Two nights ago I almost got shot.
(Nooo, I didn't forget the word "a" between got and shot...although it's usually a safe assumption)
I went to the Sounds Like Paper 2010 Drake & Hanson concert (sponsored by Ray Ban)...and the night unfolded somewhat differently than I'd imagined.
From work, I hustled ("erry day I'm hustlin'..") to the South Street Seaport on the Lower East Side (across the street from the NYU dorm I stayed in 2 years ago!) It's a nice boardwalk on Pier 17, with lots of great restaurant patios overlooking the water. (It's near Wall Street, so lots of bankers in suits floating around as well ;)
The crowd was like nothing I'd ever seen. The majority of people were there to see Drake, except for a few young girls with Hanson t-shirts. Poor things were getting smoke poofs blown into their faces. (I don't know about you, but Drake & Hanson seem like an odd line-up for a concert...the fans starkly contrast... it was almost comical.) I have both on my ipod (secrets out) so I was pretty excited regardless of the strange mix.
I somehow ended up in the middle of the (wolf)pack facing the stage. Being vertically challenged didn't help the situation, but on my tippy toes (and with the commentary of my new friend Tyrell...yup, that's his real name), there was nothing to see on stage anyway. After an hour & a half of pushing & shoving (I was late coming from work so I wasn't in the mess for that long)...all hell broke loose.
I think it was a combination of people getting restless (some had been waiting since noon!) and alcohol/substance-induced frustration that set the crowd into chaos. Fights were breaking out all over the place and NYPD's whistle blowing only added fuel to the fire. Then the battle of the bottles began! People were throwing things left, right and center. The girl infront of me was clever enough to put up her umbrella to use as a shield! The other girl beside me wasn't as lucky, & a glass bottle sliced the side of her foot. Other people got hit in the head with shoes! ("Who throws a shoe, honestly?" - Austin Powers)
People were swinging from the rafters of the patio and could have easily fallen to the pavement below with one slip of the hand. (Liquid courage can be a dangerous thing)
The worst of it all was when people on the balcony of Uno restaurant started retaliating to the hailstorm of garbage. They thought it would be a good idea to throw salt & pepper shakers, potted plants, tables & chairs! (Way to up the ante)
That's when NYPD storm trooped Uno's upper balcony and started making arrests & using metal batons on "unwilling" participants. (I don't think this is what the girls with the Hanson t-shirts had in mind...)
As the stampede of people started fleeing, my short stature become of some advantage as I was able to dart around everyone pretty quickly. It was scary & exciting all rolled into one! (Don't worry Mom & Dad...I'm safe!)
I don't think they'll be having another hip-hop star headline at the tranquil seaport anytime soon.
There's no such thing as a free lunch...or a free concert (as it turns out).