Comfort Zone

Awhile back, my boyfriend and I went to a 2-day rock concert in Des Moines, IA.  The first day was Friday 4:30PM, lasting until about 11PM and finished on Sunday 2PM until 10PM.  This is a type of event that draws every type of person, and truly is a culture unto itself. 

It is not for the faint of heart.

The venue at the festival that particular year was more intimate than in the previous few years, which has its good and bad points.  The 7 Flags Event Center with the capacity of 2700 was a drastic change from the prior year’s Wells Fargo Arena that could house 16,980.  Obviously, a smaller site gives you the ability to see the performers much more closely than a larger venue.  But a smaller venue can lack in amenities, so there could be a preference either way.

Ivan Moody – 5FDP

Ivan Moody – 5FDP

This year, there was no seating although between bands, some groups would become seated in circles on the floor.  (Not for me, thanks!  By the end of the last concert on Friday night, my feet were GLUED to the floor!  I know it’s cleaned in-between, but…)  There is also a smoking area outside, complete with porta-potties and there were even some games set up in that area.  But this is separate from the main entrance – once you’re in, you can leave but cannot re-enter. 

You can feel the excitement grow as the bands progress from those who may have one song playing on the radio and probably have much less stage experience than the more seasoned headliners that will be finishing up the night. 

Obviously, you want to watch bands that play songs you know.  Nonetheless, mosh pits begin early on (even to less obvious songs – the first mosh pit began to a cover of a Queen song.  Really?) and an occasional crowd-surfer clumsily made their way from the back of the crowd to the stage, where they are dismounted by Security. 

Lizzy Hale – Halestorm

Lizzy Hale – Halestorm

I’ve never had the nerve to surf my way across the crowd, because chances are I would be the one that falls and breaks my neck!  I have seen more than one instance that a particular surfer heads toward a fairly empty spot on the floor, and quickly confirms that gravity exists.  And then the blood happens!

There was more room to move around than usual this year, which is kind of nice, but the crowd does close in closer to the stage at the end of the night. 

You have to feel comfortable being in very close quarters to strangers and not mind your sweat mingling with others.  Often, the faint overpowering smell of sweat and body odor will cause you to move to a different vantage point on the floor but may, in fact, be traded for the smell of urine.  It’s not terribly bad unless it’s a huge crowd, is very hot, and very crowded. 

I am fairly short, so I hang out in that level of stagnant air below the level of where everyone else’s heads are.  Once in awhile, it’s helpful to stand on your toes and get a smell of cool, fresh air.  Otherwise, feelings of claustrophobia tend to start!   

There is a certain mob mentality that takes place during a concert – if the performer makes a motion that they would like the crowd to sway their arms from side to side, or clap to the beat, most of the crowd complies.  I find that to be a little ironic, since often in the genre of rock music there is a high level of not wanting to fit in with the norm.  Be different.  But - everyone move the same way!  Haha! 

So why would you ever subject yourself to all of this??

First, live music cannot be experienced fully except…  live.  All of the nuances add to the experience, like it or not!  Listening to a recording does not show you the guy walking past you with his 9” high green mohawk or give you the other sights and sounds of the experience.

Second, there is a primal instinct that comes out in many during a live music experience.  There is dancing (as well as plenty that stand still and look like they may be having the worst time of their life, making me question why they may be there??) from the timid to the chaotic and just plain insane.  Mosh pits afford concert-goers the ability to be a little crazy and run into /push/be aggressive toward others that in most other social situations is not acceptable.

Moshing is encouraged by the performers, as stated in Kid Rock’s Bawitdaba’s lyric: 

“Now get in the pit and try to love someone!”

I was all set to see the Five Finger Death Punch (5FDP) set and as the crowd formed, there would be a “hole” in front, or to the side of me and I would slide into that open spot.  Then there would be another…  Soon, I was less than 10 people in from the front and the concert started.  It was not long before a mosh pit began to start and since I was FRONT and CENTER, I was right in the middle!  

Carried one direction and the other at the mercy of the direction the crowd moves you - your feet are never able to gain a good footing.  Although I was QUITE proud of myself for getting such a great spot, I was OUT OF THERE!  Sometimes, I think I am tougher and more courageous than I actually am.  Ha!  I was by myself at that location, but pretty soon I could hear my boyfriend yelling above the crowd and at one point looked to my right and he was about twenty feet away.  I squeezed my way over to finish out the concert.

We ended up in a different location later on (by one of the people smelling of urine – good choice!) and near the middle, where the large mosh pit was occurring.  I took a short video of everyone churning in that circular opening during 5FDP’s Momma Said Knock You Out.  (The audio is terrible due to the loud volume, but you get the idea!)  That’s as close as I want to get.  Right on the fringe!

I love sometimes being pushed outside of my Comfort Zone – the experience and the opportunity to people-watch is enough of a reason to go to a concert!

Start to love being comfortable being uncomfortable!

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