How do you remember your favorite concerts? Was it how the concert venue smelled, or was it how the music sounded?
When I heard that one of my friends and colleagues was going to an Aerosmith concert a few weeks ago, I asked her to take some pictures and let me know, when the concert was over, what sense allowed her to best recall and remember the show.
Disclaimer: Now, I have to be honest. This request was a bit self-fish. Mainly, because Aerosmith was my first concert experience. I saw them when I was in high school. But, unfortunately, I still don’t have the concert shirt from the show.
But I can still remember how the shirt smelled. And I loved it. In a deviant sort of way.
During the show the shirt had absorbed all the smells from the concert. And it doesn’t surprise me that my sense of smell is what best helps me remember the show. Because olfacton is strongly linked to long-term memory.
If you haven’t already guessed what smell I remember the most by now I’ll tell you; it was the wafting clouds of pot circulating around the amphitheater and lawn area.
I never smoked any weed at the concert and my parents weren’t crazy about me going in the first place. But nonetheless it was a great time. And a concert I will always remember because of the smell.
So I asked Lauren, who was also seeing Aerosmith for the first time, to grab some pix and fill me in on the concert’s details, so I could share them with you as told by her in words and pictures.
Lauren’s Facebook update
A day after the concert Lauren expressed how she felt via a Facebook update.
completely understand why Aerosmith will go down in history as one of the best bands of all time. A two hour set and they STILL weren’t able to fit all of their hits into one show. BEST LIVE PERFORMANCE EVER!!
But you never know what might happen at a concert. Here’s a snippet from our Facebook IM chat once I saw her post-concert update.
Lauren: hey, I couldn’t find my camera yesterday so I went out and got a new one at Target, but when i got to the concert and put the battery in with the new memory, the memory card they sold me and insured would work didn’t fit!
Luckily, Lauren was able to think quick and grab some cell phone pix. And I’m glad she did.
I don’t know what it is about cell phone pictures. But, even if they’re grainy or a bit blurry, I still sometimes like them better than pro photos taken with a high-end camera. One reason is because they capture the show from the fan’s perspective a whole lot better than pro photos can–which works great for our purposes here.
I looked at Lauren’s pictures and then, as part of the fan experiment, I asked her to answer a couple additional questions to see which of her senses helped her recall the show.
If you could relive one moment during the concert, what would that moment be and why?
I’ve never been to an Aerosmith concert before, so when the band started to play, I was shocked by how great they sounded. Their albums are amazing, but their live musical prowess and how they integrated the crowd was mesmerizing. They truly are rock legends.
What sense gives you the strongest memory of the concert: sight, sound, taste, touch or smell? And why?
The sound, hands down. They have been in the business for years and are still better than ever. Every high note, every song, was pitch perfect.
Our Concertgoing Hard-Wired Sensory System
Lauren picked sound as the dominant sense in recalling her concert experience. And her pick is a common one among most concertgoers when it comes to remembering their favorite concerts. This is because our ears are an amazing part to the hard-wiring of our brain and body’s overall sensory system.
Though all of our brains have the same general make-up, each concert fan’s brain and how it develops is different and unique in its own way. Though most fans use their sense of sound to recall a concert experience, others might rely on smell or even touch. For me it was my sense of smell that helps me remember an Aerosmith concert from almost 15 years ago. How we remember our favorite concert experiences all depends on how our brain is wired up.
One Concert = Thousands of Mini-Concerts
That being said, it’s really amazing to think that each fan at a show experiences the concert uniquely in their own way. We think of a concert as one event. But if we’re all using different senses and different brain chemistry to experience and store the larger concert going on in front of us, then there are actually hundreds and sometimes even thousands of mini-concerts going on in the stage of our minds storing that moment for years to come in our long-term memory.
Because it’s such a big and deep topic, we’ll continue this train of thought about the concert experience and long-term memory on future posts as I ask other fans to recall their favorite concerts using their senses.
I’d like to again thank Lauren for sharing her Aerosmith concert experience and allowing me to remember my first concert, too. As you can tell, her experience and responses have opened up a great new discussion about fan experiences that I’m excited to explore even more.
Do you a have concert experience you’d like to share?
Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org