Non-perishable canned foods in hand, we got on line to get into the venue around 6:15 for the 8 o'clock show. At around 6:30 they started letting us in, doing a half-assed search for cameras & video equipment. When I entered the actual concert hall itself, my eyes lit up at the sight before me: there are about 20 yards of pit, then about twenty-five or so rows of stadium seating. There was a small crowd of people sitting in front of the gate five feet from the stage^◊I was literally fifteen feet from Johnny's mic!
Sitting there, my friend Gina suddenly had an idea: what if we could get a Roadie to tell one of the guys to say happy birthday to our friend Stacey, whose birthday was the day before? We went up to the gate and were rudely snubbed by some loser security guards that refused to listen to us.
7:30 rolled around, and the curtain must have moved or something because suddenly a wave of people hoisted us off our feet and pushed us closer to the stage. We stood there, crammed together, for another half hour or so until Fastball came on. I'm not a Fastball fan (the only song of theirs I know, "The Way," irritates me), but they were a good live band. At that point, people were starting to mosh and crowd surf which is all fine...except none of us could really carry these massive punk rejects that suddenly decided to leap into the air. There were a few kids who were pissing the rest of us off; they would suddenly shove forward, pushing us closer to the stage, but we couldn't really move in the first place. These waves went on throughout the entire concert...even during the intermission.
Around 8:45, Fastball left and the lights came on. The hat was unbearable, and no one could even have a breather without losing his spot so close to the stage. One little worm that was starting the waves wound up next to me during the intermission. He hoisted his empty water bottle into the air, and it hit the girl next to me smack on the head. All ready pissed off, I went nuts...I turned to him, and said, "What is WRONG with you?!" He uttered a lame apology, and I said, "No, you're NOT sorry." Then the victim turned around and balled him out using some vulgar language. But his assness didn't have enough. Out of nowhere, he stared just crowding everyone^◊and crunched my feet (I was wearing open-toed sandals, not a smart move on my part). I told him I only had nine toes left and he ignored me. The second time he crunched the same foot, I lost it again, "EIGHT TOES! THANK YOU VERY MUCH, I ONLY HAVE EIGHT TOES LEFT BECAUSE OF YOU!!" He finally got the message and started harassing another section of fans.
Still only a few yards from the stage, the lights dimmed and Dave started playing an intricate piano piece, which lead into "Dizzy." The waves subsided for an instant before they became overwhelming. There were four of us in the crowd^◊Gina and Susan were able to stay relatively close to the stage, but Stacey and I got shoved back. I got knocked over and she was literally swept off her feet^◊and we just grabbed the mob of people around us to keep from falling and getting trampled.
By the second song, "Long Way Down," I yelled to Susan and Gina that we were bailing. We went out another 10 feet or so where the moshing was less intense and you actually had room to breathe.
They played the basic set list with a few very minor changes. Johnny didn't tell the traditional "Name" story^◊instead he said, "When you become famous, all it means is your nieces and nephews come up to you and ask, ^—Do you know the Backstreet Boys?'" Also, he played an improvised piece at the end of "Name" that I was unfamiliar with. There was no "Sweet Home Alabama" mixed in with "Flat Top" which is too bad...I was really interested in hearing it. "Two Days In February" was played on an electric guitar (Wayne's World fans, it's exactly the same model and color as "Excalibur"), which I really liked. Twice in the middle of the song, they just started to wail before it got soft again. The crowd really got into it.
Halfway through the show, I lost my voice. I believe in being "interactive" with the band, so I yell things back at the stage (as if they could hear me) and get really into it. The only problem was when I tried to project my voice, it cracked like a pre-pubescent high school freshman. Not like that would stop me from singing to every song (not too many people knew all of them. "Fallin' Down," one of my faves, puzzled the crowd) and being my interactive self.
Half-deaf, toes missing, and footprints on my calf, I left the venue having one of the best nights of my life.