This is Gospel

The hall smells like sweat and alcohol and cigarette smoke and Axe body spray. After standing in the cold rain for nearly two and a half hours, Maggie embraces the smell, breathing it in so deeply that it makes her cough. She’s shoulder-to-shoulder with stinky strangers and she couldn’t be happier about it. Her ripped fishnet stockings sat tightly between Doc Martens and a mini skirt, topped off with a leather corset and her favorite yin yang choker. She had even taken the time to straighten her jet-black hair and put her favorite purple extensions in. She could take her eyeliner wings and fly away at any minute. Maggie looked like a scene goddess straight from the depths of tumblr in 2009 and she knew it. This night had a lot riding on it—a few paychecks from her part-time job blown on three or so hours of blinding lights and deafening sound, followed by a day or two of exhaustion and the infamous post-concert depression she knew so well.

Now that the doors were open, people were everywhere, yelling to their friends, buying drinks and merch, trying to find their seats and filling up the pit instantly. Maggie and her friend Krista, who had returned from the bathroom, linked pinkies to avoid losing each other in the swarm of bodies as they made their way to the pit. The pit is undoubtedly a rough place to spend a concert, but it’s a totally different experience—especially at a rock show. The buddy system is absolutely necessary.

There’s something breathtaking about a room at full capacity with teenagers who are all eagerly awaiting the same thing, and Maggie is feeling it. Everyone is too excited to be concerned with looking “cool” and the lack of self-consciousness in the room is palpable. All focus is on the dark stage and the suspense is almost too much to bear. It doesn’t even matter if no one knows who the opener is—the energy is so high that everyone dances even if they’re just a mediocre cover band.

Then, the magic happens. The music stops and every last light goes out and you could hear a pin drop for a split second before the crowd realizes what’s happening and the screaming commences. Maggie has a death grip on Krista’s arm and her eyes locked on the sides of the stage, where she knows they’ll be showing up any second. The boys let the roar die down momentarily before sprinting out onto the stage, guitars and drumsticks in hand, yelling and laughing and making weird faces because they can, and the crowd soaks up every second. The lead singer takes hold of the microphone and yells something he probably says to every city, and the kids don’t care because it feels like every word is being said directly to them as individuals. This is the moment they’ve been waiting on for months—ever since the tour was announced. This is what they live for.

The first chord from the lead electric guitar echoes out across the music hall and an overwhelming majority of the crowd already knows what song is coming. Maggie can barely hear her own thoughts and it’s incredible and painful and she screams the lyrics at the top of her lungs along with the man whose face is plastered all over the walls of her bedroom. In that moment, they have a connection. It doesn’t matter how many hundreds of people are around—she and him are in the same room, singing the same words to the song she’s been singing since the day it was released. The bass is so strong that she can feel it in her bones and she’d live in this moment forever if she could.

The song comes to an end and Maggie looks at the people around her, realizing that though they all may have a different favorite band member or favorite song, each and every person is here for the same reason. This is where the broken ones go to feel whole again. This is where those who walk around every day truly believing that they are alone can feel, even if just for these few hours, like they’re a part of something bigger than themselves. This music is gospel to the outcast and the forgotten. So Maggie will stand and scream until it feels like her lungs will give out—then, the show will end. The lights will go out and the doors will close and all of the broken souls, temporarily glued back together, will return to the streets until their next gathering.