Everyone has their own way of raising energy levels and elevating their mood. For some, it’s sports or exercise. For others, it’s simple social interaction. But the best natural high for me? Sitting in orchestra seats at any Broadway musical, being close enough to watch Billy Joel’s fingers while he plays “Piano Man” or standing front-row-center in Las Vegas as Cher belts out “Turn Back Time” one more time (during yet another farewell concert).
I shared an incredible experience with my granddaughter last year at Taylor Swift’s 1989 Tour performance at Levy Stadium near San Francisco – and it was a total shock for me. I was surrounded by a very young audience and had expected to sit back and take it all in as an older observer. Wrong! I was into it just as much as any tweener as soon as Taylor took the stage.
What I did learn from that experience? It doesn’t matter where I am or who’s performing; I’m addicted to live music. Rock, Country, Opera or otherwise, as long as it’s good, it’s my drug of choice.
And I’m not alone. Live music raises the “happiness quotient” for most human beings. In fact, a quick online search for studies on the impact music has on the our minds and bodies revealed no less than thirty recent articles substantiating the connection between happiness and live theatre performances of any kind (particularly those featuring music).
Unfortunately, as with all great experiences, there is one big negative factor in attending live performances: Price. Tickets to many of today’s musical events can be downright ridiculous.
Not long ago, tickets for Adele’s U.S. tour dates sold out within 30 minutes on Ticketmaster. Three hours later, those same tickets were being scalped on eBay, Craigslist and StubHub for thousands of dollars above face value.
So, how can you get your live performance fix without breaking the bank?
For one thing, most cities now have great community theatre companies. Even smaller towns have college and other school theaters, orchestras, bands and choral groups. Restaurants, bars and coffeehouses also create opportunities for local musicians to perform, and cover fees are usually reasonable (if they charge one at all).
In San Francisco and the North Bay, we’re blessed with literally hundreds of affordable options and I’ve included links below to a few of my favorites. Buy a ticket, go tonight, hum along and let the power of live music lift you.
“Without music, life would be a mistake.” — Friedrich Nietzsche
Bing Music Hall I Stanford University
Green Music Hall I Sonoma State University
Hopmonk Tavern I Novato and Sebastopol
The San Francisco Playhouse is a special place showcasing his new playwrights and actors.
The San Francisco Symphony presents the Katharine Hanrahan Open Rehearsal Series each month and it’s a marvelous opportunity to attend a world-class symphony performance at a very reasonable rate.