears for nearly two hours, as I watched Fleet Foxes perform three albums and nearly a decade’s worth of brilliant, genre-fusing indie rock.
Time was finally starting to catch up with me, but my run was just about over anyway. I heard the fans cheer, voices all raised when Fleet Foxes walked off that stage in Prospect Park. I heard the passion, and I know that with passion comes excess, and with excess comes more shows. Somewhere in that crowd, someone else was just getting started.
Photos by Aysia Marotta