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Column: Finding Meaning In Manchester

Sounding OFF is Salute Magazine’s weekly music column, authored by Music Editor Daniel Offner. The column is a weekly analysis of all things music. This week’s column focuses on the tragedy at Manchester Arena. 

The past several days have been difficult for the city of Manchester, England, which is still reeling in the aftermath of a fatal terrorist attack that claimed the lives of 22 people, injuring upwards of 50 in the explosion, following an Ariana Grande concert on May 22.

But as frightening as the circumstances might be, between all the images we have seen of people running through chaotic crowds of people to exit the arena, the mass hysteria at the train station nearby and the pictures of injured fans who were unable to escape the impact of the blast—it is important to keep things in perspective. There are hundreds, maybe even thousands, of concerts that take place every single day, and it is very unlikely that anyone reading this will ever experience anything even remotely similar at a show.

Most venues nowadays are equipped with security teams and personnel that are equipped to handle most every situation, just in case [God forbid] anything were ever to happen. Let’s face it; the odds are almost always in your favor that the performance will go off without a hitch.

News outlets have compared the attack on Monday to others, including a coordinated terrorist attack in November 2015, when gunmen killed nearly 90 people during a performance by the Eagles of Death Metal at Le Bataclan nightclub in Paris, France. Despite any similarities between the two, the explosion at Manchester Arena deliberately targeted the lives of innocent, predominantly young concertgoers.

In response to the attacks, the 23-year-old former Nickelodeon TV starlet turned pop music sensation, told E! News that she has decided to postpone upcoming tour dates, which were originally scheduled for next week.

“Due to the tragic events in Manchester, the Dangerous Woman tour with Ariana Grande has been suspended until we can further assess the situation and pay our proper respects to those lost,” Grande’s management said in a statement Wednesday. “We ask at this time that we all continue to support the city of Manchester and all those families affected by this cowardice and senseless act of violence. Our way of life has once again been threatened, but we will overcome this together. Thank you.”

Concerts scheduled for the O2 Arena in London and other international locations have been canceled until June 5, when she is expected to perform in Switzerland, according to Grande’s managers. And it’s easy to understand why, as she was clearly shaken by the tragedy, which occurred mere minutes after performing her encore.

But this is not the message that Grande or anyone else wanted to send… one which only promulgates the fear of crowded venues and concerts. The truth is: concerts are supposed to be a pleasurable escape from the humdrum of day-to-day life.

Her manager, Scooter Braun, agreed with this sentiment in a series of tweets, sent last Wednesday, which dispels any confusion that canceling Grande’s upcoming tour dates was done out of fear.

Keeping things in perspective is vital. Remember, it is more likely a person will get hurt crossing the street than it is to have experienced something as horrific as this. No one should live a life that is dictated by fear.

Sure, there will likely be some changes in the aftermath, especially for concertgoers, who may experience tighter security details at different venues. Even before the attacks, venues right here in Brooklyn have begun to use metal detectors to make sure ticket-holders are on the up-and-up.

It is important to remember that even in our grief, we must not succumb to fear. There are concerts that go on all over the world and the only thing we really should be afraid of is missing out on a good time. #FOMO.

In the meantime, we must not let fear dictate our everyday lives. We must continue to stand behind Manchester and all the artists who entertain us, and the best way to do it is by living our lives to the fullest.

 

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