As I was out in the crowd midway through the set, a big dude jumped right in my face and started screaming and banging his head.
He was uncomfortably close, and absolutely hell-bent on sharing his special moment with me.
He was probably 5 inches from my face and banging his head so much that I was having a hard time getting a good look at him, and when he slowed down the headbanging to scream in my face I realized that I didn’t know who this guy was.
All I knew was that there was a blur of teeth and spittle and breath, and none of it was pleasant.
He didn’t care who I was, he just wanted someone to direct his drunken enthusiasm at, so why not make it a complete stranger?
I’ve been drunk a whole bunch in my life, but I’ve never jumped in a stranger’s face and howled like a feral dog.
And this dude would not stop.
He disappeared for a minute, then jumped back in front of me and shrieked some more unintelligible gibberish, which is about the time that I thought to myself, “Now’s a good time to not be here anymore”.
I realize that it’s a rock concert and that people are here to let loose and have a good time, but when listening to the band is actually part of your job, interference isn’t always so great.
So I took off and sought refuge backstage.
But one fanatical fan can’t spoil my night, and I spent a good portion of the remainder of the show watching from the side of the stage.
One thing I’ve been thinking a lot about on this run so far has been the people coming to the shows.
I always watch you guys, but lately I’ve been thinking about what sacrifices people make to come out to a show.
I look out in the crowd and wonder all kinds of things, like was the ticket no big deal to buy, or was it a bit of a burden?
Did the person travel a long way to get here?
Did they miss work?
Will they have a great time and be happy they came to the show when they wake up tomorrow morning?
I hope so.
I don’t have a family, and I don’t have a normal job.
But tons of people who come to Alice In Chains shows do.
When you’re young and unencumbered by lots of adult-y things, going out to a show is easy.
As you get older, factors like kids, baby sitters, waking up early to go to work, and just generally being old and lethargic come into play.
When I look out into a crowd I see a decent amount of people in their 20’s or younger, but mainly I see people in my age range.
In other words; full grown middle-age adults.
As I’ve gotten older I can barely muster the energy or will to get off the couch to go to the kitchen, let alone a rock concert, so I have a massive appreciation and respect for people who feel like I feel now and somehow still manage to come out to a show.
I said something to Mike years ago that he still brings up from time to time.
I said that every single show they play is someone’s first time seeing them play, and someone’s last.
Every single person who comes out to a show has a story, and every single person sacrificed something to be there.
I know that, and the guys in the band know that.
So to everyone who has come to a show so far, and to all of you that will, thanks for coming out and supporting this band.
It’s very appreciated.
Just keep your unhinged headbanging and screaming at a safe distance from me when I venture out among you…