These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Soaked to the core

So a little over an hour into the Petty concert, and while he did an acoustic version of "Learning to Fly," the rain came down like crazy. The fans were screaming and it seemed to drive them even more.
I had a Duke Blue Devils cap on and thought it was a good protection from the sun earlier in the day. It served a different purpose -- keeping rain out of my glasses. But even that didn't help in the end, as the rain fell with ferocity.
Dawn wrapped the thin blanket we brought around her but that was soaked through in no time. Our clothes were clinging to our bodies, rain running down my back, into my pants, down my legs.
Petty kept playing. The electricity went out twice as a result of lightning striking somewhere near. Still, he played on. Fans were getting crazier. Lightning kept flashing and thunder kept on rumbling. I think Petty was amazed that the fans weren't leaving. I didn't see anyone bolt for the entrances, even though it was a sheet of rain falling, making things difficult to see.
Then around 10:30 he went into "Refugee." Everyone was waving their arms in the air, their clothes becoming part of their bodies. A guy next to me gave me a high five, and yelled something incoherent into my face. It was all good.
I felt my socks and tennis shoes soaked through. I could have been bare foot and it wouldn't have mattered either way.
After "Refugee" he said "I can't let you guys stand out there in the rain and continue to get wet." And the show was over. But then came the task of getting the 26,000 people out. We started the decent toward the bottom, getting a "have a safe trip" from the guy who gave me the high five.
I took off my glasses and grabbed on to Dawn's shirt. When we reached the bottom, the walkway wrapped around the pavilion, before ascending up to the top and out of the bowl.
When we got to the bottom of the grassy hill, our feet plunged into about six inches of water, which was running from the top of the bowl in torrents. Flip flops floated in the water as people lost them in their rush to get out.
We kept walking, people kept moving, I couldn't see shit (without my glasses), but we finally made it out to the top. It didn't help, since it was still pouring,and even the top, flat area of the amphitheater was flooded. We just followed the crowd. Finally, we made it to the entrance and squeezed out. Then we got stuck in a jam and we weren't moving. Then it happened. These chicks behind us decided they were going to do something interesting. They pinched my ass. Dawn said they got her too. We could here them giggling away.
When it was over, we pulled free and out to the parking lot. It took us a bit to find our car. When we did, we jumped in and had to stay in it (with the heat running to warm up) for more than an hour before we were able to leave the parking lot. The preferred parking people got out first.
So while in the car, I removed my shirt and pulled down my pants so as not to completely soak the seat. These guys in a car in front of us pulled off their pants outside the car and got in their car wearing only boxers. Some girls in a nearby car got out to check something in the trunk. They were topless. One chick even went out twice. Dawn said she was being an exhibitionist.
By the time we left the place, the rain had more or less stopped. But we took another exit out and got lost before finding our way in the Indiana back roads. A quick shower later at the hotel and all was cool with us.
However, we did have some damage to our stuff. My wallet was very wet. I had to dry out the papers inside (including the money). And Dawn's purse got wet, along with most of the stuff inside. This included our cell phones. I was highly pissed about that. They had water inside them. They were goners. Luckily we were able to replace mine with a new one (and a new contract) and Dawn got a loaner at no charge.
It was so much fun. It made me feel like a kid again. There's nothing like being at a show with tons of people, getting drenched together, and tolerating it and having just been through a great show.
Rock on, man.


Post a Comment

<< Home