Welcome back, everyone, to Your Worst Concert Experience. As you see, the franchise has survived, but we’re always looking for more good (read: awful) stories. In fact, we need some for next week. So send yours in! Do it! The email address is email@example.com. It can be your story, or somebody else’s, and it can be anonymous if you prefer. Long or short—you decide. Misery is the only requirement.
We begin this week with a story I’m calling “The Bad Religion Crotch Incident”:
You know that beautiful moment when the lead singer of a band reaches out into his fans, grabbing their hands in passionate connection?
Imagine this: At my first Bad Religion concert I decided that it would be a great idea to stand at the barricade since my brother and I were so early. Sometimes I forget that I am a girl of 4’11 (also known as: Armpit Height) and normally I can bear the odors and crevices I have been shoved into; but this time was a little different. The lead vocalist of the second opening band, The Bronx, jumped onto a bar just below the barricade (of which I was clinging to for dear life) to complete the routine sing-to-the-fans. As he leaned into the crowd, directly in front of/above me I thought, “Hey this is kinda cool….”
Until my face became smothered by his crotch: “IS THAT HIS PEEPEE?!” Why yes, half of my face was ironed into his fly for about two minutes. Now, some of you may not think this would have been such a bad experience, but when I was finally able to come up for air, my entire face was covered in a strange man’s crotch/belly sweat. I smelled fantastic.
In September of 2010, a friend and I road-tripped to Brooklyn to see the iconic and elusive band Pavement play the Williamsburg Waterfront. The band was both prompt and powerful, dutifully rushing the stage at 8:15, and committing to a focused set of 25 songs. Opening with “Cut Your Hair,” and finishing with “Range Life,” Pavement truly lived up to their epic reputation. While the music itself was spectacular, the experience was less than stellar.
The crowd was unbearable; the gaggles of hipsters simply refused to stop talking. So, instead of surrendering to the awe that comes from witnessing a truly groundbreaking band, I found myself focused on trying to ignore the aggressively chatty concertgoers. As I stood to the right side of the stage, wedged between a bearded man bellowing something about his connections with NYPD and a teenaged boy scoffing at the girls behind us, my irritation swelled. Why go to a concert if you aren’t there to hear the music?
In this instance, there was no such thing as moderation. By the middle of the set, we were fuming. Just as Pavement had done in 1999, we decided to break up with the rest of the crowd. Sacrificing our territory, we fell to the back of the audience in hopes of finding a purer sound and fewer talkers. What we lost in proximity, we gained in substantiality, reminding us that, ultimately, it’s all about the music.
I was on a business trip in Seattle and saw that one of my favorite Texas bands, Bowling for Soup, was playing at a local club. I’d seen them several times in Texas, but this would be a chance to see them in ‘another’ culture.
The club held about 300 people, standing stage room. About halfway through the show, one of the stage crew decided to crowd surf. Right at me. I’m about 5’3, 115 lbs, so no, I couldn’t hold him up and he knocked me to the floor. (He was so drunk he never even noticed). Jaret, the lead singer, asked if I was okay—embarrassing! I got up and said I was fine, even though my foot was really beginning to hurt.
The final result was three broken toes. Try standing for another hour with that! And then I had to fly home the next morning, hobbling through the airport and sitting on the plane without a way to prop up my foot.
And I didn’t even get a free t-shirt out of it.
While watching Ryan Adams and The Cardinals play in 2008, my husband (then-boyfriend), sister and brother had the misfortune of standing in front of three inebriated girls.
Between songs, mostly when Ryan Adams was lighting a cig, all three would scream out, “CAN WE HAVE A CIGARETTE?!?!?!” and would cackle with each other after.
They did this about four or five times, and after my sister looked behind her giving them a few dirty scowls, they began tugging so hard on her hair to the point where she had to leave. They then moved on to tugging on my brother’s shirt, and finally at my wits end, I took a step back and deliberately squashed one of their toes with my boot. They stopped bugging us for a while, then continued their screaming and shouting, obviously annoying everyone around them, and even Neil Casal himself flipped them off. Right after Neil gave them that glorious bird, security came and dragged all three hags away.
See you next week…IF, that is, you send in your story to firstname.lastname@example.org and keep the good (bad) times rolling.
The Butt Arsonist
The Trench Coat Vigilante
The Phantom Grabber
The Handhold Switcheroo
The Accidental Threesome
The Elusive Sasquatch