In summary: I will never go to another music festival. I will never go into the mosh pit. And if I go to a concert with someone, we will discuss what will happen if we get separated.
The last time I went to NSSN was in 2006. At that time, I even knew even though it was all my favorite bands at the timeâ€”The Shins, Silversun Pickups and the Killers. I hadn’t even planned on going then until a friend emailed me:
How’s it going! I just bought two tickets to Live 105’s Not So Silent Night, forgetting that I can’t actually make the night of the concert (I’ll be in Dublin, Ireland :0) ). If you haven’t heard, details are here. I was going to sell them online since I think the show is going to be sold out in a little while, but feel free to let me know if you’d like them for what I paid ($114.10 for the pair).
I thought sure why not. The music of course was great. And I went with Chrisâ€”it was one week before that fateful day. We didn’t get separated, but we found ourselves squished against the grate, without room to breathe. I decided right then that I wouldn’t ever go to another festival like this again.
But then I found out that two of my favorite bandsâ€”Metric and Muse were playing at NSSN this year. And a band with a lot of buzz…Vampire Weekend. I could not pass it up after almost slapping down my cc to go see Muse in NYC at the Giants Stadium. And so we got floor tickets. But Metric’s set was short. And during AFI (the set before Muse), I couldn’t hold onto Chris anymore and let myself be swept away. I could feel the elbows behind me. The tightness of people pushing forward and backward.
At some point as I swept backward, I lost my balance and fell into a pit of people who were dancing without any intent…in a circle. I screamed, but my ear plugs were in…so I couldn’t tell if anybody heard me. But immediately two strong hands grabbed my arms and picked me up. I put my hat back on and looked around…whoever it was…was already gone into the crowd. And as I breathed again, everything was swirling around me and I nearly blacked out.
Suddenly, I was alone in a place where nobody was pushing and shoving. AFI had ended thankfully where I spent most of the set trying to protect myself. Putting my arms in front. Self-preservation that I didn’t remember that set at all. I checked my phone multiple times and texted Chris. But he didn’t reply. My frustration was mounting. My anger at all of this. Why couldn’t I hold on? Why couldn’t he? And as I glanced around, I was jealous of the couples, the friends who never got separated. At this point, I saw a friend of a friend jump forward, dance forward, so excited.
And I realized how I hated experiencing things like thisâ€”musicâ€”all by myself even if I was surrounded by thousands of fans. I wanted someone to poke, to prod, and say hey don’t you remember this song and we would remember the same memory in two separate minds and we have a shared secret smile.
I was steaming. But when Muse finally started with Resistance, I had calmed down. And I started thinking methodically. Move forward. He’s probably pinned again like what happen in 2006 and that’s why he couldn’t reach his phones (he really had two phones). So when New Born started, I found an opening and squeezed forward. I saw a head like hisâ€”curly, but not a full head of hair. I leaned forward and reached my arm out in front of two people. I tapped his headâ€”sweaty, obnoxious. He turned his head as much as he could and spotted me. His handsâ€”usually never sweatyâ€”grabbed mine and I could feel our neighbors were annoyed. But I found him, finally finally.
Earlier I had said that I wanted to be in a place where I could have personal space. But here there were arms all around me. I love Muse, but to be part of one single body moving right and left when the entire crowd felt like it…I couldn’t take it. And so we moved back…finally. And suddenly I could feel cool air. It felt good.
We stood back and listening to Starlight. Our song. And sang along.
This is where I would say that it was something I wanted to do again. But no, this I absolutely mean never again.