Dave Matthews Band Concert Strikes Again

Watching the woman in a purple tank top do a rhythmical version of a snake charming dance seemed normal. What seemed out of place was the stuffed animal monkey Velcro'd to her wrist.  I said a quiet "cheers" to the woman and her Velcro'd monkey, for she was brave enough to wear it.  Then took another sip of beer and tried to enjoy the music of the Dave Matthews Band concert and the glimpses of Lake Michigan breeze floating between the thick puffs of smoke hovering in the air.  But my enjoyment was skittish and my relaxed state retreated farther away from my reach.  I became distracted by the guy in Lee jeans and a golf shirt in front of me who had been bobbing (not rhythmically) for the past half hour.  I watched a guy in a cut-off University of Illinois t-shirt passionately punch the air with each drum beat.  I watched his friend follow suit, only wearing a different color cut-off t-shirt.  I ignored the guy behind me blowing smoke at my head and tried to ignore the women in our row making constant small talk with Brandon-for they were unrelenting.  But I mostly didn't mind.

Crowds give me an anxious feeling of no longer being unique.  At a concert you just blend into the masses--a voiceless face at the mercy of one big group.  The general public gives me a sense of uneasiness. If you can get past our drunkenness and hipster dufus-ness, humanity has beautiful parts to it (extra points for you if you get the Seinfeld reference). But if you're at a concert and you're a little bit shy, you might not be able to appreciate all that humanity has to offer.  Cue: loud man announcing that he'll be relieving himself behind the restrooms due to long lines. 

Trying to distract myself from the 36,000 people belting out mumbled versions of song lyrics, I wondered why my dentist thinks I smoke.  Despite the fact that I don't smoke, ever, my dentist kept pushing the topic the last time I went in.  What is so wrong with my teeth that my dentist doesn't believe me when I say, 'I don't smoke'?  I now have developed a giant-jawbreaker-sized insecurity of my yellowing teeth.  But old habits die hard and I probably still won't floss.  Sorry dentist man. 

Then my thoughts drifted towards a man named Rodriguez and I'm confident those thoughts came because Dave Matthews Band did a cover of one of his songs at the very same instant.  A popular documentary was created about this singer/songwriter's stardom in South Africa--but the plot twists when you realize that Rodriguez had no idea he was famous.  In the US, he spent his days working blue collar jobs and quietly gave up his dream of singing.  Just watch the documentary- it's called 'Searching for Sugarman'.  

The music swirled around me and I wondered how many stories and moments of people giving up their dream filled the pavilion. When looking at humans, we're a little bit weird and gross.  But we also have these glimmers of bright moments where we show kindness and compassion. Where we assume the best. Where we ask questions.  Where we realize that disagreeing doesn't have to turn ugly. I hope my story gets interesting someday.  

Just as I forced myself to settle into the evening and pondered a soft pretzel, DMB began this song (below). Maybe it was the hazy air getting to me but my ears quickly fell in love with Long Black Veil by Lefty Frizzell. If you're in the mood for an old emotive country song- today's your lucky day! 


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