It was 15ish years ago now I guess. Give or take a couple years. I spent a lot of my time going to see every hot alterna-music act I could. I saw some great things. Tribe Called Quest at a club called Axis that couldn't have held more than 250 people. I saw Eminem right before he blew up at a club called the Middle East that was only a little bigger than Axis. Hole at another similar club. I caught Qtip when he stage dived (dove? divd?) and got a cheap feel of Courtney Love's panties when she crowd surfed. And I did not use hand sanitizer afterwards. I got up close to the Beastie boys and was amazingly disappointed by an ego-maniacal set ending guitar solo by Billy Corgan. I lost my shirt moshing (not that asshole punching and kicking crap, just honest moshing) and got removed from a show for crowd surfing too close to the stage too many times. And snuck back in 10 minutes later.
And one hot and sunny day, I was there when Green Day made a crowd lose control. We went absolutely ape shit. It was at an outdoor venue and they still to this day have never had Rock and Roll music there again. The thing is no one got really badly hurt that I remember. Just too much youth and excitement in one place happen to cause (according to legend) 100,000 people to try to get a little closer to the stage all at once. You know, just to get a better view.
Green Day was just becoming huge with Dookie and the show had been booked before then, so the crowd was much bigger than the authorities expected. There I was mashed into the human porridge that was the crowd. Myself and a few stalwart souls I had met that day had just carved out an impressive 3 and 1/2 ft of clear ground so that the resident joint roller could work his magic. He rolled, we smoked, and Green Day came on. They were great.
In my memory it seems like the show went on for maybe 10 minutes, Billy Joe started yelling and swearing and tearing up flowers near the stage, and that's what did it. We surged. If there was ever any one thing you could point to to incite a crowd of young people, its a punk rock midget visibly tearing up grass and flowers. I mean, he was tearing flowers. How else were we supposed to react?
I remember walking and taking the train home that night, drenched in my own and other people's sweat (and God knows what else) and thinking, knowing that I had been part of something undeniably cool. Pop culturally historic, maybe.
Now, it's a decade and a half later. My wife and kids are upstairs asleep. I sit in my chair idly watching the VMA's knowing I should be getting ready for tomorrow morning. Fulfilling my stay at home duties and making my family happy. As far as substances are concerned, I have had maybe a case of beer total in the last 2 plus years.
But Green Day is on. So I stop to watch. And Billy Joe Armstrong looks like Liza Minelli. The drummer Tre' Cool looks like Jeff Daniels. I look like a chubby middle aged Jew. What the fuck happened?
Doesn't really matter though. That thing they did with all the people on the stage was really cool. They still rock. And so do I. I am a hardcore stay-at-home dad and my family loves it.
I love you family. You make me feel like a rock star. And not just because I stage dive on the babies.
Husband, Daddy, Homemaker Man
P.S. Classy, classy Beyonce', right?