<$BlogRSDURL$> Spontaneous Things: Karina Sumner-Smith's Blog
Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Yes, I like making Foo puns. It amuses me. I don't know why.

So, yesterday I attended a Foo Fighters concert at Arrow Hall in the International Centre. I'd really been looking forward to this concert--one of two concerts I'm supposed to attend this summer, the other being the big R.E.M. one at the end of September. And I'd assumed that I'd have a great time.

Now I'd never been to a concert at Arrow Hall; hadn't even heard of the place, to be honest. As it turns out, it was just that: a hall. No seats, nothing. Okay, I thought. That's cool. Carly and I wandered our way up to the front near the stage, and were joined by some of Carly's friends a little later. It was pretty hot in the room, and crowded, and though I'm not really big on large crowds of people pressing in on me from all sides, I was okay with the situation.

The first opening act was ... well, an opening act. Not objectionable, but not what I'd come--and paid--to see. I had a nice view of the stage, though, even though there were some pretty tall guys all around me. It was hot, and getting hotter, but occasionally the crowd would move and nice, cool air would come in. The second opening act was better; I was enjoying their set, especially the cute backup singer. But by the end people were really pushing in on me from all sides. People knew that the Foo were coming on next, and were doing whatever they could to get as close to the stage as possible.

Now at this point I'd been standing in this hot, close crowd for something like two hours, and I'm getting uncomfortable, but having been there for two hours I didn't want to abandon my lovely good-view spot because of a few dumbass teenaged boys who wanted to work their way closer. In retrospect, I should have moved. I know that. And I knew that it was a pretty young crowd--most of the people were younger than me--and that they were excited, and that more than a few of them were on drugs and totally fucked out of their minds. (I should know--they were taking them right beside me.) And you know, all of that is pretty much okay with me, do what you want for fun, so long as no one gets hurt. Myself included.

The Foo Fighters come on stage. The crowd goes crazy. Everyone behind me tries to rush forward as hard and as fast as they can, and everyone in front of me has nowhere to go. The area in front of the stage becomes a very enthusiastic mosh pit, into which I'm slowly and not-so-gently being pushed. I become quickly separated from Carly et al, so have no protective group with me.

It's hard to explain what, exactly, happened, because I don't quite know. I could barely stay on my feet. At times, the only reason that I was still standing is that there were too many people, too many bodies, to allow me to fall all the way to the ground. I lost contact with the floor many times. I was stumbling, becoming crushed, being kicked, elbowed, scratched. I had a crowd surfing girl land on my head, wrenching my neck. I remember turning once, fighting my way standing, seeing a girl holding something and thinking, "That's my hair." I'd been wearing my glasses so I could see the stage, and the only reason I still own them, whole and uncrushed, is that at some point I managed to grab them off my face and clutch them in one fist. As soon as it was physically possible, I literally fought my way out of there. The first song was over, and the second was about halfway through. So that lasted more than five minutes, but less than ten. More than that, I can't tell you.

I think that's the closest to completely panicking I've been in a long time--if ever. Because the frightening thing was that I was totally helpless. I am not a very large person, nor a very strong one. The people around me were bigger, stronger, and didn't even notice I was there. There was nothing, nothing I could do.

Afterwards, I was shaking, covered in sweat, and feeling about one more kick away from completely losing it. I calmed down, but really only enough to mask everything I was feeling until I could deal with it later. I don't remember most of the actual Foo Fighters part of the concert, beyond those first ten minutes or so. Mentally, I had to get out of there. (Where do non-writers escape to, mentally, when they do not have stories to take them away?) By the last few songs, I felt good enough to try and enjoy the music with the rest of the standing, not-crazy people who were everywhere except the area right before the stage.

And part of me feels really bad for everyone I was with, because I'm sure that my panicked and/or mentally elsewhere self was not particularly fun to be around. Feeling like I ruined things. Feeling pretty fucking stupid, actually. And I sort of feel angry at myself for feeling that way, because fuck it all, I didn't go to a concert to be fucking tossed around by a bunch of pimple-faced losers, and why the hell should I be feeling guilty for being hurt?

Today, I hurt. All day I hurt. My knees and ankles just ache constantly, my neck and back feels totally pulled out of shape (damn girl, landing on my head), and my scalp hurts from people pulling my hair. And maybe I'm wimpy, fine, but part of me is just sitting here fuming, thinking How the fuck do I get my money back?

They were taping the concert, too. Look for the DVD.

Posted by Karina Sumner-Smith at 12:09 AM


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