Saturday, July 10, 2010

Ants Marching

There are certain things people mention when describing a concert experience: the band, the set list, the performance, the arena, the weather, the general vibe.  Nobody ever describes in detail the scene of a concert, and now I understand it’s because no one would ever attend a concert again.  On the fourth of July, my Dave Matthews Band cherry popped in a sea of avid DMB fans.  I was the only first-timer, a role I’m quite comfortable with, and while everyone reveled in experiencing my first time with me, expressing their passion and excitement for Dave, they failed to warn me of the general type of crowd this concert at this particular arena would draw.
             My day started a solid 10 hours before the opening act was even scheduled to begin, which should have been my first indication that this would be like no concert I’ve ever seen; that it would put Boys II Men II shame and make Britney seem like a tween singing into her hairbrush.  Once the parking lot-turned frat house filled, tents and grills appeared and alcohol poured like rain.  DMB blasted from every car radio, the smell of what I thought to be an obscene amount of weed but was later put to shame mixed with the smell of meat in the air that resounded with the satisfying crack of beer cans opening.  Though I previously thought tailgates were exclusively for football games, I quickly learned that one can also pregame for a Dave concert.
The heat was close to unbearable when it was finally time for the twenty-minute uphill hike, which was made only more difficult by the tailgating activities, to the grassy mountain.  We picked a spot and sat down; I assumed this would be a comfortable place for my first Dave experience.  Unfortunately, as soon as Zac Brown Band came on stage, as if by reflex, the entire crowd rose at once to its feet and packed in together as close to the railing on the hill as possible.  The heat and humidity plus the now lack of personal space was disgusting and I prayed for sunset.  Worse than being close enough to smell the breath of everyone around me was that the incessant daylight provided opportunity for me to actually see the incredibly disturbing things that were occurring.
            It began with a girl, barefoot, projectile vomiting what seemed like a week’s worth of intake onto the grass, and a little bit onto herself.  After quickly concluding that liquor plus dehydrating heat must be the cause, my more pressing concern was the fact that people were now going to walk through her vomit and drag it my direction.  I decided I had to stand the rest of the concert (to avoid sitting in something I would regret) and when I got dizzy from the heat, I squatted onto my heels, careful to make sure my dress didn’t so much as graze the ground.  (Luckily, I wore my neon-pink spandex bike shorts underneath so I didn’t have to worry about flashing anyone.)  I looked to my left to check on the vomit situation, but instead met with a slightly more immediate concern.  
            “Oh.  No.  That’s a penis…that is a man’s penis!”
            Confused, the girls I was with all turned to see just why I was causing a commotion.  This man had whipped it out through his zipper and was peeing in the grass and giggling.  When my friend approached him to let him know that was not okay, his girl friends seemed shocked by her disapproval, as though she was crazy for not enjoying the view.  It was like a car wreck I couldn’t not look at.  A girl, who had definitely mixed something with her alcohol, couldn’t stand, and was seemingly alone at the concert, started a conversation with pee boy and his friends.  She then turned to me and said, “Ilovef*kingwithdrunkpeople.”  Honey, you can’t even say “drunk people.” 
            Once I finally got my shock under control, a guy behind me started laughing and I realized a voyeur circle had formed.  Apparently, what started as a guy motor boating a girl he just met had turned into a make out session.  Unable to see through the wall of people, I stopped caring…until that same guy’s laughter turned to screams.  The motorboat turned make out escalated and now this girl was giving head to the stranger in front of a group of people.  If that isn’t class, I don’t know what is. 
            As sun set, and the crowd settled, waiting for Dave to come on, I was excited to have less vomit dragged over my feet and the sweet absence of light to protect me from seeing things I wish I hadn’t.  As a final image of what DMB concerts incite, a guy came and sat down just in front of us and leaned back onto his elbows.  A minute later, his girlfriend crawled on top of him and they ferociously made out as though they were not in public.  Suddenly, she stood up, ran up the hill, and disappeared into the crowd.  While we wondered if he was going to go find her, the guy stood up and turned to face us, eyes wide open and jaw to the floor. 
“That.  Was.  Awesome!” 
That girl was not his girlfriend; they had never spoken; he wouldn’t have been able to pick her out of a lineup of two.
            I have to admit the Dave crowd was rowdier than I expected.  Next time, I’m sitting in seats and handing out STD pamphlets.  But everyone was certainly right.  Dave Matthews Band concerts-unforgettable.


  1. Wow. DMB concerts have changed a lot since I was a sophomore (freshman? Maybe this was middle school?) in high school. My bf won tickets and my sister drove us up to Portland, and then we both sort of fell asleep during the show. Must have been 8th grade. My only memory of the event is of us throwing some paper at this lady with giant blond hair in the rows below us. (This is Jah's girlfriend, btw.)

  2. Glad I could make the blog! YES! :)