I can officially cross “see a rock concert” off my bucket list. Just allow me a brief moment to add it…
It’s something I never had the desire to do – kind of like dog-sitting for a neighbor’s yipping Pomeranian. But to prevent sneering from all ye music/rock/live music fans, let me first defend myself by saying I’ve seen plenty of great “my style” artists in concert: Dave Matthews, Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz, Eric Clapton, Billy Joel, Elton John. I’m not completely shut off to the live music scene. You could say my last name is misleading – I’m just not a “rock” kind of girl.
Regardless, I was excited. I drove seven hours with my partner-in-crime to see the Foo Fighters in action in Council Bluffs, Iowa, per his request. I didn’t know a single song, but this is the name of the game. When you have a partner-in-crime, you must stick together through something they believe will be awesome. If you’re paired with the correct person, 95% of the time you’ll think the adventure was awesome too.
And then there’s that other 5%….
The Mid-America Center was pretty legit, and my partner-in-crime was in some state of glorified shock, which was fun to witness. As he sat “taking it in” before the show, I observed the audience. They all looked relatively normal, besides a select few. A man a few rows away was wearing ear plugs. Dork…
Finally the show began. Four shirtless, skinny men sprinted on stage. Not completely sure who these guys were, I watched in amazement. Whipping their hair around, they were doing lunges and screaming into their microphones. As the band vigorously played their guitars, skipping around stage in their skinny jeans, the whole thing became very real. Head banging was a real thing. All my life I thought it was a joke – something you only see in movies.
I needed a beer… or five. Maybe it would help muffle the sound streaming in to my ears. This was not music. This was four boys who considered playing their guitar an intense workout and I could totally see why.
Eventually the teenage dream was over and there was a break. The other opening band, Motorhead, was unable to make it due to a miraculous storm in Dallas with impeccable timing. Shucks! That stinks. In efforts to comfort, my partner-in-crime warned that the two opening bands were “much heavier” than the Foo Fighters. Cheerfully smiling, I increased my intake of alcohol. There was a good chance he was wrong.
Eventually the Foo took the stage and sounded very similar. Go ahead and squabble, but no amount of flashing lights and raising stages were going to cover the fact that this music was 1.) way too loud 2.) not very enjoyable.
Obviously I was in the minority. The crowd looked to be worshipping the lead singer. David Grohl, is it? Yes, evaluating the crowd reaction, it appeared as if Harold Camping was only a few days off this time. However, although Grohl had the hair for the part, I came to the conclusion that Jesus probably won’t need a microphone, nor will he shout out four F-bombs in one sentence. The tight jeans don’t seem his style, either.
I glanced back to see how the ear plug guy was holding up. Something about him didn’t seem so dorky this time. In fact, he looked rather intelligent. I wondered whether he’d take up an offer to get a beer at Ruby Tuesday’s across the street. There, we could hold a casual conversation about ear plugs or just sit in silence. At the time, it didn’t seem like a terrible idea.
Thankfully natured called.
In the bathroom, the concert could be heard clearly through the facility’s cement walls – even over my ringing ears. Would it be so bad to camp out in a stall until the show was over? I searched my purse for anything to utilize to prevent further hearing loss. After much debate whether tampons were appropriate, I decided against it for the sake of my partner-in-crime.
The closing was comical. Grohl held his guitar in the air and the Foo walked off stage to do the traditional let’s-waste-time-and-pretend-like-we’re-done rigmarole. It appeared as though I was the only one wishing it were true. It was 11 pm and they had been playing for 2 ½ hours. The pause lasted three times as long as any other concert and featured a video of the band drinking beer backstage.
Trust me, the video isn’t something you’ll see up for an Academy Award. There I sat downing a $10 beer with thousands of fans who actually paid to see this show, and we’re watching a video of the group drinking free beer backstage? Rip. Off.
Grohl finally returned. Much to my relief, he was holding an acoustic guitar. This lasted for two rather enjoyable songs until that wretched assistant handed him his electric and things went wild again for another hour.
Finally the Center fell silent and the lights came on. My ears hurt so bad it required a blood check to ensure the tampons hadn’t become a medical necessity.
The rest of the group seemed stoked about the concert. I was relieved they didn’t ask my opinion; partially because I didn’t want to be a buzz-kill, and partially because I couldn’t hear a thing.
Shootin’ the Wit is a column about everyday life that should never, ever be taken too seriously.