Chris Carrabba is the handsomest, most adorable man I have ever seen in person. I guess I should just end it right there. What else can you say about someone who is so adored and idolized? There is the musicianship and the raw emotion in the lyrics but ultimately it’s the personality that allows Chris (yeah we’re on a first name basis) and his band mates to have such an amazing connection with their fans.
We left home around 10 this morn. Arrived in Orlando with no problem, although there were some showers. We then rode in a circle because we saw a sign that said turn left for Disney Village which didn’t take us to the village. I have no sense of direction and am the first one to admit it. What causes that? Is it some brain defect? We ended up at the right place after circling around once – the famous carousel maneuver. Even when G and I were married we used to drive in circles a lot. I remember one time in particular, driving around and around at a campground until I finally declared, “We’re nothing but circle people. How much longer can we sustain this?”
Back to the concert -we checked with the HOB about their procedure for passing the line and were immediately seated for lunch. The gimmick is if you buy a $10 entree per person you get a “pass the line” voucher. That means you get to wait in a “better line” before everyone else. What? Exactly right. You wait longer and pay more to get in a line that will allow you to be in the front of the general admission line, so that you can be in the front getting crushed by the people who didn’t wait long in line but think they are entitled to be up front. That hasn’t changed in the 20 years since I was a frequent concert goer.
I had a penne pasta dish that was tasty. We waited outside then, sitting on the ground in the semi-shade. I felt like a bit of a tool because obviously I am old among young highschool and college kids. But they didn’t seem to care much.
There were some strange and boastful people in front of us. This plus-size gal was bragging about drinking a quart of Jack Daniels and about what having sex with a ghost would be like. A girl behind us was supposedly from Canada and made a snide comment about “kids” who make concert t-shirts. Another couple gave us a Filter magazine or something when they were finished reading it so that was cool. It sprinkled and we got appropriately sweaty and bedraggled.
Being in the front on the floor when you’re over 30 isn’t so much fun. When you’re on the 50 side of 40 I suppose it could be deemed ludicrous. You want to join in but you’re constantly aware of how ridiculous your appearance there must look to others. You don’t want to spoil anyone else’s fun but your adult concerns for safety are heightened. I think I suffered several TMAs (transient midlife attacks) which colored my enjoyment of the concert experience. I used to be young and cute and carefree! Kill me now and put me out of my aging mid-life misery.
John Ralston played a short set first. He has the acoustic singer/songwriter appeal – cute and sincere. Unfortunately the sound was muddy. Dan Bonebrake can dance convincingly while playing guitar and is just sexy. There I said it.
There was a lot of jostling/pushing during the next set by Say Anything. There were some kids near us loudly boasting that they were 20 and they only came to see Say Anything. I guess they think being 20 makes them mature and that Say Anything is radical and rebellious. They did get the crowd excited and in full push mode. I wish I could extol the virtues of having sweaty, lithe, youthful bodies jumping and bumping into me from all sides but I can’t. I went into full defense mode and mother-hen-concern while trying to look quasi-hip, placid and carefree. In between sets someone threw up behind us and the crowd surged in bone-crushing degrees to try to avoid it.
Dashboard’s appearance caused a sort of pleasant mass hysteria. There was a backlit white curtain at the beginning which silhouetted the band’s bodies and created even more excitement until the moment it lifted and 3000+ rabid fans screamed and cheered with delight. The set was pretty with a sort of Zen appeal with big Japanese paper lanterns. Chris Carrabba – gorgeous…The sound wasn’t all that great but I’m honestly trying to remember a concert I’ve ever been to where the sound has been what I wanted. (Dave Matthews Band or one of the Peter Gabriel’s concerts.)
The teenagers singing every word to every Dashboard song was truly sweet. It’s almost impossible not to sing along with Dashboard. I found myself mouthing the words so that I wouldn’t look like I wasn’t enjoying it but also wouldn’t be one of those losers who tries to pretend they’re young when they aren’t. Like the wrinkled overly-tan women who wear short skirts. ugh. The happiness and hopefulness was palpable. Even with the pushing and crowd surge it was like being in the middle of a giant group hug because everyone was so awestruck and infectiously happy. This is the inspiration and blind devotion that organized religion aims for, but rarely achieves.
E and H were lingering on the floor and John Lefler gave a roadie a pick to give to E. He said he was looking for his cousin. They bought cute red DC totebags and also t-shirts. We waited by the back where a smallish crowd was gathered reliving the concert and hoping for some one on one time. I was amazed by the way the guys can maneuver the semis through such narrow places. Eventually a couple of the guys came out and posed for pics and signed autographs. They got John Lefler and Mike Marsh to sign their totes. We waited for ages, with my grumbling and whingeing increasingly exponentially, but Chris never came out. I am a good sport but at 12:30 I started worrying about dragging myself around the office the next day.