Rant & Rave

By Carly Shoupe

Tuesday, September 28, 1999

Great time had by
all at Big Mele

THE Big Mele drew 6,000 fans -- smokers, druggies, human pin cushions, drunkards and bikini-clad young women. All in all, groups not generally considered to be the best of people!

Yet, this concert was neither wild nor extremely dangerous. Many will say that the last Big Mele of the millennium was a great experience, a place where everyone came together for great music.

Headlining the concert was the ever popular group, The Offspring, who taught the world what it was to be "Pretty Fly for a White Guy" (Probably the group's biggest hit). Before the moshing crowd laid eyes on the group, they were entertained by AFI, The Fun Loving Criminals, The Vandals, Bad Religion and a surprise appearance by NoFX. (The crowd was told they were a new group wanting a recording deal.)

This being my second concert, I learned how to avoid the "Pits" (see note). One can safely enter the crowd to a certain point, easily steering around the pits. Where you should stop is where people are no longer single beings, but have been assimilated into the Borglike mass that presses into the stage.

A point of advice, never think you can get out of the pit before it sucks you in -- once you're surrounded, you're stuck. I know this from experience.

Hoping to catch a glimpse of The Offspring while they set up, my friends Jennea, Liz and I stationed ourselves in the then-clear spot in front of the stage. We watched and cheered. I even caught a guitar pick from Bad Religion.

The Offspring ran out and began playing, and like a tsunami, 6,000 people rushed in behind us. What an adrenaline rush! (Said with sarcasm.)

I was boxed in by sweaty, shirtless men, holding on to total strangers for dear life. I managed to contact Liz and Jennea, and they wanted to get out. So did I, yet it was impossible. I had to save my pride and be brave! My reply, "NO! I'M HAVING A GREAT TIME!!"

My defenses weakening, I was slowly being assimilated, and in the moment before I got lost in the sweaty bodies for good, a security guard pulled me out in one swift motion. I got so close to the stage, I could have grabbed the ankle of the guitarist, Noodles!

In the end, I survived the 7 hours of harsh sun and bass that made all the baggy clothes in the crowd move on their own. I did leave with a slight buzz from all the secondhand smoke, and I was soaked from head to toe from the water tent.

Mary, Patrick, Jennea, Liz, and I -- also known as Cassie, Sgt. Smitty, Rachael, Samantha and Serena to a particular drunk guy -- ran into NoFX while we walked back to a condo to meet Mary's parents, and none of us knew it was them!

We believed the "new group" story! I didn't find out who they were until I read the newspaper the next day.

The exciting day ended on another up beat when we also met a member of Bad Religion (a great group with an interesting name!) that night at the Turtle Bay Hilton, and I left with a guitar pick and an autograph!

After such a great day, I'm already looking forward to the next concert!

Note: Moshing, Adj. (Ma-shing); The heathen behavior, often seen at rock concerts, of forming circles for others to run around in and punch, push, kick, and run into one another. These "Pits" often form inside large crowds of tightly packed people.

(Definition courtesy of the C. Shoupe Dictionary).

Carly Shoupe is 16 and homeschooled.

Rant & Rave is a Tuesday Star-Bulletin feature
allowing those 12 to 22 to serve up fresh perspectives.
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