Podium in the Pandemonium

     It was a balmy summer night in an unused field somewhere outside of Missoula Montana. The normally vacant field was flooded with a horde of punks, hillbillies, rednecks, and other assorted rock fans.  The horde was a fine-drunken-assemblage, a consortium of t-shirt sporting, jeans wearing, down-home-folks.  A heavyset man in a baggy cream colored jumpsuit stood in the middle of a brightly lit stage with three other vaguely human shapes.  The stage they were standing on was a podium in the pandemonium, and the four men were the crowd’s leaders.  
     While the crowd mulled around the tightly packed little field, the man in the grimy white jumpsuit was talking about everything he had done in the music industry.  He was listing off strange combinations of words that could have been song titles or secret code words.  Before long, most of the crowd had gone to and come back from the concession cart to buy more beer, and filtered back into the space in front of the stage.  As soon as the man in the not-so-white jumpsuit was certain that he had a captive audience, he ended his speech with these words. “Now that I’ve spent some time telling you all what I do…. I just want all of you to do what you do!"
     That was it; those last four fantastic words caused the crowd to erupt in a torrent of drunken cheers and flailing limbs.  Then an acoustic guitar began to play softly from the back of the stage, and the whole crowd fell silent, reminded of and mesmerized by their proximity to music legends.  After a moment of soft guitar strumming, the man in the sloppy white jumpsuit started to sing in the soft soothing voice a parent wuld use to sing a lullaby……

Lips bleed from the rings
All these little bruises, the little things
That promote the segregation, lead to separation
Cage and clip the wings
Little noises, the little screams
That starts the operation, conscious amputation

     Then for just a fraction of a second the crowd was taken by a strange quiet calm, the kind of calm that comes before a monsterous storm. They were all eagerly awaiting the next part of the song, and every rocker’s breath was bated.  The crowd was not disappointed. As soon as the man in the grungy white jump suit took a breath, the guitar magically changed from an easy acoustic, to a screaming electric.  Then the voice that had been singing a lullaby seconds before, took on a hard almost gravely tone, the tone of a scorned lover, bleeding from a cut deep in his heart…

Just do what you do what you do what you did to me
Now I'm stuck in between a rock and nowhere
With nothing, with no one
Just do what you do what you do what you done to me
Draw the chalk line around the scene it's over
Now it's all over

     When the acoustic tranquility was shattered by the discordant clash of heavy metal, every member of the crowd gave vent to epic roars of approval. The cacophony created by the mixture of electric instruments and the crowd’s deafening roar, was instantly transformed into an expectant hush, by a sudden change in the tone of the song.  The screaming banshee sounds of the electric guitars and  gravely dirge of the man in the dingy white jumpsuit transformed again into the soft soothing harmony of a lullaby…….

Broken heart that's lost its beat
A little boy that softly weeps
Overwhelmed with emotions
Fuse burns to explosion
Lost the forest through the trees
Little whispers, the little dreams
That sparks the recollection
Constant suffocation

    As this last verse began, the leaders of the pandemonium gathered energy around the stage.  They pulled that energy out of the exited roar of the crowd, it was so strong you could almost have reached out and grabbed a handful of it to bring home as a souvenir.  As the men on stage gathered this energy around themselves, they also released it back into the crowd.  Slowly at first, like the valve on top of a pressure cooker, and just like a pressure cooker, the energy taken from the crowd was building pressure on the stage until….

Just do what you do what you do what you did to me
Now I'm stuck in between a rock and nowhere
With nothing, with no one
Just do what you do what you do what you done to me
Draw the chalk line around the scene it's over
Now it's all over

       The man in the not-so-white jumpsuit exploded. First a series of gradual increases, then an all out eruption of screeching metal dissonance blasted outward from center of the stage to the edges of the field, inundated with raging rock fans.  Every head was banging, every fist was pumping, and an immeasurable mass of human flesh throbbed with a single pulse. The will of the band on the stage extended outward to join with that of the crowd……

I can feel my life is changing
I can feel my heart is jaded
Left the sticks, left the stones
Words don't hurt, mend the bones
I can feel my life is changing

     The crowd continued to rhythmically bounce in time with the music that came from the stage.  They were all animated by the same spirit that gave a heart beat to the pulsing drums, the same spirit that let the guitarist bleed through his instrument.  This spirit flowed through the words of the song and out the lips of the man in the sweat stained white jumpsuit. It was this spirit that captivated the hearts and minds of every rocker in attendance.  The crowd had become a living breathing organism, complete with a soul that became a palpable presence.  The crowd’s soul was focused on the coming chorus, because it could sense that the song was nearly finished…

Just do what you do what you do what you did to me
Now I'm stuck in between a rock and nowhere
With nothing, with no one
Just do what you do what you do what you done to me
Draw the chalk line around the scene it's over
Now it's all over

       The living entity of the crowd not only pulsed to the beat, but also sang along with the chorus in a single voice. The words voiced by the crowd were indistinguishable from the voice of the singer in the grungy white jumpsuit.  Their voice was filled with the same sense of betrayal that flowed from the man in the off-white jumpsuit.  For a brief moment an insignificant little field in Montana became a world of its own.  Everything that was a part of that concert became one, and everything that was outside of the field became nothing…..

We'll all erase the past and leave the pain
Cleanse the wounds and forget the name
Lost the will, ran far away
So it's all over

      The end of this song meant the end of the sharing of energy between the band and the crowd, and the end of a vacation that many had sacrificed some small part of themselves to enjoy.  The end of the song meant that this would be the last chance for anyone who was up for it to jump into the chaotic mass of flesh that pushed up against the stage like waves on a rocky shore.  The end of the concert, would mark the beginig the disorganized dash for the exit.  The beer cart would declare its last call for alcohol, and the makeshift parking lot would look something like a hive full of angry bees. No one in the crowd thought of that while the instruments screamed out the fury of a scorned heart, and the man in the soiled white jumpsuit finished shouting out his pain filled dirge…..

Spread the ash and fill the grave
Lost the time I make my way
Do what you do and go away
Now it's all over

     As the dirty-jumpsuit clad leader drew out the last syllable of the final word, his voice began to fade and blend in with the sound of the instruments. Then the guitar began to quickly fade, leaving only the slow thundering bass produced by the drummer.  When that finally stopped the little world inside that field fell eerily silent, for a split second that felt like eternity.  Then all of the instruments were suddenly resurrected for one final blast.  
     The three men, whose instruments had rose to back their leaders’ passionate proclamation, took up their tools and began to raise their music to the heavens above.  The swirling torrent of noise raised by the men on stage was reminiscent of the ruckus made by a troop of children in a kitchen banging on anything within their reach.  It was also something more, something greater. It was as if the discordant harmony was the sound of a great and powerful dragon in its death throes.  This dragon was comprised solely of the pain carried by the musicians; and it was their craft, their art, that slew the great fiery beast that had been born of their despair. 

McGills   McGills wrote
on 4/21/2011 11:06:29 AM
I love this. I clicked the title not really knowing what to expect and you blew me out of the water with this. The way you describe the music its like I can actually hear it, as if I were there. Props to you.

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this is a discription of one of the best concerts i have ever been to. this is why a nerd like me listens to hard rock and metal.
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