A line microphone on a dark stage

In 250 Words: Time Travelling & Live Music

In the 250 Words series, the RU Student Life writers are posed a question, and in 250 words they each offer their insights.

250 Words Question 14: If you could go back to any time/era to see a concert, what show would you see?

Stef: The Beatles Rooftop Show

I would squeeze into my best pair of bell bottom jeans and put on a red beret to go back to 1969 and see the Beatles’ historic rooftop concert. The 42-minute set was a surprise to the people of London, U.K. because only the band knew it was going to happen. Perched atop the roof of the bands’ corporation, Apple Corps, they would start to play Don’t Let Me Down. People walking the central streets of London would stop and look to the sky surprised to hear The Beatles’ music coming from up above. Some would keep walking, thinking it was only a loudspeaker. Others would recognize the sound right away and start rushing towards the building.

Since I am coming from another time, I will already know what is happening and where. Notebook in hand I would climb to a nearby rooftop and sit with my feet dangling over the edge. I would be there before the concert started and before the people of London could even realize what is going on. I would take in every moment and shout to them from my side of the roof in between sets. Sitting there, I would be living in the same moment as five Rock and Roll legends right before the band split up. I would get to see them in their last live performance as a group. It would be legendary.

Sunita: U2 sings for The Troubles

There was a period of time in Northern Ireland known as “The Troubles” that lasted from the 1960s until 1998, when conflict and violence dominated the place I call home. Luckily I was only 3 years old when the war was ending, but I was also too young to see U2 perform in Dublin in 1997 – right at the beginning of the end of one of the worst times in Irish history that would serve as the inspiration for many U2 songs.

Concerts have always been that place for me where I can go to feel connected not only to music, but to other people. There’s something about hearing your favourite artist sing the songs you listen to during the best and worst times, that filled you with hope or sadness, or provided a little perspective in your life when you needed it the most. To hear Bono’s impassioned speeches about The Troubles, or the opening chords of With or Without You stream across Croke Park would be truly breathtaking in any era. But how remarkable would it be to hear them at a time when people really needed a place to escape to? How incredible would it be to see an Irish band perform with such passion at a time of such hate, to remind you at a time of hopelessness that there is so much to believe in? To be in that crowd would be truly amazing, to feel the fire of energy that’s sparked alive through the power of U2’s music, giving us the will to move forward and the love to keep fighting for.

Jessica: ABBA

Growing up, the only music I listened to was radio pop music and Chinese music my parents played. I remember kids talking about really “cool” music they grew up listening to, like Iggy Pop, Bob Dylan, and David Bowie; but in my household, a broad scope of music wasn’t a part of my childhood. I simply wasn’t exposed to it. With the invention of the internet, I spent the majority of my teen years catching up and discovering old music for the first time. It was a magical experience, but it also didn’t quite have that nostalgic factor my peers fondly talked about.

Nonetheless, there was one music group even my parents knew and that was ABBA. Whenever I hear ABBA, there’s not a bone in my body that doesn’t melt in memory and want to belt out lyrics on top of my lungs. At 14, I began working and saving money to travel Europe. My first time in Europe was a first of many; surprisingly, it was also my first time seeing a musical. That musical was Mamma Mia and I was instantaneously obsessed. I think the combination of being in Europe, attending my first major production, and the fact that ABBA already had that nostalgic place in my heart made me realize the depth of my love for ABBA.

Although the group split in 1982, I wonder what it would be like to travel back to the disco era and watch my favourite Swedish band in their white bell bottom jeans and onesie, dancing in formation on stage.


So, what show would you travel back in time to see? Let us know @RUStudentLife or send us an email at rustudentlife@gmail.com or FB message of your own 250 Words. Read more 250 Words questions and responses here.