I’m happy to report that the third time was the charm. I finally got inside the Sunshine Theatre last night after two failed attempts which you can read about here and here. Last night’s show was my first heavy metal show ever. I went straight from work, not really looking like a head-banger, but I felt relatively safe in my chunky boots and I tried really hard to wipe the smile off my face and look all dark and scary and use my long black hair to my advantage, but I still kinda stuck out. I tried to stand in the fringes and enjoy the show near the pit, on the edge of the chaos, which I enjoyed very much. But I still wanted to be incognito . . . just to be safe . . . just to avoid any rumble.

I liked the raw energy coming out of the crowd, the showmanship of the musicians, the intricacies of the music, the lighting, and the artwork. I enjoyed the fact that I remembered my earplugs. While the roadies were setting up the headliner band, whose name I can neither remember nor pronounce, we pushed as close to the stage as we could. Pretty soon Michael and I found ourselves jam-packed inside a mob. We were in the worst possible spot – the middle, mashed right up against a bunch of thick dudes with long hair and black Slayer t-shirts who were looking to start shoving and pushing and unloading all their pent-up angst by forcing a head-cracking, giant mosh pit to open up oh . . . right about where we were standing . . . I could tell they were just waiting for the band to start, waiting to get nuts. I was on-guard, but too naive to be scared.

That is, until Michael looked at me and said, “I’m spooked. Are you?” At first I thought he was joking around. Then I realized he wasn’t. Then I got scared. Then I remembered I had on some shit-kickers for boots and regained composure. I was still having trouble looking ‘dark’ enough; I could barely wipe the grin off my face, and I’m not sure why.

The first intricate chords of heavy-metal guitar music erupted with steam and smoke and lights and shit flying through the air and suddenly, I was part of a pulsing crowd, losing all sense of control of my own ability to move. There was a massive thrust forward as the weight of layers of people pressed into me. Sure enough, the group of grumbling dudes just to my right began pushing and shoving. At first, I allow myself to go limp and the shoving gets more intense and maybe even on the razor’s edge of violent, so I tense up every muscle in my body and push back HARD with everything I’ve got with my arms, my legs, my back, my neck. I get my boot ready to come down and deliver a crack in the shin at a moment’s notice and then, suddenly, all aggresiveness ends with them. I’m just moving and straining and fighting and living and part of it all.