By: Elorm Nutakor
People don’t usually know what to expect when seeing recording artists live for the first time. With the money they spend to see a live show, they would typically expect for the performance to surpass the experience of simply listening to an album. Unfortunately, sometimes a concert can leave fans feeling underwhelmed or even disillusioned from their previous perceptions of an artist. These feelings convey the message that simply watching a band play their songs with no added flare is, for the most part, disappointing. This, however, was not the case in my most recent concert experience. On October 8, 2014, Foster the People paid a visit to Columbia, Missouri, and played a live set that expressed their body of work in a different form than what can only be heard through their recordings.
The show was a fanfare involving purposeful lighting, different song arrangements, and stage presence that took the band’s music to another level. As a fan of Foster the People, I attended the concert with much enthusiasm, which may have been doubled or even tripled by some of the fans that surrounded me. Many members of the crowd were singing the lyrics along with the band as well as jumping, clapping, and dancing. The band didn’t have to do much to invigorate the crowd, and the moment lead singer Mark Foster said the name of the city, the collective energy level in the area rose. The band dived headfirst into a set of songs beginning with “Pseudologia Fantastica,” and moved through hits like “Coming of Age,” “Pumped Up Kicks,” and “Best Friend.”
An interesting occurrence took place during the song “Houdini” when the band added a longer breakdown featuring a little dancing from both the band and the crowd. Before the concert ended, Mark Foster even took time to encourage the crowd to stand up for truth when placed in a position of power. This short speech came before the show’s initial closer, “Don’t Stop,” after which the crowd chanted their demand for the band to heed the song’s title and not stop. Foster the People then responded with an encore featuring the song that bears their aforementioned message, “The Truth.” At a certain point in the middle of the show, Mark Foster expressed the value of the concert and described the uniqueness of our collective experience. For this reason, live shows are important. The way in which music can connect people from different backgrounds is a testament to the power of music and its importance in our society. The period of time when one is engaging in a concert and interacting with both the band and other audience member is almost surreal. The only true disappointment ensued when everyone knew that it was over and their lives picked up where they left off.
Elorm is an English major at Mizzou in his first year with KCOU. Born in Ghana and raised in Illinois, he enjoys listening to a range of different music, from popular to obscure, as well as making music productions of his own. He is also a drummer and an amateur dancer.