Welcome back to “Your Worst Concert Experience,” the new Paste feature where we share our readers’ lowest tales of shame and degradation from the sordid world of live music.
If you’re interested in submitting your own story, and I hope you are, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Entries can be about you or someone you know, and if you want it to be anonymous, that’s cool too. Our only rule is: “The more shameful the better.”
This week, we have a smorgasbord of short, miserable scenes from our readers. We begin in the Midwest…
My buddy Andy & I attended a Rod Stewart concert in Indianapolis that was a very good show. As we were leaving along with thousands of other people, a drunk guy who I’d never met slurred in my direction, “Are you looking at me?”
My friend asked me if the guy was talking to me and I said I suppose he was, but no big deal. A few seconds later, in the midst of a sea of exiting concert goers, the drunk guy who I had mentally dismissed reappeared and hit me with a pretty solid punch just under my left eye.
I was stunned less by the punch than by the fact that a complete stranger had just slugged me, but my friend Andy wasn’t stunned at all. He grabbed the guy and then the drunk’s friend grabbed Andy and they wrestled through the throng of people and off the walkway and onto the ground. When I got to them a concession employee who had witnessed it all had the drunk’s buddy restrained and Andy had a good hold on the drunk. We asked a couple of police officers to arrest the guy who had hit me, but they wanted no part of it so the two guys just took off without penalty.
When I got the chance to go to Austin City Limits last weekend, I was ecstatic. At the end of Friday night we decided to head over to see Muse. While I am not a huge Muse fan, word on the street was that their live show is fantastic. I still don’t know if that’s true.
As is true with any massive show, people were tightly packed together. Between the 95 degree heat and the brief rain we all smelled like wet dogs. That gross sticky feeling makes you want to avoid physical contact as much as possible. Or at least it does that for me. As the show started a couple to my left began to get…er…rather involved. I tried to ignore it as a man a decade older hit on me and urged me to stand my ground to the crowd pushers. The concert was loud but not loud enough to cover the sounds of the macking couple. My stomach lurched but I wanted to dance and enjoy the show so I stayed put.
But they got closer. After making out for the first 45 minutes of the set they started to bend towards me. I squared my shoulders and pointed my sharp elbow in their direction. This did not deter them. Now practically on top of me, I was desperate to regain my space. His sweaty mop of hair pressed against my neck and I felt a drop of stray saliva hit my neck! The girl reached out seemingly to pull herself closer to him (not possible) but instead grabbed my shoulder looping her finger around my bra strap with her pointy nails.
Okay. I was NOT getting pulled into some disgusting threesome with this horny couple. “Stand your ground” my friend’s voice whispered in my ear. I wanted to use both hands and shove them. But as a passive Midwesterner, I simply cringed. Mr. Sweaty Curls was already pretty… excited as she slid her other hand DOWN his pants. CRAP! My head was spinning wondering how wasted you have to be to not realize (or not care) that you were still grabbing me instead. My flirty acquaintance grabbed my hand and pulled me forward rescuing me from a certain death (or sex).
This sharp move jostled them backwards into a calm lesbian couple who were not pleased at the situation. Sorry girls but urgent measures had to be taken! The last glance I had of them was him licking her fingers before they got lost in the crowd to inevitably scar some other innocent soul.
My worst concert experience (aside from sitting through an abysmal Modest Mouse performance once) was at Vans Warped Tour some time in the early 00s.
I was a naive 16 year old that thought I could hold my own in the Rancid mosh pit. My friend and I waited around the main stage between sets to hold a spot at the front, not realizing the mayhem that was about to ensue.
As soon as the band came on, the crowd rushed the stage and my tiny friend and I got completely squished. She started crying and screaming, so I tried to grab her arm to pull her out but my hand slipped and went up her the back of her shirt. She thought I was a phantom grabber and scratched my arm so hard it had three bleeding wounds on it. I finally got a hold of her hand and had to force our way out of our sweet spot that we had waited an hour and a half for. Once we finally got out of the mosh pit, not only was my arm bleeding, but my pinky toe nail had been ripped clean off and we were both crying like little girls. We retreated to the fence to watch far away from the crowd that was obviously way too hardcore for us.
My worst concert experience was around Nov. 16th. I only know this as we were celebrating our favorite made-up holiday (Stripper Day). The band we were there to see was Pop Evil and I don’t remember exactly who was the headliner, though I think it may have been Puddle of Mudd.
We were center front row as they were starting to take stage. The best place to be, right? Well, it was, at least through the first song. Then I became aware of the highly intoxicated older woman behind me. I’d say by the hardness of her face and deep wrinkles that this was not the first time she had hit the bottle hard. She just had that look of someone who struggles with alcohol. I would guess she was in her late 40s. She was loud and obnoxious, fighting with her “boy toy” (her words, not mine), but it’s pretty hard to bother me at a show so within the first moments I quickly forgot about the mess behind me.
Then it happened. My mind first registered the warmth of liquid gushing down my back and arm, before it recognized the sound of someone upchucking. It happened so fast. Her boy toy grabbed her and the crowd swallowed them up. The people around me gaped in shock. I was drenched. The only bright point was that it was pretty much alcohol and all liquid. No chunks, thank goodness, or I am sure I would have lost it. Still, it was warm, sticky, and you could see the strings of her bile mixed in with the alcohol running down my arm. And the smell. Yuck.
We stayed for the rest of the show, though I did lose a hoodie out of it. No need to carry that around.
The Phantom Grabber
The Handhold Switcheroo