Is There Anybody Alive Out There?

I watch a lot of concerts. It can't match experiencing a concert in person, but those opportunities are few compared to the endless catalog of shows that you can stream. It's great to revisit favorite bands and try new ones.

Plus, it's fun to compare stage techniques; how artists react to a subdued crowd or ride the momentum of a lively audience. There's the sing-along and the call-and-response; the exhortations from the stage — "Is there anybody out there?", "Make some noise!", and the reliable, "Let me hear you, (city name)!". I remember Elvis Costello introducing a song with "Seats are made for standing on!".

My favorite rock 'n' roll question is Bruce Springsteen's, "Is there anybody alive out there?"

When the moment arrives, the concert is already at a peak. The crowd is on top of the world, the noise louder than in the dreams of an average band. All of which makes the question even better. It's an exhortation to the audience and the band; there's something beyond this feeling, higher ground is within our reach. He repeats it again and again, as the response becomes deafening.

Is there anybody alive out there?
Is there anybody alive out there?
Is there anybody alive out there?

I hear that question in my head often, especially when I see mundane routine where I once saw magic, and nitpicking negativity has replaced wide-eyed wonder. It's easy to narrow our focus to the point where we can no longer see what drew us to something or someone in the first place.

For the ones who had a notion,
a notion deep inside,
that it ain't no sin to be glad you're alive.
I want to find one face
that ain't looking through me

Anytime I'm reminded of life's pure joy, the beauty of shared experience, I'm grateful.