I'm probably the only person you know that would drive 2 hours just to see Hootie & the Blowfish and I'm not afraid to admit it. I can't even count how many times I have seen them starting with their college days at USC. They are lowcountry boys and for the most part, I probably relate more to the lowcountry than any place I have ever lived. I just like their music.
It's always strange seeing Hootie play someplace other than South Carolina. I am so used to seeing them at the Music Farm and small venues around town. People at the Hootie shows in Charleston usually act very casual and I suppose it's because they are such a part of the scene in town... like it's no big deal to see Darius Rucker at a concert the prior week. I remember just before I moved from Charleston I went to see Blues Traveler with some friends at the Music Farm. We were standing on the balcony and I looked down and saw Darius. My friend Devin noticed him the same time I did and asked me if I wanted to meet him. You all know how I am about the celebrity hunt but I declined to be officially introduced. I've met Darius at his own shows but it just seemed too intrusive to bother him when he was out enjoying music on his own time.
The show in Indianapolis was strange. It was actually a weekend-long event called "Ribfest" which is just about as trashy sounding as you can get. There are a ton of vendors that sell BBQ and the others sell... well... beer and liquor. The layout of the place was incredibly hard to follow and it was hot. BBQ + beer & liquor + hot weather = obnoxious drunk people.
Justin and I walked around for a bit and found the tent where Rupert from Survivor: Pearl Islands was signing autographs. I must say that he was probably the nicest celebrity that I have ever met. We put a couple of dollars in his donation jar of the charity he started called "Rupert's Kids" and he said thank you then asked if I wanted an autograph. He took a picture with both Justin and myself and was just so accomodating. He really couldn't have been nicer.
We continued our walk around the park and discussed how we could not believe how much food and drinks were. Everything you bought had to be purchased with tickets. The tickets were 7 for $10 and a bottle of Coke was 3 tickets if that tells you anything! I bought a shaved ice which was cold and delicious and made my tongue turn blue which pleased me to no end. We knew that Big Head Todd & the Monsters were coming on at 6:30 so we made our way back to the VIP section to catch the show.
At this point most of the people were milling about the park so the crowd for Big Head Todd was not humongous and most seats in the VIP section were still vacant. We (kind of) met a family that was sitting in front of us. The little boy was wearing a t-shirt that said "Future Rock Star" and the little girl was wearing a t-shirt that said something about punk rock. I can't remember exactlys. The mom asked me how I knew about Big Head Todd and I told her that I had been a long-time fan and she made a comment about how many young people that were there and how she was wondering how they knew about Big Head Todd. I told her that not many of them were in the VIP section since those seats were not free and the others were... Both her kids, who were about 7-8 years old, I am guessing, knew most all of the Big Head Todd lyrics, which amused me greatly. I wondered to myself if Justin and I ever have kids, will they know the lyrics to Tori Amos and Siouxsie songs?
After BHT was over we walked around decided to grab some super-expensive food and drink. We only had a couple of tickets left and had to plan out what we were going to buy. Neither of us wanted to get any more tickets because of the ridiculous price! We managed to feed ourselves with the couple of ticket we had. It was literally BBQ fest food rationing!
Hootie was going to come on so we headed back to the VIP section. I told Justin that I wanted to go up front when they started playing so I could get some pictures. When I saw the crowd gathering I went up front and was basically the third person back. I could immediately tell the crowd was very drunk and knew that it was going to get bad. When the show started I knew I was definitely not in Charleston. These people acted like The Who was onstage! I kind of stood there in disbelief while looking around at the crowd. Perhaps I'm jaded and have just seen them so many times that I wasn't getting all fan-girly about it like everyone else. I mean, it's Hootie and the Blowfish... come on!
I started taking some pictures and it seemed that each time I tried to, this girl behind me would knock into me. At first I just turned around and she would say "oh sorry!" but then she became so obnoxious that it was really getting out of control. She was incredibly drunk and I really wanted to hurt her. She kept pushing me, leaned on me, rested her heavy-with-drunkness arms on my shoulders... I kept pushing her off of me and finally turned around told her to stay the fuck off of me. I asked her how it was that I had not touched the people in front of me yet she could not stay off of me? She looked at me with glazed over eyes and said "I don't even know what you just said!" Even the guy next to me was getting battered and had words with her. She hit me one last time so I turned around and grabbed her right arm and gave her the biggest Indian Burn that I have given anyone since the 6th grade. I looked her in the eye and said "you won't feel it now, but you'll feel it tomorrow!" She disappeared after that and I wonder if she remembered me the next day?
This incident made me think about a couple of things. First of all, why is it called an "Indian" Burn? I have discussed this with my friend Becky and we think that most Native Americans surely had other means of warfare... don't you think? Or, perhaps this is some weird custom in India that we don't know about. Half the people I work with are from India... maybe I should ask? The second thing I thought after this incident was when my friend Mark and I went to see the Sugarcubes in Atlanta in 1988. We were in the front row and this girl kept trying to pry her way between us. After pushing her away for nearly an hour, Mark finally grabbed the fleshy part under her arm, pinched it and twisted it really hard. This made her leave. I wonder why people act so stupid at concerts?
Back to Hootie...
Halfway into the show I looked back toward the seats and all I could see was a sea of people. I was wearing flip-flops and the thought of getting stepped on by drunk people didn't seem too appealing. I decided to stay put and not fight the crowd. Poor Justin was all alone but I found out later he was busy replacing me with a new girlfriend during the show and not so lonely, after all! :)
After the show I was waiting for the crowd to move and this girl pushed into me and practically knocked me over. I pushed her off of me and she turned around and said "Are you fucking kidding me, bitch, what is your problem?" I just looked at her and said "uh, you pushed me over" and she said she was knocked over... ummm, okay. My adrenaline was sky high and I really wanted to smack her but all I could imagine was Justin looking over and seeing me and this 90 lb. troll in a fight so I just decided that it was time to get the hell out of Indiana and walked away as I listened to her talk crap about me the whole way back to Justin.
I made Justin promise me that he won't ever let me go to the front of a crowd during a dunk-fest concert again...
I think that was the most traumatic Hootie show I have ever been to!
Pics from the show: http://www.flickr.com/photos/skitpero/sets/72157601838106174/