Sunday, June 28, 2020

A Layer of Korn

I firmly believe that when you die your energy keeps going. Call it reincarnation or whatever you want, but you keep going when you die. Furthermore, I believe that the only thing that goes with you when you die is your experiences. Layer upon layer the lives you lived, the deeds you did, the people your met, the dances you danced, it all stacks up. You may not remember all the things you experienced in your past lives. In fact, you don't. But...all those layers are there no matter what. You carry them with you whether you like it or not. They are part of your energy that can never be taken away.

Some experiences, not many actually, I live and even while I'm living them I think, "I'm glad I get to add this layer." I am 38 and I went to a Korn concert for the first time. I went to get some good pictures of Korn. And typically for my life, the actual attempt to get the pictures was much more fun that getting the pictures. The journey really is more fun than the destination. And I didn't get the pictures.

Korn just started playing and there was a layer of sweaty people packed around the stage about 100 feet deep. I had no telephoto lens. The lighting was cool. The band was killing us with great songs and I was so far away that the stage was a strobe lit dot. Having never been to a concert like this I had no idea of the etiquette required to move forward towards the stage. You have to shove a lot. There was a girl behind me and I looked at her and said, "My god...I need to get closer to that stage for a good picture, how am I going to get up there?"

"You have to just shove your way up there. Hold your camera to your chest and start walking. People will get out of the way." She was right for the most part. She actually grabbed my from behind and said..."I'm with you, just keep moving forward." So move forward I did. It surprised me how many people didn't take the shoving personally. It was almost expected. Even still, I felt extremely rude just shoving my way through the crowd. Luckily with a girl behind me shoving me herself, I could sort of look at people as I was coming through and say sorry....someone else is pushing me. I would not have thought this sort of thing would be fun. But it kept occurring to me over and over that I have never experienced anything like that before. It was totally new. I like new. Hot, sweaty, pushy, shovy, loud, and bouncy....and it was all good. I was adding a new layer...and I knew it.

Shoving only gets you so far before the crowd in front of you starts shoving back. It was like a sweaty swaying ocean of people. I stood perfectly still at one point and just let the crowd push me forward and backward over and over. My feet didn't move....I was just swaying with the pressure for a few minutes. At some point a large man was passed overhead. He had the right shoving....just go over the top. I handed his black converse clad feet forward to the next bouncing fan...they didn't drop him. So even with this layer of people pushing back...I still shoved my way forward. It got very hot and very sweaty and totally claustrophobic. And it was all new and different and fun. Sardine is not a cliche here. People use that reference in all sorts of a crowded elevator....waiting at the DMV....etc... but this was the first time that using the phrase "packed in like sardines" was completely and totally apropos. For a while I stood there jammed tight on all sides with the other arms pinned at my side...looking at the other slightly bobbing heads around me layered into the can. That got old pretty quick. So I pressed on until I hit a vein of people who were throwing themselves at each other.

Somehow among the tightly packed crowd, a small open circle about 8 feet wide had formed. The purpose of this open space was to allow people who were standing in and free....not sardine run towards each other and collide...over and over again...random people just flinging themselves into the circle and crashing into other people. New experience...never done time....and I avoided it entirely. I didn't want smash into anyone. I wanted to get to the stage.

The truth of the situation finally hit me when I was about four layers away from the stage. These people did not play around. These layers were packed so tight there was just no amount of shoving that could propel me forward. Moreover, any shoving on my part was met immediately with hard shoving back. These fans were not going to give up their spots. Shove as would, I got all the shoving back and then some. I had met my limit after an hour of pressing forward. So I stood there and danced...and bounced up and down....and raised my hands up in the air...and screamed at the band to play more. All the while raising my camera over my head for some hail Mary estimated shots of the band playing their final songs. I doubt any of them came out. And I do not care. I had not just watched Korn play...I had experienced Korn playing. I had spent an hour being part of a wave of people jostling together and singing along and shoving and crashing together and passing people overhead.

I'm sure this sort of thing happens at concerts other than Korn. But I'm glad Korn was the band that let me taste this wild energy for just a bit. Their music is really good. There is a reason they have been together for sixteen years. I knew almost every song they played and enjoyed hearing them live. These guys are cool, and they play hard. And when it was all done...they are still cool. Signing autographs, letting people snap pictures, and generally being adored by their fans. I listened to them talk to their fans while they were signing the autographs and posing for the pictures...and they didn't condescend and stand there and listen....I heard them talking casually about one fans little brother...and about how cool it was that one fan was a drummer in his own band. Down to earth is a pretty good way to put it. The spent time doing what you do when you are a famous band....signing, posing, talking, and generally saying hello to your fans. And then they went to their trailer. And so did I. This was another layer that was accepted the moment it happened as being a good one to add to my many lives of experience. Fun times. Pizza in Korns trailer.

I will not exaggerate here. The band members were all over the place outside and in the trailer. I was hired by another band, Late On Thursday, to take pictures for them all night. So I just milled around with them and every time one of them got a member of Korn to agree to a picture...I took it. I met all the members of Korn while taking pictures. And to each member I felt compelled to say the same thing...."Man...I'm 38 and this was my first Korn concert......that was fucking fun!" And to this each one responded in generally the same way...."Right on...I'm glad you had a good time!" Along with this response came looks of mild amusement that were very good natured. At one point I was drinking red bull outside the trailer and there was a small gathering of what looked like groupies. I looked at the three girls and said, "My god that was wild...I got shoved around, sweat on, and almost knocked down during that show." They weren't sure how to take this...was I complaining? They just looked at me and I said, "And I fucking loved it!" Smiles lit across all of their faces and one of them put her hand up for a nice high five. She told me that I needed to get out more and go to more concerts. Agreed.

So there was Pizza in the trailer and a big icy tub of redbull and beer. I grabbed a piece of pizza and cracked open the red bull. And stood for a few minutes eating and laughing to myself that a middle aged, single dad, with a full time job.....was eating pizza with a couple members of Korn. They hardly noticed me among all the others. I had no big connection or deep conversation with anyone. I got no grand pictures. But I was there. I sucked no ass. I handed out no cards. I didn't laugh at anyones jokes or try to get in anyones good graces. But I was there. I got to see things I never saw before. I got to do things I have never done before. I hung out with a group of people that I would never normally get to see. I saw their life for a little bit. And it was cool.

What a great layer.

                  Hail Mary Over The Head Shot

 A Picture While Getting Moshed

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