Thursday, April 26, 2007

This ain't no Nickelback concert...

...this is Social D.

That was what Mike Ness told me. Or maybe he said it to the crowd. However, as I was the one crushed against the barriers right in front of him, indulge me and pretend that he was speaking to me.

I blame it all on Greg that I was even at a Social Distortion concert while I was in Vancouver. He had mentioned them on his blog and I had looked up their concert schedule. When I noted that they would be playing when I was in Vancouver with a dead evening ahead of me (no conference activity that night and no conference sessions first thing in the morning the next day), I got a ticket.

I didn't belong at a Social Distortion concert. I love their music, but let's just say that I don't quite fit in. There was a time when I would have, but that was years ago. Now I'm back to being somewhat of a social dork. At least I looked fine and blended in with the crowd [apart from being 10 years older than most of them].

I arrived just before ten. I got a beer and just sort of hovered near the back of the small gathering near the stage. The band playing was I Hate Kate and they were Great! Seriously. I enjoyed the songs I heard, and watching the guys play. One of their songs was called "I'm in love with a Sociopath" and it cracked me right up. Although my laughter was that sort where I also had that sick feeling of 'oh my god my ex could be singing this about me'.

Next up was [bah, I'm not naming them 'cause I'm about to be unflattering and I don't want them finding this]. What amused me to no end about their set was that a group of punks started slam dancing. It reminded me so much of the eighties. In fact, it reminded me of my very first concert after I had moved to Toronto - watching the Forgotten Rebels at the El Mocambo. I could not take the lead singer seriously. He was trying so hard to be tough yet sexy and I'm sure he has a following. It just wasn't me. At one point he loosened his belt, half dragged it out of his belt loops, and was holding it between his teeth. Oh dear lord in heaven - it looked ridiculous. He stood there like one of my cats with a mouse hanging down from her mouth. Not really doing anything, but just wanting someone to take note. That and the boy needs to start chugging Slimfast if he's going to wear low slung leopard pants and no shirt. Finally their set ended.

While waiting for Social D to come on, most of the crowd dispersed. I ended up standing right in front of centre stage, behind two guys who had staked out their spots from the beginning of the evening at the front. I remember thinking that I had lucked out and that I would enjoy the concert from this prime vantage point. Slowly people began to fill up in front of the stage. Still, I maintained my prime place and could peer between the arms of the two guys in front (their arms were braced against the security barriers). Then Mike Ness came on stage.

I did have a great spot. I could see him sweat. Hell, I was close enough that half the time Mike Ness moved his head I'm sure his sweat was landing on me. What I didn't factor in was just how crushed you get by being at the front. Within minutes I started getting pressed up against the guys in front of me. They would then push back, and I would be completely sandwiched between them and whatever guy was standing behind me. For a while it was kind of a turn-on being surrounded by such testosterone, but that didn't last long. Couple that in with the dozens of girls who were being passed over our heads and dumped behind the security barriers and my dream of 'enjoying' the concert from the front row evaporated quickly. It was pure survival.

Oddly enough, the words of a police officer who was leading a self-defense class I took fifteen years ago came back to me. Ladies, if you are attacked, try to get you and your attacker down on the ground. Women usually don't have good upper body strength but have powerful hips and thighs. Use that to your advantage. Obviously I wasn't going to lie down on the ground, but I did think that I would have more luck using my legs to support myself against that barrier than my arms. I rammed my right foot up against the security barrier and pushed the entire crowd back. With my ass. The two guys in front were impressed. My power hip move also kept a bit of a buffer for them from the rest of the crowd. And that's how I spent the next hour: hopping on one foot, the other foot braced against the security barrier, with my arms around both of the guys for support. I absolutely refused to have the guys behind me move me from my spot.

Eventually though I was no match for the crowd. I had to flag down security and get them to lift me over the barriers. By that point I had no strength left in either my arms or my legs so it was a very ungraceful ordeal of being half lifted by the guys next to me and half dragged by the security guard - and did I mention that I was wearing a skirt?

I was telling one of my coworkers that I had to be pulled over the barriers and he commented, "Oh well, at least you didn't cry." He looked at my shocked expression. "Oh my god - you cried! NO! You didn't..."

I started laughing. Of course I cried. I was so overwhelmed and in so much pain. I recovered quickly though. After a quick visit to the washroom to catch my breath and to fix the mascara that had run down my face, I went to the coat check and chatted with the girls there. They couldn't believe that I was leaving early. Admittedly I wanted to stay longer, but there was no way I was going to risk having to present the next day tired and hungover. I was going to say that that's how I know I'm getting old, but in fact I've always been responsible when it comes to work or school.

On my walk back to the hotel some homeless guy spat on my leg. I hadn't given him change, so I guess that was his protest. I didn't notice right away. It was only when the dampness seeped through my tights and I glanced down and noticed this thick wad of spit hovering near my ankle that I realized what had happened. I started rubbing my ankle against a tree frenetically in order to get the spit off.

Getting crushed and spat on aside, I'm so glad that I went to the concert and braved the front row.


Dantallion said...

I think I would have paid the price of admission just to see you use those legs of yours to push back.

St. Dickeybird said...

I wonder if you turned on whoever was behind you, being so ass-pushy!

And i think i'm in the same concert-going mindset as you these days.

-jkg said...

its such a strange feeling to be at a show and realize your a decade further than everyone else there.

and being spat on is gross. sorry to hear that.

Freak Magnet said...

I'm fortunate in that most of the bands I go see are "older bands" or "bands for older people". I remember going out clubbing a couple of years ago and feeling like I was chaperoning. It's a weird feeling.

ms a te o fin... said...

OK. The next time we there's an ol skool night with Soul on Ice, you and your posse should come. You'll really enjoy it... I promise!

Tickersoid said...

I gave up concerts long ago. If you're at the front you not only have the risk of being crushed to death but are also used as target practice for the beer can lobbing louts at the back. If you're at the back you can't see anything. Only thing to do is lob beer cans for amusement.

Susan as herself said...

What a great story. I feel like I was there with you. well, except for the spit (thank god). :)

Greg the Surly said...

I wish I could have joined you.

tornwordo said...

That was so funny with the at least you didn't cry bit. I would have TOTALLY freaked out. I freaked out twice here at the jazz festival crowd movements and cried too.

Rebekah said...

No way could I have dealt with that. I am impressed.

Although, the spitting? Yuck yuck yuck. Something like that is so gross and invasive. I might have gone back and spit on the homeless guy.

Okay, if he was not too scary looking, I might have done it.

Okay, I probably would have just thought about it.

But still.

Stewie said...

Oh, man. I wish I were there, too.

Plus I would have copped a feel of your ass as you were pushing people back.

Social D and a copped feel.


Snooze said...

Dantallion: I think the riot squads should hire me when faced with mass protests

StD: I think the people behind me wanted to kill me.

jkg: At least the band was old too - that made me feel better

FM: I remember being in clubs when I was young and looking at 27 year-olds and thinking, "Aren't you a bit old for this?"

Ms: If the show ends before 10pm. Otherwise I'll be at home in bed

Tickers: You are in hard core crowds - we got our beer in plastic glasses. Maybe for that reason.

Susan: I could have done without the spit myself.

Greg: That would have been great.

Torn: I cannot tell you how happy I am to find someone who can relate to the overwhelmed feeling. I'm sorry you felt that twice though.

Rebekah: lol - I think I went through the same thought process you did wrt the homeless guy. Also, I wasn't sure it had been him.

Stewie: You would have felt ass and cock and hands and boobs and... well, it was just a mess of body parts at the front.

The Wisdom of Wislon said...

Hillarious, sounds like you had a good night apart from being spat at, you could've done without that and the crushing :>)

oh to feel young and sprightly!