I went to a free concert with my cousin.
She's a huge Dierks Bentley fan. I was actually rather indifferent about going, but I thought she would enjoy it. And hey, free concert! She couldn't just go because it was thrown by my school and you needed a student I.D. to get in, plus one guest.
To get there we braved a monsoon that kept coming and going. Her road was completely submerged. The only reason she got out was that her family owns a suburban. Since I haven't actually driven Serafine in the rain before, I stayed off the highway as we forayed through the gale and to the light rail station. I figured we could park there for free and pay a few dollars to use it and we wouldn't have to worry about finding parking at the university.
Outside, there were people giving away promotional stuff, like pretzel M&Ms and Target gift cards and slap bracelets advertising a textbook rental site. Wait, slap bracelets? Yes. Terrible, I know. If you're going to try to bring a fad like that back, don't attempt it at a college. Go stand outside a middle school
There were only two artists on the bill: Dierks Bentley and Chingy. I don't know who thought that one up, but either they were trying to draw in a more diverse crowd or they were abusing some restricted substance.
Chingy opened. Do I have any idea what his songs were about? No. No I don't. I only caught phrases here and there, mostly involving him trying to pump up different sides of the stadium. He did have some amusing introductions to his songs, though. For one he was telling people about what they would need to get into his after party. 1. Be 18. 2. Be 21 to drink. 3. If you're a lady, bring 4, 5, 6 of your friends. Cue song. I'm sure it would make more sense if you were familiar with his work. I am not. Still entertaining, though. He also told a story about how he forgot to bring socks on the trip, so he went to Target, and while he was there, a little girl went up to him. As he looked around for her parents, he asked her what was hanging. She said that her mom said he was the guy that did some song. Then he performed that song. Are these true stories? Your guess is as good as mine. Also, one of the guys who was singing back up for him was wearing a Tootsie Pop shirt. I thought that was cool.
But not as cool as the kid in the audience who was wearing a shirt in the style of those Obama election posters that was a picture of Admiral Akbar that said TRAP underneath. Yeah, I got a picture.
After Chingy was done rapping or whatever, Dierks Bentley came on, which I found a little more bearable, but it still wasn't my favorite thing in the world. He did have a few songs that I recognized, to my pleasant surprise. They were even songs I kind of liked. I'm still not a general fan of modern country. With the exception of Taylor Swift.
One thing I did really like was how Mr. Bentley interacted with the audience. He gave a lot of high fives to the people at the front of the pit. He often held the mic out to the crowd. He borrowed a few people's baseball caps. He told us stories about when he used to live here. Apparently he grew up in this area. His parents were actually at the concert, which I thought was kind of cool. He even pointed them out to everybody at one point. That's just awesome, when you're playing a concert for a huge crowd of college kids and you invite your parents. That's love.
During some of the songs, there were people swing dancing.
I think my favorite part was while he was singing some song about love and breakups, and he was leaning close to a girl in the front row. He stopped and said, "This is kind of awkward. I don't even know your name." He held the microphone out to her and she said, "I'm Erica." "Hi, I'm Dierks. I have to go." Then he got up and moved to a different part of the stage. I found it hilarious.
Then again, I'm easily entertained.
But I think it's awesome to see a performer who knows how to interact with a crowd. When they joke and talk and give the audience a chance to shine, it energizes the audience. The more energetic an audience is, the better the entertainer is going to perform. The better they perform, the more the audience gets out of it. It's a circular dependency.
It's fascinating to see it work.
Listening to: "In the Middle" by Jimmy Eat World
Reading: Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton