One Man Band: How to See Concerts Solo

Recently – since April, to be specific – I’ve been going to a lot of concerts by myself. (By “a lot” I mean roughly four, but that’s a significant increase compared to my previous figure of zero.) Anyway, I’ve been to some shows for which I only purchased one ticket and to which I arrived alone. Posse-less. Party of one.

Why? Because, for example, it was the Saturday night before the Fourth of July, and my many millions and trillions of friends were at the beach or the lake or a barbecue. And because none of them had ever heard of Robert Ellis or listened to his music. And because I wanted to see him live, damn it! But the reasons aren’t the point – the point is, I went by myself. And then I did it again. And now I even might go so far as to say I’m good at going to concerts alone.


When attending a show alone, a girl’s gotta figure out a way to overcome the inevitable feeling that everyone is staring directly at her. Especially in the beginning, before half the crowd has arrived and you feel you have to look cool during the long minutes before it gets weird (as it inevitably does). Soon, solo you no longer stands a chance against the grand spectacle that is a drunk older couple with dance moves reminiscent of uncomfortable middle school mixers. But those first few minutes, or the minutes between sets, those are the highest hurdles.

Solution! I have almost – almost being the operative term – perfected the ideal solo concert dance move: the step-sway-tap-slap (SSTS? No? Too much?). It’s the perfect combination, a careful balance between “adoring fan” and “blasé newcomer.” The SSTS, which I will likely soon trademark (a la T. Swift and “this sick beat”) one looks simply “casually engaged.” Or so I’d like to think. Each step is crucial to overall success; forget the tap-slap, and you’ll look amateur, but forget the step-sway and you might appear a music snob who doesn’t know how to ~go with the flow~.

Here’s the Deal:

At this point, you’re either buying your single ticket to the next show in town or you think I’m a total weirdo. If it’s the former, great. If it’s the latter, give me one more chance to sell you on flying solo.

Yes, it can get lonely. Sometimes we all need a geek-out pal when it comes to our favorite things, and not having a friend to squeal with can be really sad. However…

There are (many) perks: Standing sans rowdy group of friends means you can easily maneuver through crowds to get drinks, use the restroom, or sneak up front to snap potential Instas. Also, you don’t have to justify or explain your reactions to the performance to anyone. Is the guitar making you cry? Go for it. Hate this song? By all means, stand with your arms crossed and look bored. You do you – seriously. No one cares.

Tips for first-timers:

1.       Start small. It doesn’t have to be a concert. If you’re the type who needs a friend to run errands with, try it by yourself. Or go see a movie.

2.       Let yourself be excited. It’s easy to let the fact that you’re flying solo take over your thoughts. But whatever it is you’re doing, make sure it’s something you’re super pumped about. And constantly remind yourself just how pumped you are.

3.       Your phone does not count as a plus one. Solo means solo. Resist the urge to stare, scroll, swipe, double-tap. Put your phone away. It’s really hard, but this way you won’t miss the drummer’s ridiculous facial expressions or the sound guy’s hilarious pre-show equipment mishap.

feature photo via Unsplash