Why Your First Pop Concert Is So Precious

The horror of the Manchester Arena terror attack was underlined by pictures of excited children getting ready to go to a pop concert being posted on social media

Why Your First Pop Concert Is So Precious

by Helen Nianias |
Published on

Last night in Manchester, a cowardly man detonated a bomb at the MEN Arena as people were leaving an Ariana Grande concert. Twenty-two people have died so far, 59 have been injured, and that's to say nothing of the trauma for the survivors. While parents are still desperately searching for lost children and people tweet desperately in hope of finding missing friends, the city's residents have shown their astonishing community spirit. Across Manchester, taxi drivers are offering free lifts to hospitals, hotels are acting as reunion points for terrified families, ordinary people are going to give blood at local clinics. Regardless of race or religion, people are showing that love is stronger than fear.

Undoubtedly one of the saddest and most shocking aspects of the terror attack is that the venue the attacker chose was full of children - little girls and boys giddy about going to see their favourite pop star, and parents proudly taking their kids to their first ever gig. It was a deliberate attack on the most vulnerable people in society. An act of unspeakable cruelty.

Here at The Debrief, we talked about how special our first memories of going to a pop concert are. The preparation, the journey, the excitement of being in the same room as the band, begging your parents for cheesy merchandise, being driven home sleepy but safe.

We've chosen to show how uplifting and life-affirming going to your first concert should be, and what a rite of passage it is for normal kids across the country. Last night's events were devastating. It should have been an event that generated the kind of memories that would be cherished for a lifetime - something that nobody should be denied.

Vicky Spratt, Deputy Editor

‘The first concert I was allowed to go to without my parents was Greenday at Wembley Arena. I must have been 13 or 14 and I remember fizzing with excitement as the train whirred through suburbia into the city. It was a defining moment, the first taste of freedom and autonomy. The intense anticipation of the unknown, venturing into the adult world alone for the first time is something that never leaves you. The excitement of your first gig in your early teens reaches dizzy heights that you’ll find difficult to match later in adulthood when you’re no longer seeing the world with fresh eyes and experiencing things for the first time. I kept all the ticket stubs from the concerts I went to in my early teens, but I don't need to look at them to remember these experiences. You never forget. Gigs and concerts provide a space for young people to come together, to celebrate and to enjoy themselves which has historically, for so many, been a rite of passage.’

Jazmin Kopotsha, Culture Writer

'My mum took me and three of my best friends to see S Club 7 for what was probably one of the most exciting nights of my life. She drove us up to the Birmingham NEC from Bristol and bought us all of the glow sticks and those weird fibre wand things. She despised the whole thing but I was obviously then the coolest girl at my primary school with THE coolest mum because she took us on a week night and we all got to go in later the next day wearing all of our S Club merch. Did I say I was cool? Because I was really cool.'

Helen Nianias, Contributing Writer

'My friends and I thought we were proper grungers, so when pop-punk band The Offspring were playing Wembley we did what so many children do - pestered our parents for tickets until they eventually caved. While I can't say I'm still a big Offspring fan, that gig has stayed with me as one of the most exciting and overwhelming nights of my life. The noise of the crowd, being in a room with that many people for the first time, feeling the bass vibrating through the floor, experiencing the sort of unfettered joy you only experience as a teenager. Afterwards, my friend's dad drove us home as we chattered excitedly; proud of having reached a milestone and excited at the thought of many more concerts stretching ahead of us.'

Katie Lyssejko, Creative Editor

'My first concert was to see Busted (because I was super cool 12-year-old) in some field in Broadstairs and my Mum took me. I mainly went so I could see Charlie in the flesh. I was so happy because I also got to see McFly who I also loved and even though I could barely see them it was a great experience.'

Lucy Morris, Fashion and Beauty Editor

'I was eight and went to see Spice Girls at Wembley with three friends. I was dressed as Scary because I have curly hair of course. All I remember was screaming so much I couldn’t talk at school the next day.'

Arianna Chatzidakis, Digital Commercial Content Editor

'The very first concert I remember attending was JLS at the O2. I remember being overwhelmed by the sheer amount of people in the stadium, and how loud the music was. I was sat quite high up and I didn’t have a great view of the stage, but that didn’t stop me from standing up all night long and singing my heart out. And of course, I was kitted out with JLS merchandise, which included a t-shirt with their faces on.'

Alyss Bowen, Social Media Editor

'My first concert was Sophie Ellis Bexter and I definitely made a massive poster with her name in bubble writing with my friend Jazmin ‘cause I was so #cool. We wore matching stripey socks and Roxy t-shirts as we were in our ‘I’m going to dress like a 12-year-old sk8er boy’ stage, influenced by Avril Lavigne. It was brilliant, I sang every single word to ‘Murder on The Dancefloor’ and lost my voice. Afterwards, we waited around by the backstage door with our mums so we could meet her. She signed my poster, so obviously, I kept it…it’s still in my cupboard at my parent’s house. ❤ you Sophie.'

Molly Shanahan, Work Experience

'My first concert was going to see Girls Aloud with my five best friends when we were 12 years old. It was for my friend Connie's birthday and we spent days before deciding what we were going to wear (probably a boho skirt of some description, thank you 2006). Her parents drove us to the NEC in Birmingham and then we went in alone, which was incredibly grown up and exciting for all of us. We knew the words (and dance moves) to their entire set list so despite being in the stalls we were in full performance mode from the moment we arrived. Of course, we all bought our obligatory overpriced programme and spent hours pouring over it for months to come, I've still got mine at home.'

*Follow Greater Manchester Policefor the latest updates on the Manchester Arena Attack *

If you are worried about a friend of relative you can contact Greater Manchester Police here

You might also be interested in:

What Are The Ripple Effects Of A Terror Attack

Why How We Respond To Terror Attacks On Social Media Does Matter

How Can We Ever Come To Terms With Acts Of Terror

Follow Helen on Twitter @helennianias

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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