Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Spring Awakening

This guy was only out for maybe 5 minutes.
A couple weeks after I took my niece to Spring Awakening for her high school graduation, I still can't get the pulse out of my head. Being an elder statesman in a crowd that hovered around 25, I felt as much a part of it and probably appreciated it more than any of their frenzied inability to be in the moment. All of the kids were in such a rush to ... I'm not sure what they were motivated to do/be. I saw many altered states, but for the most part it seemed to be a toddling crowd of wait, wait - don't start without me. It was the first night, I suppose. And the wait for an event is always ... the hardest bit.

First Night
On the first evening into night, we were right up at the main stage. My niece is super chill, and though she lives and breathes EDM (Electric Dance Music), she wasn't in a rush to see it all. We hung out at home (drank a little wine), and then moved into Soldier Field just as it was really ramping up. We moved to the front of the main stage for two of the three nights. The first night was insane. The crowd was extremely aggressive. I had to bounce more than a handful of rowdies trying to encroach our space. I'm too weathered a concert goer, crowd surfer, to allow a few punks, albeit big, to push me off of my turf.

The DJs on the first night were good. Some were needed to come up with some new ... moves? I don't know; I'm still trying to figure out the magic of EDM. What are they doing up there on the platform? Mixing sound? Creating sound? Pushing sound? It's sound, that's for sure. And some do it really interestingly, but others get caught up in a circle that they don't ever seem to be able to get out of. The sound goes low, low, low ... then up, up, up ... and then low, low, low.

The light!
The top guy of the night was Tiesto. I loved him! But he was also working in pop music, so it was familiar. He wore his ubiquitous blue and white striped shirt and got into it right away. We bounced his whole set. Feeling pretty bruised, we had to fight even more to get out of the front. We were there for 4 or 5 hours, thirsty as anything, and feeling a little like we survived a tornado. It was time to go.

For the second night, we hung back and sat in the stands to watch a pretty lackluster night of DJs. One of the groups, Pretty Lights, did have a remarkable light show. The light coming off of the stage could light whole countries in other parts of the world that I have visited. I have to admit that the thought of this crossed my mind.

A horse in the crowd!
On the last night, we went all out again ... to the front! It was by far the best night of the festival. Steve Aoki was a riot! MK, my niece, told me that his thing is big cakes. And sure enough, at one point in his performance, and he was a performer, he hurled huge sheet cakes into the crowd. We were to the right of the platform, so luckily, and who would want to spend the next couple of hours covered in cake, we weren't hit. His vibe was electric. For as many people as there were that crowded onto Soldier Field, he made the space feel intimate. Not Bono intimate (that shows where my hat is usually hung), but like it.

The last DJ was my favorite: Kaskade. He lit it up. And his energy was extremely intense. I thought that he was going to bounce his head off, he rocked so hard to his beats. The crowd was as many, but the bullying had died down after three days of beats. The scene became so much more ... fun, rather than frenzied. It was the only way to come out it.

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