Stories from the Pit: On the Merits of Being Squished

So this weekend I attended all three of the The Wonder Years’ 10 year anniversary shows. It was at Union Transfer in Philly, which was a pretty cool venue. Nice size, nice stage. I really liked it and would go there again in a heartbeat. ($10 parking right around the corner from the venue!)

I was really excited the first night, on Friday, because I ended up getting pushed out of the pit – didn’t feel like putting up a fight – over onto the side of the venue. I staked out a spot that was essentially in front of the barricade. Even though I was way over on the side, I could see perfectly which is great given my height.

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My spot in front of the barricade.

I hung out there for a while and there were some people moshing a little further in which I was able to join when I wanted to. It was the perfect balance, I had the space when I needed it and could also join in with the crowd.

The second day, on Saturday, we ran kinda late and I was worried my “secret” spot would be taken, but I was still good. But this night I got so excited that I had such a great vantage point that I didn’t go into the crowd at all. I barely broke a sweat. It felt odd.

I like coming home from shows, tired, sweaty, physically exhausted. This was one of the first times I came home from a show still feeling normal and clean; I didn’t like it. During the songs I was singing and jumping and pointing all by myself and it was pretty weird.

So then the last night, on Sunday, I decided I needed to be back in the pit. Sunday was the day they were playing my favorite album of the three, so we got there super early and I got a spot pretty close to the stage, but also more towards the center – away from my safety spot.

And it was the best thing ever. I felt so connected, so alive as I sang along to my favorite songs with hundreds of other people. That’s when I then realized why my spot was always empty; people didn’t really want to be there. I thought it was coveted, but came to realize that it just made things boring.

Maybe I didn’t always have a perfect view of the stage – but I realized what mattered more is that I was in a room of people who cared about this band and loved these songs as much as I did. We could’ve just popped the CD in the stereo and I think it would’ve been as electrifying experience. The fact that the band was playing them there live was just an added bonus.

I always used to value having the perfect view, taking 100 pictures to edit and Instagram the perfect one. But now that maybe my taste has changed, maybe that I’ve seen The Wonder Years 10 times, maybe because I connect more with the music, I don’t care as much about that anymore. I have like 5 photos on my phone from Sunday’s show.

What mattered more to me was getting to experience music that meant so much to me with others and getting to feel united under that experience. And getting to scream as loud as I could. That’s always fun.

So maybe sometimes the grass is always greener, but I think I’ve learned that I’d rather be squished up against a bunch of sweaty, random people, singing along to the show than have my own space. The space for me is having no space.

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