One night in 1995 I waited for that college radio hit by 4AD label darlings, Throwing Muses, to explode in front of me. The standing-room only audience was a polite wave of bodies. I saw potential for crowd-surfing in this mosh-less space. My friend had done it several times at concerts while I stood idly nearby (or far away depending on where he was in the maelstrom), holding his glasses and flannel shirt. I was tired of being the venue’s coat rack so I decided that night I was finally going to crowd-surf.
I wanted an ocean of strangers to carry me through “Bright Yellow Gun.” As soon as the song was in play, my partner-in-indie-rock-crime assembled a team of many arms and hands to hoist me into the unknown. I’d seen people float in that lazy river of bliss. Sometimes it would get a bit clumsy but looked cool against a backdrop of killer music and professional lighting.
This wasn’t stage-diving. This wasn’t circle pits like I’d experience years later when I should have known better. This seemed like a rite of passage where you trusted others who shared whatever magic was in that particular music. You were all inside the armpit of this tightly-packed speck of planet earth for a reason!
I was lifted with a deep breath and a pleasant sigh. I relaxed into the crowd and felt light. People passed me around in the uneven flow. It’s been 23 years and I remember I was wearing cut-off socks on my arms and Boy Scout uniform pants.
My moment finally happened! It lasted 45 seconds. After that, I was dropped but caught upside-down. All attempts to rise like a phoenix with red, drugstore hair dye were a bust. Who groped me? I’m done!
I was letdown that I didn’t spend 3–4 minutes in the current. Strangely I felt like I accomplished something, but I never tried again. I was back to securing others’ belongings as they began treading water, waiting for the right time to swim or sink in the live show.
(Song recommendation by K Weber)