In the glory days of my late teens, I could listen to metal. Now however, most of my music-listening happens while reading or coding, and hard rock and classic rock suits that mood better than metal. My ears seem to have grown out of the frequency required to appreciate good heavy metal music. Unless it’s in an environment where everyone is screaming and headbanging. I love headbanging.
That said, Metallica isn’t all that metallic music. It’s been ages since I listened to their music. But had I been in Bangalore, I certainly would have gone to the concert. Simply because I like concerts. The hours of waiting in the baking sun and humidity, the slow dehydration, the rush of large sweaty people, people who can’t sing singing along, the atmosphere thick with the smell of intoxicants, the band pulling random shenanigans, asking you to do things that would in another context seem silly, but you do it anyway, play along with their scripted act… it’s fun. And the artistes are professionals. They know how to make a crowd have fun.
No one’s denying that it’s not an ideal environment. Headbanging can cause acute pains in the neck that can take weeks to recover from. The dehydration is very real… and you can get a fever from the exhaustion. Being a lady in an environment that is possibly 80% male, most of who are intoxicated, is definitely not easy. The food’ll be overpriced. The crowds will be suffocating. It’s going to be a rush to get to the front row, and there’ll always be irksome folks around you who block your view, irritate you with their incessant singing along, conduct random conversations…. the works.
And the event in itself won’t be all that well-organized… there’ll be security lapses… burly drunk jerks all around and not a single security guard in sight.. bottlenecks in the queues… it’s not easy.
We know all this and go to concerts still. It’s an experience in itself. It’s not everyday a big act comes to town. It’s a bit like braving the crowds and queues in a pilgrim town for a few seconds of darshan. Only a bit, mind you. The inconveniences are brushed aside because the fun holds more significance.
If however, the fun doesn’t hold enough significance to you, you’re going to be one pissed soul. There’s always that one guy who doesn’t really like rock but tags along for the concert coz all his friends are going. Or coz it’s an event where you JUST HAVE TO BE THERE. And this guy enjoys the concert the least, is surprised at the amount of profanity the artistes throw around, and just WHY people all have epileptic fits around him. He makes unintentionally funny comments about the artistes or the performance. He dampens his group’s mood, but usually the “Ohmaaan, it’s Metallica/Maiden/Sabbath/DT/Blackfield” sentiment overshadows and overcomes all else. It’s fine, everyone’s been that guy at one point or the other. After which they cease being that guy coz they either start enjoying the music or they stop going to such concerts altogether. By definition, you don’t see too many such people at concerts, especially not at rock concerts.
The problem in Gurgaon was, judging by posts like this, that there were way too many of These Guys in the crowd.
It would have been nice if the band apologized personally or via video. It would have been even better had the organizers broken the news better, given more details about refunds and the like, and had better security to contain the pandemonium that ensued.
But even then, who the heck vandalizes lakhs worth of equipment that has been procured with great difficulty? How do you just get on stage like that and break apart stuff that has taken days to set up? Seriously, even factoring in possible ‘mob mentality’, it is bad behaviour. And c’mon, it’s an offense to damage property. At any concert, you know there are going to be people with cameras and camcorders or… cellphones! Did they not think even once of the consequences for their own self?
Someone on Facebook said these concert-goers were putting the gaon in Gurgaon. I’m inclined to agree.
Initially I thought the guy I linked above had a point. But thinking about it, it seems like a regular concert venue. I’m not a regular concert-goer, and would be glad for any corrections on that. And heck, nothing justifies vandalizing property. I don’t know if I should even blame DNA Networks for any glitch, because they have a good track record and it seems unlikely they organized this concert badly.
Anyway, what can I say except what I told someone in her late teens who asked me if she should go.. It’s a metal concert and not a satsang, there’ll be intoxicant drinks, intoxicant smokes, weird people in the crowd, the music is darned metal and not designed to be easy on your ears… that’s kind of the point, there’ll be a zillion bodies pushing you around, all tall and fat and sweaty. Dress sensibly, eat and drink sensibly, make sure your crowd can take care of itself. It can be a great experience if you want it to be. But this is what it is, and it’s not going to be like a Rahman or Sonu Nigam or Kay Kay concert. If you think it’s going to be miserable, just catch the concert live on YouTube or a week later on MTV and everyone is happy. Capiche?