For seven consecutive weeks over the past couple months, the powerful, Scottish vocals of Lewis Capaldi were occupying the top spot of the UK official chart with new heartbreak anthem ‘Someone You Loved’. It is fair to say that Capaldi is on a career high, with one of the longest running number one singles for a Scottish act ever. If you too are one of the many avid fans of his Instagram stories then you know that he is chuffed to bits about it even though he has expressed fears of his career peaking ‘way too early’ in hilarious musical form. Ever since Capaldi appeared on Scott Mills’ radio show at the beginning of the year, wearing snazzy leopard print sunglasses and singing karaoke to ‘The Climb’, I was an instant fan. Needless to say, I still haven’t grown tired of annoying my housemates with constant Capaldi blasting from my speakers and I don’t think I will anytime soon. This is no mere flash in the pan music obsession like my weird Paul Simon phase – although ‘You can call me Al’ is still a banger.
But for this ‘Music for a Frazzled Mind’ post I want to focus on his upcoming arena tour and how much it means to me, as well as many others with mental health struggles. On the 18th April this year, @Lewis Calamari (I know. Who wouldn’t be a fan of someone with THAT twitter handle?), not only announced that he was going on tour but was working on a project called LiveLive. The scheme’s aim is to give those who struggle with anxiety support that will make live concerts a much less daunting experience. Personally, music is the single greatest thing in my life and the absolute rush you get from seeing your favourite artist live is unlike any other feeling. Last year I got to see my absolute icon, Taylor Swift, perform and I’m not ashamed to say that I was sobbing with joy as soon as she stepped onstage. But the before and after of the show was, in a word, difficult. Being in any unfamiliar environment, especially big urban areas like Wembley, puts me on edge. Leaving the arena wasn’t easy either. Long story short, walking in a packed crowd where I can’t see over the heads in front of me is NOT my cup of tea and sadly a panic attack was inevitable. All I can do is thank my Mum for getting me through that. Finally, after what happened in Manchester in 2017, I couldn’t help feeling anxious about the worst case scenario happening again. That last one I feel almost silly admitting as I understand that it was a rare tragedy for this country and it was unlikely to occur again. But nevertheless it is true and I don’t think I’m alone in my worries.
This is why the LiveLive scheme means so much to me. In his tweet Capaldi wrote ‘[I] know that a lot of you for one reason or another might find shows difficult whether it’s anxiety or panic. I want to make sure that as many of you feel that have the support to come down!’
It makes me so happy to see one of the biggest musical stars in the making going out of his way to ensure that his fans are as comfortable as possible. Honestly, nothing sucks more than your own brain saying ‘NOPE. DANGER! ABORT!’ and stopping you from doing things you actually would like to do. After suffering panic attacks himself onstage, including one occasion when supporting for Bastille, Capaldi is someone who just gets it. It feels like he’s reaching out a hand and saying ‘I know it sucks. But I’ll help you through this.’ I apologise for the slight cheese but I can’t think of any other way of putting it – soz! As a result, on the tour fans can expect before and during support in the following ways:
1. Designated help points in every venue if you’re struggling emotionally
2. Special safe place ‘escape room’ if you or a friend need time out
3. Gig Buddy system if you’re travelling alone
It’s a massive step in the right direction for mental health support and I am so proud that it is one of my favourite artists instigating it. I just hope in the future we can see the LiveLive project branching out to all live concerts so that no one misses out on once in a lifetime experiences because of their mental health.