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I was standing in line. Twenty, maybe thirty, people deep. I squinted my eyes to see what beers they had on draft while a short older woman slowly rang people up as the rest of the crowd groaned with every new beer she slowly poured. When I finally got to the front of the line, the complete concession menu was revealed. I couldn’t tell whether or not I loved or hated their two-beer limit. The love was derived from the fact that I didn’t want to spend twelve dollars on every beer I drank, and I partially knew that if I drank too much that I’d have to leave the concert (again) to go to the bathroom. But my hate for the limit festered itself in the fact that I can’t dance sober.
Upon returning to the general admission area in the back of the venue with beer spilled all over my feet, I could only see the headliner on the giant screens on either side of the stage. It was like being at a watch party for a sporting event whose team was about to win the championship on the road, but I was lucky enough to pay full price for both my tickets and the Uber surge.
As the concert wore on and none of the young people around me wanted to sit down during any point of it, my feet began to hurt a bit. I knew I was out of shape, but the harsh reality that my body wasn’t built for two opening acts and a band I thought I loved was too much for me to handle. It could’ve been the heat of the venue or my lack of sleep the night before, but my body was starting to feel a sense of tired that I had never felt before.
“Is this place always so loud?” I asked my friend to the right. Growing up, I had always gone to festivals or concerts, but it just felt like the music kept getting louder and louder as the band droned on.
An hour prior, the band had opened with some songs everyone knew. Their hits were the reason we were all there. But about halfway through their set, they began playing their new songs that either weren’t released yet or on their new album that I had yet to buy because it was exclusively streaming on some app that I had never even heard of before.
It seemed like the most opportune moment to go to the bathroom because I truly couldn’t even understand the words to the song despite the 16-year-old girls next to me attempting to scream the lyrics into my ear. As I neared the bathroom, the surface below my beer-stained shoes got stickier and stickier. I was turned off, but not as turned off as I became when I actually turned a corner and saw a line of concert-goers all waiting to relieve themselves in the same dirty trough next to the Gate C entrance.
“Great,” I thought as I could feel my bladder aging by the second. “This is just great.”
But to my surprise, the line moved faster than I thought it would. I figured people wanted to get back into the concert before they started playing their famous songs again, and I ducked away into an empty stall where I could avoid all pee fright and disgust from being shoulder-to-shoulder with a blacked out 45-year-old man who had been tailgating since noon.
As I walked back to my seating area, I thought it would be prudent to get a water before sitting back down. I felt dehydrated from drinking and standing up so much and I knew I’d thank myself for drinking another water instead of drinking another overpriced light beer.
“That’ll be $6.50,” the woman said as she handed me a 16-ounce Dasani covered in a mixture of water and dirt. “Cash only.”
I could hear the band begin to play one of my favorite songs, so I fast-walked to find everyone I’d come to the concert with. But by the time I found them in the mass of people, the song I had paid $45 to see was over and I was checking my phone to see how much longer they’d be playing for. In my head, I was hoping there was a noise ordinance that would shut down the concert by 11:30 p.m. but my hopes were high.
The music droned on while I swayed back and forth trying to appear as though I was having fun, but I constantly felt like there were a million eyes on me thinking, “Look at that old dude dancing.” Even when their “final” song came on and I half-heartedly sang the lyrics in between secretive yawns while thinking, “I really hope they don’t have an encore.”
But to my dismay, “One more song! One more song!” rang through the venue while the stage remained black. Perhaps part of me was excited to see them play more, but the thought of the traffic after leaving the concert weighed heavily on my heart. The band emerged from the side of the stage and played two more songs – both of which were hits of there’s that I completely forgot existed and evidently didn’t care about.
Leaving the venue and filtering to the exits, I could hear the people behind me excitedly boasting about how amazing they felt the show was. But all I heard over and over in my head was one single thought.
“I fucking hate concerts.” .
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