So last night a couple of "mint" private box seats landed in this
ole lap for the Dave Matthews Band concert at the fleet center. I figured, what
else do I gots to do on a slow Monday night, and went to see the show.
I saw the first few bunches of them when I was about 3 blocks from the arena.
At first I wasn't sure, but with each step I took closer to the show, it became
more apparent. Droves -- literally swarms of teenage girls, all uniformed in
tight-ass faded jeans, slightly flared at the bottom, fitted t-shirts and
sweaters, or other assorted gap offerings, hair pulled back in those annoying
flippity-do pony tails.
There were just so many of them. It got to the point that wherever I looked, I
couldn't help but see a burgeoning young woman, poised at the starting blocks of
crushing self-esteem issues and boy-troubles; bad-hair days and annoying verbal
trends like "it's all good" and "I'm so *all* about flannel
pajamas!" There were just so many of them, just streaming into the arena,
some in pairs, some in groups of 10 or more, but all in the same stride, with
the same look of purpose on their faces.
Bubble-gummers. Jail-bait. Whatever you want to call them, they were there en
masse, and they all had one thing in common, one mutual purpose. They were there
to fucking scream.
We shared our box with a big fat blue-jean dude (outfitted to the gills with
denim, except for a very tight Toronto blue-jays t-shirt) and his darva-esque
date, and about 12 15-16 year old girls who looked like they had all just washed
up out of Dawson's Creek, wearing different shades of the same J-crew sweater,
smacking the same flavor gum, and referring to "Dave" as though he
were a friend of their older brother. At this point, I'm still thinking:
"okay, this is not N-sync. These Chix, while young, are still somewhat
evolved from the wet-pantied pre-teens who shake and cry whenever their favorite
scurvy riddled Back-Street Boy strokes his pencil-thin
That thought was shattered the instant the lights went down. Immediately, as
if a circuit was simultaneously connected in 15,000 girls, the most piercing
sound imaginable filled the air. A high-pitched squeal that made my ears curl
and my stomach turn and my eyes water. Did you ever see "invasion of the
body snatchers" with Donald Sutherland where, at the end, the woman
approaches him after he's been snatched, and he points at her, opens his mouth,
and unleashes that "Hey, we all know you're a human" siren of a
scream? That's what is was like, from that moment until the end of the show. A
solid piercing shrill scream, ebbing and flowing, but never dissipating
"Dave" struts out on stage, mumbles something in the mike, and then
embarks on what probably was a very nice night of music. The jazz elements of
his music were there, with that Kinsley guy wailing on the fiddle and the
"can we dance with your dates" guy from animal house going house on
the sax. But I couldn't really hear it too well because of the screaming contest
that surrounded me.
For most of the 18,000 in attendance, it wasn't about Dave, or the music. It
was about them. They weren't listening to the music -- they were listening to
themselves scream at Dave and sing along with all of the words because they know
every single fucking word, and listening to each other talk about the
all-so-important drivel that absolutely had to be spoken about at that precise
moment. Wait a minute, did Dave just do that pigeon-toed dance move again??
AAAAAAHHHHHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!! Hold on a sec, did he just introduce the
drummer WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! Is he going to play "So much to say"? I
LOVE that song! EEEAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!
Okay, I realize that's what it's all about at that age. I was once that age
too. I saw Van Halen at the omni in Atlanta in 1984 when I was 14. My friend's
older brother, Paul, brought us. Paul seemed incredibly old at the time (he had,
after all, already finished college.) I remember how into the concert I was. I
kicked my legs up when diamond Dave came on stage for the "Hot for
teacher" encore. I wore a Alex-esque head scarf. I was screaming "I
got it bad, SO bad!" and air-guitaring all the way back to Paul's car in
the parking lot. But Paul had just sat there during the concert, smoking
cigarettes. He looked completely disinterested. He just sat there on the ride
home, dropped me off, and that was that. I always thought Paul was a fucking
But that was back when I was 14. I'm 30 now. when I go to a concert now, I
still want to have a good time, but I sorta want to hear the music too. I want
to see the band's performance, get a sense of its stage personality... I want to
enjoy the experience top to bottom -- the give and take with an audience, the
way the tunes are called. And, when it's a band I really love, I want them to
So I suppose the screaming thing is cool on some level, and no, I don't fault
Dave. On the way out, the masses seemed satisfied, as though they had
sufficiently registered enough screams to constitute an "amazing"
concert. The giggle streamed down the escalators and back into the VW bugs and
their junior high dramas.
As for me, I walked out, not thinking about the music, or even about Dave. I
was just trying to figure out exactly when my body was snatched and replaced
with my friend's brother Paul.
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