The concert on Satuday was lovely, despite some technical difficulties at the beginning, wherein Elton John's piano pedal kept sticking, which resulted in three roadies - and at one point, Billy Joel, to the approval of the crowd - under the piano trying to fix it. So, I got the impression that they switched the program around a little, and Joel did his thing first, then John did his, then they performed together. It was very good - Joel performs his songs pretty straight (I remember this from the last concert), but John goes on wild flights of musical fancy in live performance, resulting at one point in the best rendition of Madman Across The Water that I've ever heard. Fabulous.
...Not to mention the 10 minute performance of Rocket Man. Great fun. Good light show, too.
The crowd was ...
I've never been to a real stadium show before, and so I was not prepared for the constant movement, with people getting up and moving about non-stop, but Bob tells me that's pretty par for the course. At least I am now prepared for the McCartney concert in August at FedEx stadium, which is considerably bigger than National. My friend Alice tells me that people use a song they don't care for as a chance to get another snack, or a beer - and there were snacks and beer aplenty to be had. Believe me, the wine bar at the Warner Theater has nothing - nothing! - on the array of comestibles on display at National - but, as Bob points out (and I concur), there isn't much to do for most of a baseball game except eat and drink.
Good overpriced hot dogs, though. And they have a Boardwalk Fries. I loves me some fries.
So - people moving around a lot. I can deal with that - I may hate people, but people with a plate of nachos and a lite beer are happy people, and not throwing things. Not that this crowd would be throwing much - they were mostly middle aged and middle class (not much of surprise there, eh?), so a bit more inhibited in everything except their appalling fashion sense. Hot pants and white jeans (and the kind of stuff that hides in the back of your closet because you wore it as a teenager and can't bear to throw it out) were out in force.
We were lazy and didn't stand up much - it's really not that sort of music - but I noticed a lot of other people also didn't stand much, except down on the field. Apparently, we're all lazy and old and prefer to sit and butt-dance in our seats. At the end, when they did the last song (Piano Man), everyone stood and did the concert thing of singing the last chorus without any music (I think it's required), and it was fun, and happy, and ended the evening on a high note, but to my surprise, many people had left before then.
(Uh, the ones that hadn't gotten out of their seats .)
I don't know - it seems a terrible waste of money to me to leave early, but many people did. Maybe older concert goers feel more strongly about avoiding traffic, or something. Mind you, some of the missing people had seat-hopped and snuck onto the field - they seemed to give up checking tickets after a while, and there were definitely more people on the field by the end of the concert than at the beginning.
(I hope they had a good time. I can't do that with much success unless I can wrangle my way to the very front, as I am too short to see when everyone is standing. Yes, even when the stage is up in the air.)
But some people really left the concert early. Myself, I can't imagine missing out on the last songs. That's often when fun stuff happens (the performers get a little burst of extra energy as they know the concert is coming to an end, and they often get silly, especially Joel, who is a complete ham).
One seat-hopping couple that ended up across the aisle from us provided some extra entertainment - I can only assume the guy was attending to humour his girl, since he drank several beers, and then fell asleep. Girl was unimpressed, and amused herself by waggling his head around, holding him up by his shirt, and generally messing with him.
...If I'd had a Sharpie in my purse, I'd have offered it to her. I'm sure we'd have had even more fun.
Once nice thing - for someone like me, who isn't a huge fan of crowds (I'm short; masses of people tend to make me fear a stampede), the crowd really wasn't bad. No-one near us was wearing too much cologne, and really, the only smell was of beer and sweat, which I don't mind, since it reminds me of holidays as a child in then-Yugoslavia (now Croatia). We would stay with a family who owned a boarding house (friends of my mother's - I still send them Christmas cards every year), and the Patriarch of the family, who was named Branco, would take us out on his motor boat to tour the small Mediterranean islands off the coast. We'd stop at restaurants, and the adults would drink beer, and no-one wore deodorant (at that point, I'm not sure you could even get deodorant in Communist Yugoslavia), so my memory of those warm summer nights is of the mingled smell of beer and sweat.
Just like Proust with his madelines*, but considerably more pungent.
We did have a guy sitting next to us who was, um, twitchy, but in a very cheerful and happy way - he embodied the phrase "high on life" - but I switched places with Bob at that point, as I was afraid Twitchy McTwitchpants would smack his flailing hands into my arm. Pain being a good concert-ruiner (and I tell you, I have a serious case of concert hands, despite rationing my clapping and instead "whoo-ing" until I was hoarse), I thought avoidance was good, and I hope he didn't think I thought he was crazy.
...Which I did, but he didn't need to know that.
No, all in all, for a stadium show, the crowd was pretty mellow, and now I am more prepared to deal with having to get up and let people in to the seat row multiple times during a show. The only slightly annoying thing was getting out, but even that was pretty quick, just delayed somewhat by idiot pedestrians assuming the directions of the traffic cop didn't apply to them. We got on the road in less than half an hour from the parking lot. Not bad, eh?
So yes, it was a fabulous concert. I'm looking forward to the next one. I'll be wearing my Union Jack Converse knock-offs. Oh yeah.
*Look it up.