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I went to Bruce Springsteen at Gillette last month. It was pure heat. Incredible environment, tons of fun. But I’m not here to wax poetic about The Boss. No, I’m here to raise awareness about a very important issue that seems to go unnoticed and ignored. It’s something I’ve recently been struggling with and it was on full display at the Springsteen show. And while I know I’m far from alone in my battle with this syndrome, I feel like it’s just something that isn’t talked about enough.
I don’t know what to do with my hands at concerts.
Maybe this is something that disproportionately affects white dudes, and maybe it doesn’t even happen at every concert you go to. But it happens, and when it strikes, it legitimately impacts your level of enjoyment at the show. Nothing ruins a concert more than morphing into Ricky fucking Bobby four songs in. All of a sudden, you’re no longer locked in to the music. If it’s at like the philharmonic or something where you’re sitting, you’re fine. But at a rock concert? You can’t sit. If you sit, you’re just telling the world you used to remind the teacher she forgot to give homework. So we’re standing. Are we dancing? Kind of bobbing to the rhythm like we’re on ‘shrooms at a prog rock show? Seriously, where the hell do my hands go?
You’re staring at your hands, putting them in different places, praying to yourself that you don’t look as awkward as you feel. You wind up just shoving your hands deep in your pockets, moving to the music with your arms at your sides like a Queen’s Guard at Buckingham Palace, and you wind up looking like those giant inflatable pink condom-looking attractions that you see outside of used car dealerships and tire emporiums.
Of course, you could always make sure to have a beer on (in) hand, but what about the other hand? I could Snapchat the whole concert, which will be nice for all my friends who need a thumb workout, but I can’t manage my phone battery any better than John Farrell can manage the Red Sox, so I’d kill my battery too early on.
What vibe does “guy doing air guitar at a concert” give off? How about “guy who comes to a concert in a straightjacket?” Never been much of an air drummer but maybe I could give that a shot, too? I feel helpless. I’d bring this up with my primary care physician, but this condition is certainly above his Affordable Care Act pay grade. I need some serious specialist help with this one. At this point of my life, at 25 years old with handfuls (maybe even feetfuls) of yearly concert experiences, there seems to be no end in sight. In fact, it only seems to be getting worse.
My personal exception is Pearl Jam. When I see Pearl Jam, my hands are clenched in fists shoulder height as I lean back, belting every lyric at the top of my lungs, shouting back the word of
God Eddie Vedder. But seeing as how only like 37 percent of my concert time is at Pearl Jam, I’m going to need a solution to this problem. If you’re at House of Blues Boston tonight for the Sum 41 concert (sometimes your boy needs to get his pop-punk on), come say hi. I’ll be the guy holding a beer in both hands. .