|Five hours before showtime|
The performance on the stage was not particularly musical, but it was loud and it was honest and it was stirring in an intensely primal way. I was captivated in spite of my old-school music snobbery. The lead guitar was thrashing his instrument and the front man pouring out his soul. It didn’t take long for the crowd to warm up and soon we had the first crowd surfer riding over the crowd in a sea of hands, totally trusting of the thousands of strangers who were lifting him, carrying him toward the stage.
|Gus working the crowd|
The crowd was churning pretty good when Gus (Young Guns front man) called for a mosh pit. Immediately the pit formed in the middle of the crowd. People were throwing themselves into the mosh, bouncing off each other, getting knocked around and occasionally knocked down. It was rough and you could definitely get a little banged up in there, but it wasn’t angry and it wasn’t hurtful. It was a tribal expression of total abandon, surrendering to the energy pulsating from the stage and the crowd.
With the steady flow of crowd surfers, the churning mosh pit, and the band nearly self destructing on the stage it was hard to tell where the show actually was because it was everywhere...it was one huge seething mass of humanity and music and vibration, on and off the stage, feeding off each other, emotionally charged and physically bonded. It wasn’t a stage performance, it was a full immersion primordial soup experience.
Now let's get back to my beloved teenage daughter Sara and her friend Kristina, the two sixteen year-olds who got me here. Remember how important music was to you as a teenager? How the sound and the lyrics spoke to you in profound ways? Now put yourself in Sara’s shoes, at this show. This is her band and her music, the music that speaks to her very soul. This music is shaking her to the core and she is immersed in a sea of thousands who also relate intensely to this music. They get it. And they are all out of their minds, the mosh pit is churning, she is in the front row, hanging over the barricade, and Gus (front man and heart throb) is singing. To her. He is looking at her and he is pointing at her and he is singing those words she knows by heart to her! I can only imagine what that felt like for her, but I can tell you that being her father and seeing her in this moment almost brought me to tears it was so beautiful.
After the show, the girls spent way too much money on t-shirts at the "merch" tables, and we tracked down a couple of the performers including Gus. This would be the next surprise. I expected a frazzled raw nerve, a suicidal wild man. What we got instead was a gentleman who was very gracious and attentive to my 16 year old and her friend. He engaged them, listened to them, spend time with them and he gave them the experience of a lifetime.
The girls were pretty clear as the show wound down that their lives had just peaked, right there. This night was the very pinnacle of their young lives. I know there will be more to come for them, but really at that moment they were at the pinnacle and I was too, thanks to them. I think I had forgotten what a breathtaking view it can be from up there. Thank you girls…