PopWatch Confessional: Which concerts have made you cry?

bruce-springsteenImage Credit: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.comLast night was not the first time a live performance from a musician has brought me to tears, but it was certainly the most unanticipated.

I went to the 4th Annual Stand Up for Heroes event, presented by the Bob Woodruff Foundation and the New York Comedy Festival, at the Beacon Theatre in New York anticipating a certain amount of emotional response. (Most event organizers are well versed in the art of heartstring tugging.) But I managed to keep myself in check through the personal stories of triumph and the inspiring videos about veterans’ courageous recovery. I was there for work, after all, which meant I had to wear my (p-p-p-)poker face. Well, I tried.

Enter The Boss for a three-song set.

I’d never seen Bruce Springsteen live, and my inaugural experience was completely and utterly mind-blowing. Backed by the Max Weinberg Big Band, he took over the theater with 1982’s “Open All Night.” One minute, Springsteen was sitting atop the piano and playing it with the heel of his boot, and before I realized it, he was on the other side of the stage, tapping his left leg to the beat as he interacted with the saxophone player. He carried that energy through his performance of “Kitty’s Back.”

After two songs that made me feel like I had crashed the greatest party ever, there was a jarring 180 of emotion, as Springsteen’s wife, Patti Scialfa, joined him on stage for the somber but hopeful tune, “If I Should Fall Behind.” By the second chorus, “And I’ll wait for you/ If I should fall behind/ Wait for me,” I lost my battle with tears. It was the perfect song for this crowd, and the people in attendance (save us media trolls) deserved the moment and so much more.

When I saw U2 last year, I remember being awed to the near-tear point by Bono’s greatness, and I cried at all of my Backstreet Boys concerts as a kid. But I knew those would be hyper-emotional moments. I saw them coming. Conversely, I didn’t wear waterproof mascara to yesterday’s event. (And I really wish I would have.)

What about you, PopWatchers? Have you ever been unexpectedly moved to tears by a live performance?

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Comments (122 total) Add your comment
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  • Jenna

    I started crying at a Jason Mraz acoustic show. It was soooo beautiful.

    • Mari

      I’ve cried at a Jason Mraz show as well; I think it was the song “Beautiful Mess” that did me in.

      • KS

        Cried my eyes out when Rufus Wainright sang “Beautiful Child” in Boston 2007. Amazing song, amazing performer.

      • Stormy

        Bawled like a baby standing in Times Square while Jon Bon Jovi sang America The Beautiful. Unforgettable.

    • Ana Luisa

      I also cry everytime I hear I’m Yours. Because it sucks and he cant sing!

  • Rose

    Radiohead. As cheesy as it sounds, I was just so excited to finally be able to see my favorite band:)

    • lunchboxx

      Me too!!! I finally got to see them on the Hail to the Thief tour. My eyes welled up the minute they took the stage. What an experience they are live. Thom’s voice is magical.

    • Anu

      I too have been moved ot tears by Radiohead’s concerts. I love them, and often they make these impassioned statements about causes, world events, etc. that you can’t help but be moved.

  • Sarah

    I have an opposite experience. When I was about 8 or so, my parents took me to see Paul McCartney at Giants Stadium. I was young, it was late and noisy and at some point I started crying. Then he started to sing “Hey Jude” and I stopped immediately.

    • LW

      I’m def not a crier but I almost lost it when I saw Paul McCartney at Coachella as well esp during “Something” which he played on a ukelele George Harrison had given him.

      • ECM

        Yes, exactly! Me too! And also when Paul talked about his time with John Lennon. I looked around and everyone at Coachella was crying.

    • Jen

      I just cried this year seeing Paul McCartney singing Hey Jude. Just the intenseness of the entire arena singing with him was overwhelming.

    • orville

      I saw McCartney shortly after George Harrison died. He did an acoustic version of “Something” on a ukelele that George had given him. Not a dry eye in the house.

  • Mr. Holloway

    Not so much concerts for me, but I’ve definitely been moved to tears during theatrical performances, most egregiously during “In the Heights”…it’s not even an emotional show…I was just blown away by how good it was.

    (Semi-obscure movie reference alert) Almost every time I go see a play/musical I wind up looking like Michael Hitchcock during the “A Penny for Your Thoughts” number in “Waiting for Guffman.”

  • CV

    I saw Elvis Costello for the first time in June. The show was unbelievable— just him and 7 guitars. He played for over two hours before settling into the encore. He played an acoustic version of (What’s so funny ’bout) Peace Love and Understanding that BROKE.MY.HEART. It was so melancholy and beautiful. I definitely had tears in my eyes.

    • Coco

      That was the only concert that I’ve ever cried at. So beautiful….

  • katie

    Watched Bon Jovi sing Halleluiah
    live at one of his shows 2 years ago.. WOW, cried at that one!
    And Bed of Roses at his outdoor show this past August holy crap! Gives me goosebumps!

    And I second the motion to crying at the BSB! :)

    • plinko

      i’d cry 2 if bon jovi sang halleluiah, but not happy tears. they would be super andgery tears!

      • DMR

        super andgery tears must be a symptom of being an ass. You should get that fixed.

      • Stormy

        Yeah he sucks. That must be why they chose him to do the song for the Shrek soundtrack, Idiot.

  • T.

    When I saw Queen + Paul Rodgers at the Meadowlands, Brian May sat on the stage extension and played “Love of My Life.” While I wish I’d have been old enough to see Queen with Freddie, I was still overcome by seeing one of my musical heroes play and sing one of my favorite Queen ballads. Lots of tears ensued. :)

    • Templar

      Brian may made me cry too. At Wembley for the Freddie tribute concert. Brian sang Too Much Love Will Kill You, and it made the crowd turn into one massive puddle of tears.

  • Albert

    U2, way back on the Joshua Tree tour. They closed with “40” and the audience continued singing, “How long, to sing this song?” as everyone exited the stadium, across the tarmac and all the way to the parking garage. It still gives me goosebumps thinking about it.

    • Anita

      Couldn’t agree more!
      40 is the best closer to date!

    • Elizabeth

      yep – my first U2 concert. I was so overwhelmed to just be there – finally – to see them. Cried through the first three songs and still tear up to this day when I hear any of them.

  • Winona

    The first time I heard Isaac Hanson sing “Being Me” (an unreleased song at the time) in concert, I was bawling uncontrollably (personal reasons). I’ve heard it two more times live, and it always catches me off guard – and I cry.

  • alex

    Even though he’s performed it probably hundreds of times at live shows over the years, for some reason Paul McCartney’s “Here Today” got me and my friends a bit misty-eyed a couple of months ago.

  • TQB

    Paul McCartney, Fenway Park. I don’t even remember what song finally did it, but it was the overwhelming memories of childhood (my mother was a huge fan) and seeing this incredible performer still giving his heart and soul on stage. It was the soundtrack of my childhood – and I was surrounded by people who felt the same.

  • Karrah

    Keith Urban. It was the last night of his tour at the time, and it was the first tour since he’d gone to rehab. Nicole Kidman was there. He cried, doing songs like “Stupid Boy”, “I Got it Right This Time” and “Everybody” which is the one that made me cry. It was the best concert I’ve ever been to. It honestly felt like a religious experience seeing him live.

  • JJ

    No matter the show, the first few lines of “BAD” by U2 will reduce me to tears as it reminds me of a friend who killed himself in college. I also will never forget a PRETENDERS concert where Chrissie Hynde dedicated “I’ll Stand by You” to my best friend, who, at the time, was living with HIV for ten years.

  • Kevin

    The Dance – Fleetwood Mac concert I went too. Was so excited to see my favorite band of all time back together again. In just the same formation that I had grown to love them in the 1970’s.

    • Jessica

      I’m jealous! I keep hanging on to a tiny thread of hope that Christine McVie will change her mind one day, so I can see Fleetwood Mac with her in the mix. It was a Stevie Nicks solo show that brought the tears, though. I wanted to be her as a kid (and still kinda do).

  • Louise

    I saw Shawn Colvin last year with my best friend. We have listened to her for thirteen years and she sang our favorite song of hers, “Polaroids.” Tears and chills.

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