Directly in front of the stage is the mosh pit where the standing audience passes people who are in a reclining position over top of the crowd to the front of the stage. Arms and legs project over top of shoulders en masse and I wonder uneasily if anyone has landed straight on their head but it appears no one does. I watch the security guards repeatedly pick the bodies off the crowd as if on an assembly line.
You may wonder what on earth a pair of well over 50 but no-grey-hairs- on –our- heads-yet -seniors are doing at a rock concert. Unlike other people my age that think Blink 182 is a radio station, I am familiar with their music and even like their songs that I’ve heard on a Toronto alternative radio station. A word to seniors: Edge 102.1 radio does not play Frank Sinatra or Tony Bennett oldies. For the past few years I have been keenly interested in the music industry as my youngest son is in a pop-punk band that is ambitiously writing, singing and playing their way to the top in a very competitive and cut-throat industry. His band was invited to play the side stage at the Blink concert and having attended other much smaller venues we just could not stay away from this show.
After picking up our tickets at the box office earlier in the day two scalpers called us over to their jeep and as we approached them they stated in disbelief, “oh, you can’t be going to the concert”. I skipped over to them and happily replied, “we certainly are”. I then opened my jacket to proudly display the band’s name on my Tee-shirt and explained to them that we had come to hear our son and his band perform on the side stage. “That’s cool”, was their response and “enjoy the show”.
We found the band in the parking lot next to their Hertz van schmoozing the crowd of mainly young girls and passing out stickers and signing autographs. The excited teenyboppers had never heard of them but it didn’t matter; they were “a band” and that was all that mattered.
Once inside the gate we watched vehicles with various band members enter the back stage area. Girls were squealing excitedly because they had seen Travis, the drummer for Blink come down the ramp in his wheel chair. His broken leg was in a cast and some of the girls had been lucky enough to be invited to write their name on it. In the back stage parking area we could see a number of Prevost buses and we marvelled that bands earned enough money to own a Prevost. Little did we then know that the headliners own a few successful companies. I had seen many kids wearing Atticus T-shirts but I thought it was another rock group, not a clothing company owned by a pop-punk musician. I also discovered later that many artists and bands lease motor homes and coaches for a road tour.
Standing in line for three hours is likely easier and a lot more fun when you are young. You’re hanging with your friends and occasionally your cell phone rings for a diversion but standing in one place for such a long while has little appeal for me. My cell phone seldom rings so I occupied my time by observing the people in line and I noticed the young people, mostly girls, observed us too, accompanied by some occasional whispering and side long glances and do I dare admit this, some giggling. But as we have attended many of our son’s shows during the past three years I am quite accustomed to the double takes but I really don’t understand them. Remember all the over forty “deadheads” there used to be. Many of them followed Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead all over the country and age didn’t seem to matter to them. And what about Rolling Stones fans?
My son’s band played two sets to an enthusiastic crowd at the side stage. During the first set two high-spirited young men, assuming I was the mother to someone in the band (what was their first clue?) asked me to pose with them for a photo. I obliged and stood between them; they raised their shirts to display the band’s name written in red marker across their chests. Somewhere out there a sobered concertgoer wonders who the hell the older woman in his photos is. After the second set ended the boys in the band were mobbed by newly acquired fans that enthusiastically scrambled for autographs, CDs, and T-shirts. By the remarks heard at the show and the many comments posted on their website the boys in the band have increased their popularity as talented pop-punk artists.
That night I went to bed with a muted buzzing noise in my left ear and while I was pondering the wisdom of not wearing the ear plugs I had brought to the concert, I fell into a deep, entertaining slumber.