It is easy stepping out of the train and into the station. My feet know where they are going, guided by memories of years gone by, my mind lulled by the familiar sounds of a French train station. It feels like I’ve never left and yet I can’t bring myself to be excited as I enter Lille after five years of absence.
I meet my little sister outside of the station and we set off into the city centre, our bodies blending into the crowd, oblivious of the scenery around us. We know this place too well and nothing has changed.
We emerged into the high street and my old cinema burst into view, giving rise to a wave of memories in me. I stop and finally emerge out of my blank state, realising I am not home anymore. I do no know the program of the cinema and I have no clue if the monthly subscription is still as cheap as it used to – probably not. I smile and remember my time in Lille. I almost chuckle as I remember how naïve I was back then. Life wasn’t quite real at that time, too simple to be true.
Did you ever believe?
Were you ever a dreamer?
Ever imagine heart open and free? (Vox Populi)
We walk on, two tourists that know the place better than most visitors. We stop for lunch in a restaurant I’ve never seen before – or can’t remember – and the conversation turns from easy chatter to our dreams. We have grown so much my little sister and I. We used to be two kids playing at annoying each other but we don’t play anymore. Instead we share our plans for the future, our ideas to make our dreams come true. I feel so proud of her, the rebel child has turned into a driven child.
Her phone rings. It’s my older sister. I answer and we chat about our lives – “How are the little ones doing?” and “Any news about the restructure that’s happening at work?“. I feel so grown up. It feels out of place in Lille. This used to be a place of carelessness and unbridled liberty.
The meal finished, we look for our hotel and unwind for a little while. It will soon be time to get ready for the concert.
It’s time to forget about the past
To wash away what happened last (A Beautiful Lie)
It is still early but we decide to go to the concert hall nonetheless. As we reach it, we find a small crowd already waiting, the gates impossible to view at the front of the queue. We spot my sister’s friends easily and start the wait. I look around and I can see a mixture of young and old, female and male, hard-core fans and people who just know a few songs around me. We are all so diverse but everyone is clustered in their own groups of friends, still under the influence of everyday life. I smile in anticipation as I know this will soon change.
I know the gates have opened when we are unexpectedly thrust forward. I lose my balance in that instant but I cannot fall. The crowd is too thickly packed for that to happen. Everyone lets themselves be slowly dragged onwards, our body twisting into impossible positions at every movement of the mass. Eventually the discomfort ends and we enter the concert hall. The place fills quickly and I am amazed how 30 Seconds to Mars can fill a big concert hall and yet every time I mention their name, people have no idea of whom I’m talking about.
We wait again but this time is different. Our circle of friends have grown. We have all rubbed our bodies against strangers to get here, all barriers are gone. We chat with our neighbours, joke and laugh and yet we are careful not to share names. We remain anonymous, only a group of friends for the duration of the concert. We will share water, dances, move out of the way for people to take photographs but once at the end we will each go our separate ways.
There is a fire inside of this heart
And a riot about to explode into flames (Hurricane)
The first acts comes and goes. It has readied us for 30 Seconds to Mars, our bodies and mind ready to break out into a frenzy but nothing comes. We wait. I smile as I know there is much more waiting ahead of us. I have never known 30 Seconds to Mars to appear quickly after a first act. They give us time to cool, but mostly they build the anticipation. I know this and yet I cannot help but be caught in the trap. People in the tribune starts stumping their feet, down in front of the stage we start yelling but nothing happens. The lights remain stubbornly bright while our bodies are itching to jump, our mind eager to be go wild, our soul impatient to be free. We wait, wait, and wait until finally the concert hall turns dark and the first song erupts into the hall.
We cry out as never before, the exasperation of the long wait released into the air. 30 seconds to mars are on stage, the concert is beginning and I forget there is a world outside.
I am home, home, home, home (City of Angels)
I explode at the first note of Night of the Hunter, jumping up and down and forgetting I usually do not dance. I am not self-conscious anymore, not here. I know those songs, I know their beats and words. I have assigned meanings to them and I can unleash as they fill my body with their rhythms. I am drenched with sweat by the third song and too hot but for once I do not care. 30 Seconds to Mars are playing and I am free. I yell and sing, merging into the unanimous body that the crowd has become. And I forget. I forget that on Monday changes will be announced at work and I might come to hate my job. It does not matter in that instant because I also know that no matter what happens I will be alright. I have made the decision earlier in the week to focus on my creative projects and let go of my job, to follow my passions and bring back the buzz and energy that resides in the pit of my stomach when I know I’m on the right path.
Here right now
Under the banner of heaven, we dream out loud (Do or Die)
I believe once more that I can do anything.