Diagnosing Post-Concert Depression (In Which I am Slow to Recover from Evenings of Rock)

Picture this: ears ringing, I walk around in a daze.  I heave sighs and appear surgically attached to my iPhone headphones. It’s evident that I’m suffering from some neurosis, and in this case, I have self -diagnosed it as “post-concert depression.”

It… Is. Horrible.

This phenomenon, which is a subset of post-event depression (that palpable low that follows a vacation or a significant event), is something very acute that I have experienced a rare numbers of time.  And I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

After watching a great gig (particularly one where my seats are as good as the music), I feel wiped out, exhausted, and emotionally wrecked. In fact, I may have flickers of self- recusal where I wonder if I’d be better off not having even attended said concert in the first place.

Is the combination of a during-concert high followed by a staggering low actually worse than the regular status quo? (This is a rhetorical question, by the way, but can be answered by the name of this blog).

Two episodes of PCD linger in my head as the most severe. The first was in March 2005, when I’d finally seen the five original members of Duran Duran (my favorite artist since age 7 or so) perform together. The set list was great, the seats were fantastic, and it was a 20-plus-year-old dream realized.  It won’t be realized again, by the way, as Andy Taylor has once again flown the coop.  (And I sort of don’t blame him).

Duran Duran in 2005

And then … crash. The emotional hangover came pouring over me the next day as I vocalized that these five preening British pop stars had been fixtures in my life longer than anyone, save family members and one or two friends.

Fast forward to the summer of 2009. The band in question was another legacy favorite of mine – The Goo Goo Dolls.  Not only did I get to see them in an intimate setting (800 people or so, and I was front and center – Johnny Rzeznik had a slight problem with chest acne), but I’d won a meet and greet.

A “meet and greet,” to fan-club-dues paying, concert-going veterans, means very little. One has only enough time to shake hands with the band and take a picture. So if there is something you want to say, you’d better be prepared to spit it out elegantly and efficiently.

I was not successful.

Instead of asking them about the mid-90s seed change in their music, inquiring how it felt to have lucked into the success brought upon them by “Name,” or merely thanking them for their creativity and hard work that has brought joy into my life, I stupidly requested a song (“We Are the Normal,” for those keeping score at home).

Yes, it’s my favorite, and yes, it’s an older cut, and no, I’ve never heard it performed live, but it was still a worthless cause on which to use my precious 25 seconds. “I dunno,” Rzeznik smirked. “…I haven’t seen the set list yet.” First of all, he was lying (I’d seen the set list; it was taped to the stage). Second of all, they didn’t even end up playing it.

So I blew my meet and greet. I’d been up-close-and-personal for the entire show and knew I’d never have such an opportunity again. I still hadn’t heard my favorite song live despite a pathetic personal plea. And I’m sure I was dehydrated.

But at least I got a great picture:

After both of these experiences, I loaded up my iPod with B-sides and deep album cuts and got reacquainted with some lesser-known parts of these respective bands’ catalogs. I listened to nothing but these bands for a week or so, and then slowly everything returned to (we-are-the) normal.

I know now, by the way, that I can never meet Duran Duran. They won’t give me the satisfaction I want and so it’s better just to admire them from afar.  And that’s not neurotic – it’s self preservation.


5 thoughts on “Diagnosing Post-Concert Depression (In Which I am Slow to Recover from Evenings of Rock)

  1. Have you ever had the opposite happen? You go to a club not expecting much (and it’s a school/work night), but the band is so awesome and so tight that you end up staying until the bitter end. AND then get up and go to work a few hours later and are still bouncing on a music high?

    Only time I ever heard the Skatalites that happened. The are so amazing live…and recordings have never captured their energy (despite that they were all grandfathers when I saw them in the 90s). We stayed until 3 am. And I did make it to work for 8. I bouncy until mid-afternoon…when I just really needed a nap.

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  5. OMG i adore you! for putting a name to this: as a former 80’s groupie, going to shows was my LIFE and meeting bands, BUT i would have to come home and NOT SLEEP, only walking around in a daze with the music still going, then have to rush off to high school where the mundane abounds..if i did manage to get to bed, all i could do was cry. thank you for this, thought i was crazy at the time. I too will not meet Duran Duran, better to worship from afar. That said, 99% of the time the bands would be so nice and chatty and amazing. Only had 1 or 2 bad experiences where it was a letdown.

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