However, the opening act. A band called Soft Pack. Horrible. Horrible, horrible, horrible. A group of random misfits including two old boyfriend lookalikes and a hobbit. First of all, someone needs to tell them about microphones and amps. When sixteen-year-olds are plugging their ears, you are too loud. I know a lot of people like their punk rock loud, fast, and way off key, but I am not one of those people. Every song sounded exactly like the one before it. The lead singer was particularly self-satisfied, and with no good reason. If I can master your song on Rock Band, it's too easy. I had to feel for them, though - when they announced that it was their last song, everyone cheered.
The Crystal Ballroom is a general admission, standing-room only kind of place. In good citizen fashion, we had arrived early to secure our spot toward the front of the crowd. A few people squeezed their way up during the opening act, but it was nothing unreasonable. As soon as Phoenix took the stage, though, a huge group of kids started pushing their way up to join their friends. You want to bring a couple of friends up to join you, fine. But a dozen? They were, of course, loud, drunk, and obnoxious. Suspiciously full of energy. And proudly proclaiming, in unison, "FRESHMENNNN!"
Remember being a college freshman? Man, life was easy. Wake up, go to class (or don't, it often didn't matter), eat cereal for lunch, play flag football, go to a party, watch a movie in the lounge, sneak onto the boy's floor after hours, get busted, bake cookies for the boys' R.A. as atonement. I spent my freshman year in Seattle. It was such an adventure. I took the city bus to my part-time job downtown. I went to bonfires at Alki Beach and drank Strawberry Boone's. I learned the hard way about balancing a checkbook. I studied (really!) and got good grades and loved my classes. I worked as a' writing tutor in the library, and spent hours trying to edit the Asian students technology papers. I took step aerobics at five in the morning and ate Ben & Jerry's almost every day (I blame you, C-Store, for my freshman fifteen). I made wonderful friends. I made not-so-wonderful friends. It was absolute freedom and independence and adventure, and I hope that my children will get to have the same sort of freshman year (minus the Boone's and the overdrawn checking account, maybe). But I digress.
Back at the concert, I realized that I am officially Not Young. Not old, but I have definitely crossed beyond the boundary of reckless youth. As my toes were crushed by the spastic moshing of the young people (did you know that the youth are still moshing?), I ran a silent dialogue through my mind. At one point, I used the phrase "paid good money" to justify my indignation at their behavior. I think that's enough to prove that I'm getting old. Also to that point: I was constantly distracted by my too-tight shoes and the thought that we were going to be late for the babysitter.
Fortunately, Phoenix put on an amazing show. They sounded great (not always the case with a live performance), and most importantly, they were obviously having a blast. I'll still see shows at the Crystal Ballroom... but it might be time for the balcony.