Gigs of our Lives – Mike Butterworth

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I’ve been to many great shows, but my first proper concert is still one of the best. 

I was at college in Cardiff when this amazing singer/songwriter emerged out of the airwaves with a sound so different to anything I’d heard before. Her lyrics, poetic verse and the whole sound just blew me away. So when I saw in the NME that she was touring her second album and was playing in the city, I couldn’t wait to get tickets – something I’d never done before. 

The concert was in April, just before the end of my time in Cardiff, so the timing could not have been more perfect. I had been to St David’s Hall earlier in the year for a lecture, so I already knew what an awesome space it was, but was completely unaware of how incredible the concert was going to be. 

So, the evening of my first proper concert came around, I was buzzing. To see an international musician play her music live was just so exciting. I found my seat and waited for the lights to go down. 

To sit in a space with 2,000 people and experience a unique live performance was a spine-tingling event. The sound was perfect and to feel the music as well as be enveloped by it was something I fell in love with.

I couldn’t tell you how long the concert was, as it was just an incredible journey with such a soulful human being. 

Three songs that stood out for me and gave me goosebumps were: ‘Luka’, a powerful song/poem about child abuse, ‘The Queen and the Soldier’ about vulnerability and ‘Tom’s Diner’. The latter was just such a special moment, in front of two thousand people, Susanne Vega stood there all alone and sang this amazing song about her observations of life in a New York coffee shop – the accompanying hush that descended upon the auditorium and this lone voice filling the air was electrifying. 

An interesting fact about Tom’s Dinner. When the MP3 algorithms were being developed, they thought they had nailed it, until they tried to reproduce Tom’s Dinner, apparently the results were horrendous and they had to go back to the drawing board. Here is a link to an article about MP3’s and the sound engineers test piece that broke it.