With Blue Rodeo’s Barrie gig already delayed twice, Nikki Cole admits she was a bundle of nerves and anxiety back in big crowds when the band hit town this month
In the fall, before the punch that was Omicron, I bought tickets for my husband to see Blue Rodeo at Sadlon Arena in Barrie as a Christmas present.
At the time, things were looking up and I thought maybe I would be ready to go back out into the world and start doing things I loved again, like going to concerts.
You see, I’ve always loved live music. In fact, I still have a box here somewhere full of ticket stubs from over the years, including my very first “arena” gig in 1995: Green Day at Maple Leaf Gardens.
What I don’t like, however, are the crowds. Or “people-ing”. Even before COVID, I hated being in a crowded space and always had what I like to call a particularly large ‘personal space bubble’, which as anyone who’s ever been to a concert can attest, n isn’t something you can exactly rely on.
In the past, I would just “suck it up” and keep looking forward to the show.
This time, however, as I waited for last night’s twice-delayed concert, my nerves were on edge and my anxiety was getting quite severe, thinking I was in a big crowd while still being in the middle of a pandemic.
Several times over the past few weeks, I have strongly considered finding another date with my husband – and I almost did several times. Truth be told, I was also looking forward to an evening out of the house just the two of me where I didn’t have to cook and someone else had the “pleasure” of putting our kids to bed!
We have seen Blue Rodeo a few times over the years and they have always put on a great show. Last night was no exception, but I won’t lie – despite my best efforts (and aided by a steal of some good craft beer from a local restaurant), I couldn’t really afford to really relax into the music. as much as usual. would like to. Maybe it was the anxiety of being back in a crowd, or the fact that the lady in front of me spent the first half of the show streaming it live from her phone. Maybe it was the group behind me shouting loudly and constantly throughout the entire Pin up.
I usually hear Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor croon Lost together, ain’t hit me yet or Pink glassesI find myself being swept away into a sense of calm that only a few other artists bring me – but despite my best efforts to give in to the magic of the music, I just couldn’t get to that state.
The last couple of years have definitely made my aversion to crowds worse and sadly I think it’s going to be a while before I’m completely comfortable attending large scale indoor events like a concert again. .
Hopefully with summer approaching, which brings with it events like the popular Boots and Hearts Festival in Burl’s Creek, Kempenfest and the Mariposa Folk Festival, I’ll get back to the rhythm I loved.
And who knows, maybe I’ll even get a second chance to see what I missed last night, which was singing out of tune to some of my favorite Canadian artists.
To steal a line from Keelor, as the band left the stage after their encore, hope I see you on the road.
Nikki Cole is a reporter for BarrieToday.