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Mommies shouldn't mosh

July 14, 2008

by Jen Bakken

While I enjoy a variety of styles when it comes to music, I must admit rock music is my favorite.

Though the Judds’ and the Carpenters’ greatest hits CDs are in my personal collection, so are two rock bands called Finger Eleven and Seether.

When I realized these two bands would be putting on a concert at the Taste of Minnesota, I immediately put the show on my calendar, but I had no idea who would go with me.

My oldest son would have gone to the rock show with me, but he had a baseball tournament. I secretly hoped I would find someone to go, knowing it wasn’t something to attend alone.

When I excitedly told two of my girlfriends about it, they both looked at me with confusion, laughed, and asked, “Finger Eleven. What is that?” Obviously they weren’t going to be my concert companions.

Finally, my sister and her husband told me they would like to go. I probably called them three times that day while waiting for them to pick me up. “When will you be here?” I’d ask.

It was a very hot and humid day, but this did not change our minds about going. Unfortunately, I made the decision to wear high-heel sandals.

After parking, we had to walk about a mile before reaching the Taste of Minnesota on Harriet Island in St. Paul.

Next, we walked up and down the rows of food booths and other vendors. It is funny to admit that I went to something called the Taste of Minnesota, but did not eat one thing.

My brother-in-law dared me to go on a ride that took people up high in the sky only to send them free-falling back down.

He even said he’d pay for anything I wanted while we were there if I went on the ride. The man working the ride teased me and told me I was a wimp.

“Yes, I’m a wimp, and this wimp is not going on that thing!” I told them. Just looking up in the air at the feet of the riders made my stomach uneasy.

Surprisingly, my sister and her husband did go on the ride. I watched nervously from the ground and must admit hearing my sister scream, in sheer terror, was funny, and the five minutes she spent trembling afterwards was hilarious.

We posed for a couple silly pictures, one in front of a huge inflatable rubber ducky, and another with a guy dressed as an “Uncrustable.”

Uncrustables are made by Smuckers, and are great little sandwiches for fussy kids because there is no crust and great for busy or maybe lazy parents, like me, because they are pre-made and ready to go.

Deciding we wanted a good spot for the outdoor concert, we made our way to the stage. And there we stood for what seemed like two hours.

In the hot sun, we stood crammed in like sardines waiting for the bands to start. I began to wonder if I were getting too old for this sort of thing, and all I wanted to do was sit down.

We couldn’t leave our spot to get a drink of water for fear of not being able to make our way back and losing our spots.

The first band called The Sick Puppies began to play. I really didn’t know their songs, but they were good. It was the next band I was eager to see.

When Finger Eleven took the stage, the crowd began to roar, and hands rose in the air. They were awesome and, unlike some artists, actually sounded just like they do on their CD. I almost forgot for a while how incredibly miserable I was having now stood for hours in the hot sun, in one spot, wearing high-heel sandals.

While the band played, I was even able to discard the claustrophobia I felt with sweaty strangers all around me and a crowd that seemed to stretch forever.

Suddenly, I was shoved from behind and thrown into the person in front of me. After I apologized, I turned to see who had hit me, and before I knew it, another body came at me and almost knocked me down.

Looking around, I saw a guy on his back being pushed around by hands in the audience – crowd surfing. There were bodies jumping, pushing and slamming into each other as far as I could see and we were in the middle of it all – the mosh pit.

According to Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia, “moshing” refers to the activity in which audience members at live music performances aggressively push or slam into each other and is frequently accompanied by stage diving, crowd surfing, and head-banging.

Moshing is usually done in an area in front of the stage that is referred to as the mosh pit or circle pit. Unknowingly, we had put ourselves right there – we were definitely “in the pit.”

While moshing is seen as a form of positive feedback, it has also drawn some controversy over its dangerous nature. Yes, I can attest to this. It did feel dangerous.

However, it is generally agreed that moshers are not trying to harm one another and follow a “moshing etiquette,” or pit hospitality, which promotes safety through behaviors such as immediately helping audience members that have fallen back to their feet to avoid their being trampled.

If there is such a thing as “moshing etiquette,” I sure didn’t see it, and I wasn’t about to wait and see if someone would actually help me up or allow me to be trampled.

As my sister and I exchanged nervous glances, we waited for Finger Eleven to finish its last song, and promptly made our way out of the increasingly aggressive crowd. We didn’t even stay for the third band. I was home by 8 p.m. and went straight to bed.

When I awoke the next morning, I found bruises on me. The next concert I attend will probably take place indoors and will definitely involve assigned seating.

Mommies shouldn’t mosh, or at least this one shouldn’t.