First in line
Rock concerts in the 1980's
Trevor loved being first in line. It didn’t matter where.
When he was younger, he would race from the bus to the front door of the school to be first in line.
No matter where he was he’d compete, jostle for position in order to be first in line.
Back in the 80’s rock concerts in town were a pretty big deal.
Unlike now, where celebs show so many private details of their lives on social media, being in the same room with a rock hero was as close as a fan could get.
When rock legends Rush decided to come to the Metric Centre in Halifax, Trevor had to be first in line.
That was a stick
It was such a big deal that Trevor even pretended to enjoy a fifteen minute drum solo.
How could I get bored? I was in the same room with Neil Frickin’ Peart!
(actually, it was boring as hell, but no one was going to make such a comment even then)
Given what a big deal these events were some took extreme measures.
Some would camp out overnight in the dead of winter in front of the box office at the arena in order to get the best seats. These were the people in the front row. Their cigarette lighters held aloft would be clearly seen by the entire band. These were the people who showed up in the concert footage. They got to brag about being in the front row, or there first.
These were the raving fans, the fanatics. These were the charming ones who would rewind their favorite songs, playing the hits over and over again until the cassette deck on the car ate the tape.
I usually roused myself at 5 am to go line up.
By the time I arrived, typically fifty or so people would be in front of me. People were allowed to purchase ten tickets each - so, about 500 tickets. Given that, it wasn’t that difficult to get pretty great seats a few rows back on the floor. Those seats? The ones sold to the people showing up a few hours early without sleeping on the streets went to those of us who really wanted to be part of things. We wanted to be in the mix.
Others would get their tickets from the outlet at the grocery store at the nearby mall. These tickets generally went on sale a half an hour after the box office at the arena. People who bought tickets at the mall generally sat in either the lower or upper bowls - depending on when they arrived at the box office. These were often the more casual fans of any act.
Those who suffered through sleeping on the street believed that their presence was more important. Their LOVE of the band, in their mind was more legitimate. For the fanatic, they sometimes confused how ‘connected’ they were to the band. They imagined that because they were in the front row, they were ‘better’ fans.
Some fanatics would take personal offense at any criticism of the people playing 4/4 rock and roll (or 7/8 for all you RUSH nerds out there).
They would rise up to PROTECT the integrity of their beloved band.
Having never experienced fanatical obsession to that degree, I still find this kind of defensive, fanatical obsession very strange.
Perhaps this is merely a sign that I’m old.
And, the kind of obsession that leads one to sleep in the streets for a front row seat, the kind of desperation that leads to defending people who don’t need to be defended is a bit weird to me.
Having said that, if Eddie Murphy ever visited, I would have been right there, in the front row telling all of the jokes with him. I used to know every one of his jokes by heart. Not much has changed. The next ‘concert’ I’ll attend will be Trevor Noah. We have seats in the lower bowl. Floor seats hurt my neck these days. Dang. I am getting old.
Have you ever lined up over night to get tickets to a concert?
Who would you sleep in the streets to go see live?
It’s like the old saying goes:
There is unrest in the forest, and the creatures all have fled, the maples shout OPPRESSION! and the oaks just shake their heads.