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.”
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.