80,000 People and I Was In The Front Row Watching My 5 Favorite Bands, So Why Is THIS Photo My Favorite?
A year ago, I got a text from some friends in California about a pop punk music festival in Las Vegas. They wanted me to fly out for it. The lineup was stacked with all of these bands I loved back in the 90s and early 2000s when I lived on the west coast.
Tickets were pretty expensive. Plus there would be the flight and hotel room costs. Responsible me declined the invitation. Then a day later, he was overruled by spontaneous me. He’s much more fun.
At 3am Saturday, I woke up to catch a 5AM flight from Tampa to Vegas. So I could open the car door, I set my phone (which is inside a wallet case) on top of my car and threw my bags in the backseat. Being half awake, I made my way over the Howard Frankland to the airport and realized my phone (and ID, credit cards) were MIA. They still are. I must have left them on the roof when I left my place. With no ID, I couldn’t board my flight. With no phone, I had no tickets. I was too tired to even be angry. I went home and after accepting defeat, I remembered that I have a passport and a credit card I never use so I never store it in my wallet. I booked a one way flight and made it to Sin City in time for Day 2 of the When We Were Young Festival.
Of the hundreds of pics I snapped in Vegas of all my favorite 90s and early 2000s bands at the concert, this one is my favorite… even though there are no bands in the pic. It doesn’t show you that I was in the front row. (By the way, I didn’t use my radio pull… I got to the front row because I’m 6’4″ and that just happens.)
The photo shows the Nevada sunset over the mountains while 80,000 people are having fun. Many in the crowd were the age I was when I loved this music. But there are just as many my age mixed in. For a few hours, we all got to be like this kid again who was crowd surfing. I just turned 50 and don’t belong in a mosh pit. But until they make those DeLoreans work, concerts are as close to time travel as we get people. Yeah they’re expensive but they’re priceless.
My mother one time surprised and angered a few family members when she booked a trip by herself to see The Everly Brothers in Las Vegas. She was wheelchair bound and her health was in decline. She had a blast. When she passed about a decade ago, I doubt she had any regrets taking that trip. She came back to Maine with photos and a smile. I thought about her a lot when I booked this trip. Life is about having stories to tell. Just like she had her stories of struggling alone through airports to see her concert in Vegas, I now have the story to tell of riding a bike around my neighborhood in the dark at 4AM with a flashlight, just so I could do the same.
What happened in my home state of Maine last night really reminds us to live when we’re alive. Fortunately my family and friends in Maine are all ok. On the news this morning, I heard there are over 20 now confirmed dead. And when I was in Las Vegas at the concert in that open field, I noticed there were so many high rise casinos nearby. And we all know what happened just a few years ago in Vegas at a similar concert. But this week more than ever, I really felt those Bon Jovi lyrics, “I just wanna live when I’m alive.”
Enough fortune cookie talk. Now some pics from the concert and trip!