Your Worst Concert Experience: The Butt Arsonist

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Okay, everyone, it’s time to ask for submissions again! The “Worst Concert” franchise is at its best with its back to the wall, and now we’re in survival mode again. We need some good stories, and we need them for next week. THE SITUATION IS URGENT! So send yours in! Do it! The email address is mailbag@pastemagazine.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.

This week, we start with our most terrifying concert villain yet:

I’ve been to hundreds of concerts over the years but oddly enough the worst experience I ever had was at the first rock concert I went to. My parents dragged me to see the likes of Alabama and Anne Murray as a young child, but as a ninth grader in 1991, my first ‘real’ concert was seeing Bad Company & Damn Yankees with my older sister and her friends.

For most of the show I was just in awe of everything going on around me. Little did I know that some ‘rocker chick’ behind me kept trying to light my butt on fire with her lighter. My sister, who is about a foot shorter than me, kept turning around the glaring at the girl. When the ‘rocker chick’ wouldn’t relent on her mission to fry my butt, my sister turned around and threw a punch at her. I still couldn’t figure out what was going on as my sister had to be restrained by her friends.

I went to see J.D. McPherson, a rising rockabilly-esque musician, at the Metro in Chicago last March. I am a huge fan of J.D. McPherson, and with the tickets being under $20 (including fees), I couldn’t pass up the chance to see him live. What a mistake.

Before the show even started (including the two opening bands), two EXTREMELY drunk girls were shouting to everyone in the crowd how they had seen J.D. five times in concert, and bragging about their concert experiences. Because we all really cared that much. Soon, two equally drunk guys began hitting on the girls, and to ward off their advances, the girls shouted to the guys that they were sisters, which throughout the night transformed into lesbian lovers, who were getting engaged right after the show. This continued for the entire two hours of the night, even when J.D. came onstage.

The two opening bands were local acts, which usually gets me excited. But one of the bands was made up of middle age guys that looked like my dad and his buddies, and their pitiful covers of ska and punk groups were awkward. Usually 45 minutes is not a long time, but this group singlehandedly made it feel like two hours.

Because this wasn’t enough, right before J.D. came onstage, an old fat man pushed his way through the crowd and began hitting on me, and constantly invaded my personal space. His breath stank, his body smelled like he hadn’t showered in decades, and he would not leave me alone, even when the band was on. Right after the first opening band, he spilled his beer all over me and then continually apologized throughout the night.

And, J.D. McPherson and his band sucked live. I don’t know if it was because the show was towards the end of his tour and he was just tired, or what, but it was musically one of the worst shows I’ve heard. Their attempts to draw out the two-minute songs into four-minutes was painful, and being right up at the stage I felt like I had to try and force myself to enjoy the concert. After leaving the club, already disappointed, I got caught in a snow storm. In March.

My worst concert experience was at a Staind show in Green Bay. Papa Roach and Seether were the openers. It was my sister’s first concert and we had braved the bitter cold of Northeastern Wisconsin in December and waited outside for three hours to get a good spot for the show. We got in the front row and had a blast through the first band and the beginning of Papa Roach’s set, but then I started getting pushed around by a group of old drunk women who wanted in the front row. After about 10 minutes the hags realized they wouldn’t be able to push their way in, and one of them began pulling my hair. My sister and I had to leave the floor and find a seat.

So, Bonnaroo 2013 was great, minus one detail. Even though it was my first Bonnaroo, I felt relatively prepared. Sure, I knew that many Bonnaroovians would be wasted the entire weekend, and I understood that a run-in with a crazed concert goer, a rabid Wu-Tang fan, or someone on quite the psychedelic trip via Peter Fonda (“She Said, She Said,” anyone?) could occur at any given moment. What I had not expected was the air quality during Paul McCartney’s wonderful and overpopulated set.

The air, or maybe his drink, or maybe his love for Paul, seemed to have a negative effect on the middle aged man to my left. This man was at least twice my size and swaying uncontrollably. He leaned dangerously near me, and I tried to back away as best I could in the crowd; if he fell on me, a mere twig of a girl, I would be out cold and miss Paul’s inevitable “Hey Jude” encore. Thankfully, the man’s younger female friend pulled him back up straight before he fell on me. Surely now I was safe.

Yet, before I could choke out a sigh of relief, Paul started the opening notes of “Lovely Rita.” I guess this man had a thing for meter maids, because he immediately started belting out every word, dreadfully out of tune and almost tripping over his own feet after each verse. By this time not only did I find myself still in mortal peril of being crushed by the man, but I could also no longer hear Paul McCartney. Paul’s voice had been replaced by a strange croak emanating from a man so plastered that the only thing tethering him to consciousness was “Lovely Rita.” And if that’s not just sad, I don’t know what is.

See you next week…IF, that is, you send in your story to mailbag@pastemagazine.com and keep the good (bad) times rolling.

PREVIOUSLY:

The Trench Coat Vigilante
The Phantom Grabber

The Handhold Switcheroo
The Accidental Threesome
The Elusive Sasquatch

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