Anecdotal Evidence: Concerts: Civic-Minded (Spiritualized/Radiohead)

Excerpt from some mail sent 1998:

Thursday night, I went to see Spiritualized play at the Civic Auditorium. They were opening for Radiohead, a popular band, and that made all the difference.

In preparation for this concert, I'd borrowed a Radiohead album and listened to it. They sounded like every other alternative band. They'd sold out the Civic in two days.

When the hall doors opened, the crowd rushed towards the stage, and we rushed with them. I was surprised to see so many Spiritualized fans. The crowd crowded the stage. The security people yelled at us to sit down. People sat down, then had to get up and scoot back so that people in front of them could sit down--people took up more floor space sitting down than standing. Because people were reluctant to scoot back too far, we ended up sitting close-packed. My butt rested on a stranger's toes; each time those toes shifted, I felt it fundamentally. A girl leaned back into my side; by the time an hour had passed, I wished that I and/or she had more meat on our bones.

It was suggested that we head up to the balcony after Spiritualized's set, so as not to be in the press during Radiohead. I concurred, saying that it was borderline okay being so crowded by Spiritualized fans, but that the idea of being crushed by "stupid people" was not acceptable. A few minutes later, I would look around and notice how many Radiohead t-shirts were in evidence, shirts worn by those people around me. I wasn't surrounded by Spiritualized fans. I was surrounded by Radiohead fans who were staking out their spots early.

It occurred to me that I was an obnoxious asshole. Then again, what about all these obnoxious assholes who were between me and the stage and didn't even like Spiritualized? I would have held my head high with righteous indignation, but the press of people prevented me from straightening my spine. I thought about the word "concentration" in the phrase "concentration camp".

Spiritualized were great; they made up for everything.

After their set, we looked out at the crowd surrounding us. We didn't want to be here, but maybe getting out would be more trouble than it was worth. Then people started tunneling through the crowd. It was only going to get more crowded. I strapped my backpack onto my chest, started bulling through the crowd, using my mass to clear a path.

At one point, I encountered a very solid bank of people. I was stymied. One of them looked at me. "Heading out?" she asked. "Trying to," I said. "Well, that's okay," she said. Suddenly this group of people compressed, and there was a path through them. "Much obliged," I said, impressed. After we'd got through, they expanded, reclaimed their territory, re-solidified. I would have asked them their secret, but I doubt I could have learned it then. I was not in a stable area. I had to continue.

Eventually, we reached the edge of the crowd. I spread my arms wide and spun in a circle, revelling in space. Later, from the balcony, we watched Radiohead. I noted that the lead singer danced like a "Rockin' Flower".

Afterwards, looking for a convenient restaurant that was open late, we ended up at an IHOP. As far as I could remember, I'd never been to an IHOP before. I looked at a menu of pancake treats attributed to foreign cultures. I thought about America: a country which imports generic pop music from the U.K; a country which scans the world, and decides that pancake recipes are what's worth adopting.

I dined upon a veggie burger and applie pie, both of which were notable for their lack of texture.

Spiritualized were great. They made up for everything.

Primus at the Warfield[>>]

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