Last Friday, my friends and I went to see LMFAO perform at the Palestra. It was the one bright spot in my otherwise homework-ridden week, and I was excited.
I also wasn’t going to miss out on a chance to sing, “Now where my alcoholics, let me see ya hands up” out loud without being judged.
We were so excited that we headed to the concert arena as early as 7 p.m. – the concert started at 8, so we turned out to be the first few in line.
This was where the slew of problems of the night started. There was a misprint on our floor tickets, and we were almost relegated to the bleachers, but we were able to clear that up early. Inside, we were able to get the best place in the house: front row and center. All nine of us that came together were still together, so all was good.
Soon enough, the opening act, Telephoned, appeared on stage. That’s when the pushing and shoving, which had started even before the lights were dimmed, intensified.
For some inexplicable reason, there was this massive force from the crowd behind, pushing us forward, as though people who went to concerts suddenly had bodies of Play-Doh.
Obviously, we did not. And yes, we do get hurt when you elbow us in the face or drive your knee into our stomachs. And if you crush us long enough against the railing, we can suffer internal damage.
I called for the personnel of UR Concerts to stop the aggressive persistence of the people behind, and their response to me was, “It’s a concert, dude. We can’t do anything about it.”
Okay, so maybe they didn’t say “dude,” but they might as well have to add salt to the wound. It was only when I found myself gasping for air that I demanded they bring security to the scene.
To UR Concerts’ credit, after a while they did try to stop the pushing by yelling out “Yo, stop pushing!” But all attempts failed, including threats to throw people out of the arena. And this was before the concert even started.
So it was at the floor section of the LMFAO concert that mankind’s primal drive to compete for space and survival reared its ugly head.
When LMFAO finally made their long awaited appearance on stage, all hell broke loose.
“Unbearable” would not have sufficed to describe how it felt like to stand in the front row, having arms, elbows and bodies come at you from every direction. I was also insufferably short, so I saw my life flashing before my eyes.
(Yes, that was an exaggeration.)
Two of my friends had been kicked in the head by a body surfer and elbowed in the stomach by some inconsiderate being. The group had been separated, with most of us heading over to the bleachers for safety, while a brave soul or two held up the frontline.
After being nearly crushed multiple times, I weaved myself out of the crowd, feeling defeated. I was willing to give up the front row. I was willing to give up the bright spot in my week.
The way things went that night, it was surprising no one got seriously injured or trampled. UR Concerts could have planned much better, and not give excuses like “It’s a concert. We can’t do anything about it.”
They could have divided up the floor sections and limited the number of people who could enter each section. They could have had security – or the very least, better equipped personnel – to monitor and control the crowd.
At one point during Telephoned’s act, a few Coke bottles were thrown on stage, startling the dancing performer herself. When that happened, I could only hide my face in embarrassment for our school.
Not only could that have injured her, it was also very uncivilized of the crowd. If there was a policy that barred people from bringing water bottles into the arena, it was not very properly enforced.
It definitely could have been a better concert experience for me and my friends, who had been anticipating it for a while. UR Concerts’ planning left a lot to be desired.