What Happened to You?

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Metallica, Korn, Kid Rock and Powerman 5000
{ Texas Stadium }

Fri Aug 11 09:06:04 CDT 2000
Promoter: Mars Music
Security: Limited security, no
Where: Dallas, TX
When: 7/9/2000
Stage: outdoors

My girlfriend gave me Metallica tickets for my birthday this year. The concert was on July 9 at Texas Stadium in Dallas, TX. I had not been to a large rock concert for 5 or 6 years, and my girlfriend had never been to a large rock concert. I expected the usual - people in the hot sun drinking beer, being loud and having a good time. We purchased seats so we weren't near the stage at all, I know better than to try and get near the stage, or the mosh pit that's always in front of it. I was quite surprised at some of the things that went on at that concert, other things I saw just horrified me. Everything was going well until someone discovered that the Dallas Cowboys seat cushions made decent airfoils. The seat cushions were attached to each seat and boldly displayed the words "DO NOT REMOVE" on the front. Of course, they were removed and soon the stadium was filled with flying seat cushions. These cushions were fairly dense and easy to grab, and their weight allowed for a flight of 60-70 yards if thrown properly. One girl near me was hit in the temple with the corner of a flying seat cushion, her head snapped back as if someone had punched her in the face. Initially there was a delay in the south side of the stadium, where no one seemed interested in throwing cushions but Powerman 5000 fixed that with words of encouragement. After that the stadium erupted in a mass of flying objects - all kinds of loose items were flying around. After Powerman 5000 played, Lars Ulrich of Metallica came out and asked the audience to stop throwing things and to stop destroying the stadium. Sensing imminent punishment, (maybe Metallica won't play!), the crowd slowly settled down. After Kid Rock and Korn played it was Metallica's turn. We waited for them to come out but it took them nearly and hour to appear on stage. During that time the crowds patience waned and it was very apparent. It all started about 20 minutes after the last act - women on the upper level began baring their breasts for everyone below. Needless to say, this caused a great deal of excitement in the young male, 16-25 demographic. As more women bared their breasts, the group of young men grew larger and louder, and the ambient energy of the entire crowd changed. Gone was the "we're here to have fun and be loud" attitude, it was replaced by an odd impatience and longing in the group of young men, and some of the other people there developed a very cautious attitude, myself included. I looked around and noticed that the men who weren't gaping at the women baring themselves looked very serious and were watching the group of drooling men with great interest. The only people smiling were the young men, and they were smiling in a strange way. It didn't take long for the seat cushions to begin flying around again. At no time did I ever see security or police in my area checking out the group of young men, or what all the noise and cheering was about. There was a lot of marijuana use going on, which isn't really any of my concern, but I was thinking that maybe everyone should be given some just to calm everybody down. After Metallica appeared on stage everyone focused on them and there was no further trouble that I was aware of. James Hetfield of Metallica was not at the show due to an injury so they came back to Dallas on August 2 and 3 for a free concert for everyone that attended the first concert. I went to the August 2 show at the Starplex, an outside lawn-seating stadium. This time Metallica took about an hour to appear on stage and the crowd became impatient again. The problems started with women baring their breasts, again. There were about 250 young men clustered around a few young women who were baring their breasts. This happened about 15 yards from me and as soon as I saw it I remembered the incident in Central Park in NY City where a group of young men became hostile and attacked several women. The crowd of young men grew, and it began to move. It looked like a huge mutant amoeba that hungered for females. The men in the crowd began looking for other targets, other women to harass. The crowd moved my way and all the women near me moved away. Security people came running and I thought perhaps the crowd would disperse, but the security people joined the crowd. The crowd dispersed when Metallica began playing. About an hour into the show, some of the same men who were in the earlier crowd began lighting fires on the grass. The only things to burn were styrofoam and plastic cups, so that's what they burned. Never mind that styrofoam and plastic both release noxious gases into the air when burned, those guys wanted a fire. Security people put out the fires with extinguishers after 15 minutes of letting them burn. There were 3 fires that I was able to see, each one had flames that were 3-4 feet high. I'm not sure why people act the way they do, but I am sure that beer has a lot to do with it. There may not be many things worse than a large crowd who was given too much beer, or any kind of alcohol. A familiar sight around most popular bars and clubs is fighting, people drink too much and become different people, especially young men. Perhaps alcohol sales should be discontinued at concerts. If there is no effect on behavior then alcohol could be permitted again. I will be going to other concerts and I will be more alert than usual while I'm there but I'm sure it's only a matter of time before something similar to or worse than the Central Park incident happens at a concert. One more note - At the second concert, while I was watching the crowd and the fire-starters, I was quite tempted to intervene. I wanted to stamp out the fires, and I wanted to at least stop the crowd from moving around, but there was no way I was going near a crowd of young guys who had been drinking and were not displaying a shred of rationale. What worries me the most is that I had no faith that other people there would stand up as a group should anything bad happen. If a woman was being attacked or raped, I would certainly jump in to help no matter what, but I just don't think I would have much backup, if any from the rest of the crowd at the concert. I wonder what will happen should we face another WWII, or ever have the need to draft people into service for this country. Who will answer the call?

Chris Reynolds

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