Crowd Control

My Living Colour memoir got me thinking about all the concerts Fox and I have been to.  We went to all kinds of shows, even camped out all night in the cold to get tickets.  We weren’t exactly groupies (well, not all the time), but we were … dedicated.

The thing about me and Fox at concerts is this: we would always get right up front at the stage … and then at some point Fox would decide to leave, to move to the back of the room.  I wouldn’t want to surrender my excellent position, so I’d wave goodbye and meet up with her after the show.

The other thing about me and Fox at concerts is this: Fox was always right to leave when she did.  I would wave her off, and almost immediately after she left, I’d find myself suffering as the crowd went to the dark side.

Fox has crowd sense.  Better than any I’ve ever seen or heard of.  She knows just the moment before a crowd is going to turn, when the dancing fans are going to cross over into an angry feral mob, when the drugged and drunk rowdies at a party are just about ready to turn on the other guests.  She’s like some kind of dousing rod for violence.

In my last experience of not listening when Fox said it was time to move, we were at a Midnight Oil concert.  We weren’t right at the front of the stage, but we were pretty close.  She left, I stayed.  The crowd got rough instantly.  Someone started punching me in the kidneys, I guess with the idea that if I went down, I’d be out of their sight line to Peter Garrett?  I tried to move away from the puncher, but people had rushed in so close to the stage I couldn’t move much in any direction.  Then someone hit me a whole lot harder, and I fell.   And people started kicking me.

I was pretty sure I would die on that floor.  I couldn’t move myself in any way that would help me get to my knees, help me find a way to stand.  I tried pulling into a fetal position, tried to protect my face, worried about Fox finding my body after the show.

Then there was a voice in my ear:  “Come with me.”

And a man was down next to me on the floor, putting his arms around me and pulling me up.  He gave me a quick once over to make sure I was ok.  And, impossibly, I was.  He leaned in close again to shout in my ear:

“What do you want to do?  I can keep you here next to me, or I can get you out.”

“Out, please.”

Two simple words, but I had no idea how that would happen when the crowd wouldn’t let us move forward or back.  He wasn’t much concerned.  “I’m going to pick you up,” he said, “send you out over everyone’s heads.”

(It should but may not be immediately evident from my photo on the Hey page: I am what some like to call a Woman of Size.  Picking me up is hardly a casual endeavor.  Passing me over the heads of a crowd?  Um … unlikely.   I didn’t argue with him, however.  He sounded sure that he could get me out, and I wanted to go.)

He announced his plan to the people around us and then, somehow, lifted me and set me off on a kind of dead-man’s float version of crowd surfing: I didn’t have the energy to lift my feet to keep my Blundstones from slamming into people’s shoulders and heads.  I just lay there, letting all those strangers’ hands move me toward the barricade at the front of the crowd where the security guards grabbed me, put me back on my feet and walked me off to the sidelines.

You would have to do some kind of fancy mind control to convince me that was a real man in that crowd and not Divine-Intervention-made-flesh, swooping in to save my life and then disappearing.  You know, like all good guardian angels do.

After that show, I promised Fox I’d always move when she sensed the crowd’s mood shift.  At the Living Colour/stun gun concert, when Fox called time, we went up to the balcony.  As we reached the upper level, the crowd below started grabbing people and slamming them to the floor … right in the spot where we’d just been standing.



is hosted by Stacey and Ruth at Two Writing Teachers.


17 thoughts on “Crowd Control

  1. What a terrifying experience. Ugh. That was the perfect moment for a savior; glad he was there and helped you. I have a healthy respect for crowds and now rarely willingly enter into one to begin with, for fear of this exact thing, or other not-good things.


  2. You know, I have always had a fear of crowds. I would have been out of there the minute that Fox gave me the word! It’s a good thing that you had someone to lead you out this time. We are all glad about that!
    Now listen to Fox, will you?


    1. I know, I know, I should have been trusting Fox all along! And now I do. We haven’t been in a crowd like that in a long time, however. I wish she’d come with to the innauguration, though. The crowd was perfectly nice, but maybe she’d have been able to sense the better directions for us to walk when I was trying to get out of the crowd at the end of the day!


    1. I’m so grateful for the magical appearance of that man … and for all the other guardian angels who’ve stepped in to save me from less-than-good choices in my life! In fact, Memoir Mondays seem kind of like a catalogue of my bad choices. Hmm … have to think about that one a little!


  3. Oh my god. Again with the chills. How terrifying it must have been to be down on the floor. I can’t understand what would make people behave that way. It makes my stomach turn just thinking about it. I’m so glad your corporeal guardian angel swooped in.

    And as for Fox, what an uncanny ability! I’ve got chills, I tell you.

    (As for me, I mostly just avoid crowds. But your story does remind me of a few stories I have from some crowded times in France back in 1989…And now I’m realizing that was 20 years ago. Yikes.)


    1. I can’t understand the violent behavior, either. It was a Midnight Oil concert, for heaven’s sake! PG is up there singing about injustice and such like … and his fans are stomping the hell out of me? Go figure.

      As for Fox, yes, her ability is truly amazing. Happily, I’ve learned to trust it!


  4. What a story! I believe there are those times when God perhaps sends messengers to get us out of horrible situations. Like you I’m a big fan of divine intervention.


  5. Hi, Lennye, thanks for stopping by! I’ve been so lax about checking in with my slicing friends lately. Maybe now that school’s out, I’ll have more time … (Time? What’s that?) Hope the start of summer is going well for you!


  6. molly

    stunning and scary, well done. I love your description of the man getting you up from the floor, and being able to hear your words. I could almost see and hear him, even though you give us no description of him. I also like your use of “two simple words”.


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