For the most part, during the 1.5-hour car ride from Kutztown, she had played DJ with different burned CDs, most which skipped during songs due to the fact that she had no place to safely store them in her car and sipped her drink that was mostly cream with a touch of coffee. Mike, her best friend at college, had been silent during most of the drive, keeping his eyes on the road, and occasionally telling her something random from his life story.
They drove into the lane made of orange and yellow safety cones and paid for their parking. The lot was filled to the brim, but they found a spot in the back. The two of them got out of the car.
“Do you have the tickets?” Mike asked. She could barely see his face in the clouded orange light of the parking lot, but she could tell from his voice that he was just as excited as she was.
“They’re in here,” she said, getting a folded crinkly envelope out of her purple striped Nightmare Before Christmas purse. She preferred to keep things in her back-jean pockets, but she had also already lost 2 school ID cards that had been in her pocket, and they had only been in school for about a month. “They were a birthday present from my dad.”
Mike said nothing.
The two of them walked towards the building. Part of the it was domed, and there were a lot of windows. Through the windows, the crowds of people made a living and blurring mural. The name of the place made eerie shadows on the outside of the building under the harsh lighting.
They didn’t really have much time before the show started. There were classes and traffic. Mike had picked her up, right as her 4 pm psychology class had ended, and they were just barely on the road at 6. The show started at 8. As they got to the door, the line was barely ten people long consisting of last-minute non-cohesive stragglers in a crescendo of gratitude because they had just made it on time.
They rushed through security. The security man barely glanced through her bag, not even giving the pack of cigarettes a second glance before he handed it back to her.
The two of them followed the signs to their seats. They were so close to the stage that she could practically touch it. The arena smelled like sweat and cigarettes. It was so different from a ballet or opera in New York City, where people dressed in their most expensive clothing and the theater reeked of expensive perfume and mothballs. Instead of opera glasses and binoculars, the crowd had lighters and cups of sloshing beer.
“Is this really your first rock concert?” Mike asked.
She barely got a chance to nod when suddenly the lights went off, and the guitar riffs and drum beats started. The band on stage started playing her favorite song. The singer started singing. She remembered the first time she had ever heard this song. He sounded nothing like it did on the various scratched CDs in her car, but she loved every second of it.
The stage was chaos. The lead singer moved around and jumped so quickly. As your eyes darted in one direction towards him, he had already pranced to the other side of the stage. One second, he was at the front of the stage, slapping hi-fives and taking a quick selfie with the lucky people in the mosh pit. The next second, he was shaking his fist in the air. Under the stage lights, the sweat started dripping down his face, his eyeliner melting in uneven streaks. The crowd thrusting devil horns in the air with their hands. People were singing, the voices of the audience was a cacophony of melodious and unmelodious screams.
The song finished. She started screaming with the rest of the concert-goers.