Photo of Tom Grennan What If and Maybe's Tour promotional image

My First Solo Gig – Tom Grennan, Birmingham Utilita Arena

Last Friday I went to my first solo gig to see Tom Grennan on the first night of his What If’s and Maybe’s Tour to support his new album which is out in June this year. The opening night was at Birmingham’s Utilita Arena which is also where I went to see the Commonwealth Games last year.

I first heard Tom Grennan when he released Found What I’ve Been Looking For but only really became a fan during his second album Evering Road as I love so many songs on that album, from the soulful A Little Bit of Love to the regretful This Is The Place, as well as his beautiful duet with Ella Henderson on Let’s Go Home Together. He also had a big hit with Joel Corry in 2022 with Lionheart which was bolstered by the Women’s Euro’s 2022 when England finally won a football trophy.

I then read in an article somewhere that Tom stated that he was unhappy with how much other popstars charged for tickets for their gigs which I think is definitely true when you see tickets for acts such as Beyoncé and Harry Styles going for several hundred pounds with the current cost of living so I decided to get a ticket to go and see him, though by this point it was only five weeks before the gig and as it was a bit of a whim I also decided to go alone.

On a slight separate note I also bought Shania Twain tickets to go alone but decided to try it out earlier so that I didn’t get too much into my own head about anxiety as Shania’s concert isn’t until September.

Anyway I’ll start by talking about the gig itself which was amazing. Tom did a brilliant setlist which had all of his hit singles and included some songs which I had forgotten he had sung, as well as tracks from the new album such as All These Nights, Here and Remind Me which have been playing on the radio these last few weeks. His vocals were amazing and the show was fantastic.

He also sung Let’s Go Home Together with his backing singer which I stuck on my TikTok and was a highlight of the night. He also sung my personal favourite of his A Little Bit Of Love but my phone picked up some of my pretty bad singing so I’ve decided not to share that video anytime soon :-).

Anyway the show was fantastic but as I said in the title going to gigs alone is something which I have never done before and I did have to read a lot of Quora posts and Reddit threads to convince me to go so I decided to just write down some of my thoughts here and try to be as honest as I can, as well as give some tips for people who maybe want to try but want some extra convincing.

First of all I think most people get concerned that people will look at them and stare as they realise they are alone. If I’m completely honest I did occasionally find the odd person look over and made eye contact with me although this only really happened in the couple of minutes when Tom was setting up, once the show started everyone’s eyes were on the stage and during the show I did get completely absorbed in the music and as everyone else started getting into the music, singing back and waving banners and dancing I got into it).

If I had two tips which helped here then I did take some headphones with me and whilst I was in the queue just listened to my music and played on my phone for a while. Also for this gig I bought a standing ticket which definitely helped as I could move around and if I felt like if I stayed in a spot too long during the waiting then I could move to somewhere else (another huge plus is people usually do not bat an eyelid when you walk past them on your own as they assume you are looking for someone so it was pretty easy to find a decent spot in the crowd even as it got busier).

I did also read on a Reddit thread to find somewhere to lean which sounded ridiculous at the time but when I was waiting in the intervals I did find one of the barriers and found myself leaning against it which did weirdly make me feel much calmer about being there on my own, I guess leaning does project some confidence in some way.

There were also of course other benefits. When I’ve gone with other people there is the constant making sure the other person is ok, you don’t lose them in the crowd or go in pairs to get drinks and food and so on. On my own it was great to be able to just enjoy watching the show on my own without worrying about other people which was surprisingly liberating – if I wanted to get food I could, if I wanted to look at the merchandise five times so I could decide what I wanted I could, also I could just take in the show fully during the performance.

I also did notice being on my own periods of time when other people around me were on their own e.g. if someone went to get food or something and though I didn’t strike up any conversations it did reassure me as I was just on my own for the whole show instead of part of it.

I guess one other thing is if you have anything with you then you will find yourself carrying everything with you. On the night of the show in Birmingham we had snow all week and it was freezing cold outside so I was wrapped up warm which wasn’t needed in the arena as it was warm in there and though I did put my scarf on the floor it is easier in a group to put things in a pile and stand around them without worrying if something gets trampled on.

My only other tip is if people want to try a gig alone but maybe don’t want to do so yet then I would recommend doing something smaller such as going to the cinema alone which I did a few months ago and have done several times since.  This definitely helped prepare me for some of the strange looks and maybe I didn’t notice it as much at the gig as a result.

Overall it was a fantastic night and I definitely don’t regret going to see one of my favourite acts and I hope the tips and this post gives other people some reassurance they can do the same. If you have been to a gig alone I would love to know your thoughts on it and how it went for you, also if you have any tips let me know :-).

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