Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I'm SPAC'd Out

This past Sunday we went to SPAC to see the Tom Petty show. The band was amazing, and Tom was still strong at 62 years old. We sat inside, on the aisle, about twelve rows from the stage, so the visuals were fantastic. We’ve seen the last three concerts from inside seating, which is nice, because the tickets are more expensive, so you’re sitting with career guy vs. job guy out on the lawn. I will never sit on the lawn again. Nothing ruins a nice night quicker than drunken white trash stumbling around shirtless looking for a fight. Double that same sentiment when dealing with 50-year-old WT of the same description. I’m done with that in my life. But maybe that’s not all I’m done with it.

I’m 33 years old. In my 20s I loved going to DMB concerts at SPAC. Change that: I pretended to love it. I think Dave Matthews is the best band in the world, but I wouldn’t be caught dead at one of his SPAC shows now. Why? I can’t handle the carrying on, and the screaming, and the young kids, and the traffic, and the all-day tailgating. Enough already. Petty is more my speed now, so I thought. My problem here is not with the white trash on the lawn or the DMB fanatics. My problem’s with SPAC itself. I’m SPAC’d out.

It seems to me that the foremost goal of the SPAC staff is to ruin everyone’s concert experience. After paying $400.00 for Petty tickets, we had to pay ten more to park. Um, OK, I guess. At the entrance gate, we were both patted down like perps. It was really intense. On the way to our seats, we stopped to buy two waters and a bottle of Pepsi. I was so excited about drinking my ice-cold Pepsi and watching Petty on a HOT June night. But no, no, no. Ice not allowed. So we headed inside to our seats, water and sodas in hand. After showing our tickets, we were forced to put the bottled drinks into big cups. Why? They’re plastic bottles. Why do I have to pour them into cups? Is this about sneaking alcohol? You think I’m worried about sneaking shot bottles into my drink? Couldn’t I do that even easier with an open cup? OK, fine, can I get a top and straw for the cups, because I’m now carrying three open drinks through a crowd of thousands. No tops or straws. So now my drinks are sitting wide open all night while people bump, and dance, and sweat on all sides of me. Plus the soda was piss warm by song three. So much for that.

The music’s going! The crowd’s rocking! Life was good. Enter the ticket checkers with their tiny flashlights. Ma’am, you don’t need to stop me from dancing in the middle of REFUGEE to check my ticket, when I’m standing right in front of my seat. Then comes the ticket checker with the two ANGRY women, ruining everyone’s night. The concert was an hour old, and this SPAC worker finds out that these two women are sitting a row lower than they should. Nobody cares. The chairs they pirated were otherwise unsold. It wasn’t a problem, but it was. For the next thirty minutes, this woman is dragging these two concertgoers up and down dark aisles trying to locate their “actual” seats, disrupting everybody else’s time. All this and this worker couldn’t find the seats either, so the women were allowed to return to their original seats. Awful!

Then the SPAC security guards are running up and down the aisles every ten seconds like someone is about to shoot the President. Guys, relax, it can’t possibly be this serious for the fifteenth time. When security is carrying on like that, it charges people up. It can incite a riot. This is what I thought to myself as we winded out towards the exits at show's end, past a woman openly peeing on the lawn, two feet from the passing crowd. How many times can I do this same experience in my life?

I’m SPAC’d out.

Sidebar: I saw the strangest thing at the Petty show: A sign-language woman playing out the concert for the hearing impaired. She stood next to the stage with a single spotlight on her as she worked. I'm sorry, if you're deaf, you can't experience a rock concert through sign language. During the long and many guitar solos she just stood there. Couldn't she at least play an air guitar to capture the effect? Then I wondered: How does this work? Does she have to learn every word to every Petty song? What if the band changes the words as they play? Like, "she grew up in a NEW YORK town." Bands do that all the time. Sign language at a rock concert. Wow.

Read more: http://www.timesunion.com/seen-music/article/SEEN-Tom-Petty-at-SPAC-4618778.php

Brian Huba

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