My most interesting concert experience…ever!
Music moves us. Music fills our soul. I have heard these statements for years and I do truly believe them. How it moves one, is solely up to the individual. It does not matter what the genre of music is, be it classical, electronic, rock, Christian, or country, I have been to all of them except electronic. Some people dance, sing, sway, or in my case sit and take it all in. Music may move me to tap my foot, smile, relax, or in the case of one concert fall asleep.
I bring this up as I attended my very first Kenny Chesney concert Saturday night the 30th of June. This was not my first country concert…that was Garth Brooks (who was awesome), but my first time experience “No Shoes Nation” as Kenny calls his fans. Kenny is Dawn’s favorite singer/musician so this was something she wanted me to experience in person. After seeing his show I can see why. He did put on an impressive show. As for the other acts, they were equally as impressive and the music good. This is a little odd to say coming from a person who has a wide selection of musical tastes…but always goes back to classic rock.
The concert was good, seats ok…we had a speaker in the way of our view of the center portion of the stage (something the ticket company failed to state), the facility is always great (Bronco Stadium at Mile High in Denver), the food and drink was standard stadium fare, and the people for the most part were really good. You always sit with an eclectic group of people at any concert, and this experience was no different. With that said, if I don’t see shorts/miniskirts with cowboy boots anytime soon that will be ok with me.
A little bit about me, I go to concerts because I like the person, the genre, or the lyrics to the songs. I like to sit and soak up the atmosphere, listen to the music, and watch the people. For those that know me, I do not drink alcohol. It was a decision I made a very long time ago. I did try beer and can count on one hand how many beers I did try way back in the day. Hard liqueur has never touched my lips, and have only tried a few glasses of wine (which I don’t like). People who attend concerts with me understand this and Dawn especially knows that I will more than likely sit, relax, and enjoy my time. She may dance, sway, and sing as her way to enjoy the music and I will sit and enjoy.
I have been attending concerts for 41 years. Most of them have been rock. I’ve seen ELO, Fleetwood Mac, Sammy Hagar, Cheap Trick, Blackfoot, REO Speedwagon, Firefall, Amy Grant, Michael W Smith, Chris Tomlin, Beach Boys, Air Supply, Moody Blues, April Wine, Bee Gees, Garth Brooks, Mannheim Steamroller, and many more. In the last ten or fifteen years I have not attended as many concerts as I have been attending more sporting events, like bronco, rockies, avalanche games and are currently season ticket holders to the rapids. But what happened Saturday night at the Kenny Chesney concert made me questioned our society and humanity, however also at the same time renewed my faith in people.
The concert started from Brandon Lay. A young man trying to get his start in the country music business and from my informal position sounded like he will do well. If he wanted to convert to rock, he could make it there as he infused a couple of classics into his list of songs he played. We sat and enjoyed. For the most part, people also sat and enjoyed…at least the people who were there. It was interesting to see how many people don’t come early. They only want to attend who they wanted to see and that was the final three acts. I figured this out as the stadium filled with each group getting ready to start. This was something new to me. We used to attend “Sun Day” concerts back in the day. This was a full day of music and groups. You paid for the whole day and you would come watch and listen the whole day.
The couple to our left were only interested in hearing Thomas Rhett as they left shortly after Kenny Chesney started. The couple to our right stayed till about three quarters of the Kenny concert and they left. Some people didn’t arrive until right before Kenny, Old Dominion, or Thomas Rhett…again very interesting to me.
A couple sat behind us and between the alcohol and the music it was evident they were enjoying the show. What they didn’t enjoy was my sitting. At one point during the second act the woman, who I guess to be about 24, bent down and asked if I am enjoying the music at which I responded I am enjoying the music in my way. She then went to Dawn and told her to come dance with them instead of me…Dawn said no thank you. We thought that would be the end of it, well…as we found out throughout the evening, that was something that she nor her boyfriend accepted.
Now, I know that when people get under the influence of drugs or alcohol it changes their behavior and attitude. I am no expert, but I have worked in college housing for over 22 years so you can say I do understand the differences drugs and alcohol can have on individuals. I used to ask my staff would you rather be dealing with somebody high on marijuana or drunk from alcohol…the answer is almost always somebody high. Why? Because usually people who drink too much have a tendency to become more aggressive to the point of being violent. It brings out their hidden traits or the traits they are purposefully holding back. With that being said during my people watching, it was always interesting to see the changes in people as the alcohol and/or drugs were consumed. I watched people get louder, more boisterous, braver, and have less clothes on.
Between the Brandon Lay and Old Dominion we went down to the concourse and met a couple of Dawn’s friends. We spent time talking with them, then a bathroom stop and food before heading back to our seats. When we arrived Old Dominion had already started and from what I could tell people were enjoying it…the music sounded good to me, but I again did not know any of the songs…ha ha.
We saw old and young alike at the concert. People from all areas of the region, all race of people, and styles were represented. Everybody was smiling and enjoying the cool Denver evening. The parking lots were full of people enjoying the commonality they all had with each other…country music. Barbecue grills were heating up and cornhole was as common as the barbecue grills. Flags that claimed their allegiance to “No Shoes Nation” and the beer flowed smoothly. Basically from what I could tell, everybody was having a good time.
Thomas Rhett came out and performed. You could tell he enjoyed what he was doing, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a performer smile so much during his singing. He brought his kids out and gave the fans near the stage all high fives. I, however, kept feeling somebody bump into my back during the entire set. I would turn around and see the woman and the man what looked like dancing, I found out otherwise later. I was still sitting and enjoying my time there, Dawn was too. About half way through his set, I had to stand to let a couple to our left out…at this point the couple behind me yelled near my ear “YOU STOOD UP!” So what? who cares? I sat back down and continued to enjoy the music. Every now and then I would feel something hit my head, but left it alone as I thought the couple was just dancing and enjoying their time at the concert or people were walking behind me down the row.
One thing I learned during the concert was to never go to the bathroom or get food right before the headliner comes on. I think everybody that was in the stadium had emptied into the concourse. Wow…there were a lot of people in an assortment of clothing…or lack of clothing waiting in one line or another. By this time, the concert stores had sold out of most everything except a few shirts and some “koozies” to hold one’s beer and the food vendors starting to look a little haggard. Security was running around dealing with people who consumed just a little too much, people who lost somebody around the stadium, doing inappropriate things, or just being dumb…either way they, as I found out later were the busiest out of everybody that cool Saturday evening.
Around 9:00pm Kenny comes out and the fun begins. Dawn stood up to start enjoying the music her way and I and the couple to my right sat and enjoyed the music our way. At least I thought everybody was enjoying the music…the couple behind me, specifically the woman must have determined that I needed to feel her knees in my back. For about ten minutes I proceeded to feel this woman hit me in the back and the back of the head with her knees. I can put up with a lot…I mean I raised three kids and work in college housing…so I can put up with a lot, but this was enough. I got up and because of the music had to yell and ask her to stop.
It was loud. Kenny was in good form, at least that is what I was told by Dawn. This woman looked at me and laughed. I explained again that she needed to stop kicking me in the back or she wouldn’t like the outcome. When I got done talking, her boyfriend got into my face and the next thing I know I am falling backwards toward the row below us. The woman when I wasn’t looking at her, tried to push me into the next row. Thankfully for the couple to my right and Dawn, they caught me. I proceed to yell at the woman to stop. She and her boyfriend grabbed my arm and would not let go. To get her to release my arm I had but one option…so I did. I yanked on her to get her to let go of my arm. She fell back and her boyfriend started to yell something at me…I didn’t hear the rest of his comments as the woman had given me a left hook to the right side of my face. I stumbled to my left and my neighbors grabbed me and told me to go get security at which I did. I didn’t know this at the time, but the woman tried to hit Dawn, but thankfully she saw it coming and ducked. The boyfriend attempted to push Dawn, but she again was thankful that she was prepared.
Wow…this was a first. I have never been in a fight where it came to blows. I’ve only been hit once in the face and I was 17 at the time. One thing about me, is that I will usually let things go. Forgive and forget, cast the other cheek, and revenge is mine sayith the Lord are tenets I believe in. But to have somebody not like how I choose to enjoy the concert or better yet, not like that you don’t do what they think is right was concerning and hurtful. Hmmm….I could bring politics into this one, but won’t.
Well, I found security and told them my story. At the same time, the man who was part of the couple sitting to my right also came down along with Dawn and two women who sat two rows up from us. As I found out later these two women witnessed what the couple had been doing to me. The man who ended up helping out the most who was the husband of the couple sitting to my right, I found out his name is Mike. Mike left after giving his story and brought the couple down. We were all separated, at which I did not get to hear what they said and to be honest didn’t care. I had five witnesses who saw the harassment and physical contact the woman did against me. It was at this time that I learned that what I thought was dancing in her row, she was actually rubbing her ass against the back of my head. But the knee in the back I felt and saw her do this to me when I turned my head to confront her.
Again, as I said this was a first. I have never had a confrontation like this in any way, anywhere, at any time, especially at a concert. After all the stories were given, the police and security said that we could stay and the couple who didn’t like how I was enjoying the concert had to leave. Security said that is not their policy, but the Denver Police officer said tough that is what is happening. Dawn told me later that Kenny Chesney was singing his song “Get Along” when all of this happened…the irony!
So what happened after that? We went back up, I continued to sit and enjoy the show. We had no more incidents, people left throughout the evening as it was getting late. The show ended and we waited a few minutes to let the crowds clear the ramps down. We had an easy stroll to the car, and an even easier exit from our stadium parking lot down to my sister’s house.
However, I didn’t sleep well as I tried to process what happened and what could I have done differently. Should I have stood, or danced, or swayed more? Should I have told them I don’t do that? Were these people just looking for a fight and I was their lucky victim? The bigger picture I am seeing here is a reflection of our society. People want you to do what they want or how they are doing it. If you don’t then you are treated badly, hurt, or even injured. We have lost our identity as individuals. We are too wrapped up in our phones, following this political party, movement, or group. I remember when we looked upon our human experience as individuals and celebrated each uniqueness as something wonderful. These days, if you are unique or believe in something that does not fit the norm or the other person, you are not welcomed. You may not agree my opinion and that is ok…I promise I won’t knee you in the back.
People have asked why I didn’t place charges on these people. I guess I could charge them with sexual assault and physical harassment, but why. To be honest, I would imagine they were so drunk they probably did not remember anything from that night. I do see this as sad. Sad for them as they missed out on a good show, sad for all of us that sat around them for witnessing the actions. I wanted to apologize to all of them for this incident. I am sad for Dawn as she wanted me to have a great experience. Take this experience out, and I do consider this concert as a great experience. But sad for the future of our country…if you can’t accept each of us for who we are, then we are destined to lose our identity as a person and a country.
Kenny Chesney, while he may not be the go to driving music for me, I will say he is a good entertainer. He put on a good show and yes I was impressed. So much so, I would probably go again. I’ll just ask permission from those around me if I can sit and listen…NOT!