Friday, January 15, 2010

Outdoor Concert in Park City, or ... how my fingers almost fell off from frostbite

Thousands of people assembled in a huge throng on lower Main Street in Park City last night to hear The Bravery, a hip indie rock group from New York City.

How to almost get invited to a party. If I was going to freeze, at least I had to have a great view of the concert. People were standing on the second floor of a building nearby the stage, so I headed there. It was a VIP party. The security people smiled when I walked by, and they almost let me in ... til I walked back a step, and then they said, "Oh you're not ....?" I'm unsure who exactly they thought I was, but I apparently resembled a groupie wannabe, with my British plaid cap and used but oh so coveted boots left behind by my daughter last month. (Note to self: wear that outfit again next week for the opening of the Sundance Film Festival, and skip the backwards step.)

Settling for less isn't always a bad thing. Halfway down the stairs where I stood was about 10 feet from the stage and I had an unobstructed view, except for two little girls whose parents were nowhere in sight occasionally blocked my view when they were climbing up and down the side of the stairs. My great standing spot became more commendable as the crowd below got bigger with each passing minute and the little girls left.

Warm up was an overstatement. The warm up band was Location Location. Warm up did not apply to the temperatures outside which were near frigid compared to being inside. Still it was a warm winter evening in Park City. I don't recall much about Location Location's music, since they stopped playing shortly after I arrived, but here is their website, in case anyone needs to know.

Unconditional. The anticipation built before the lead band, The Bravery, went onstage, and the crowd screamed when the group opened with one of their biggest hits, Unconditional.

Tales of the mosh pit. Immediately, the "mosh pit" began moshing wildly. For those who don't know, moshing is pushing or body slamming, but not quite cage boxing. It doesn't matter if you know your fellow moshers or not, and it looks like quite the rush, unless you bruise easily.

A gentleman and his wife who were likely older than age 60 were seeking the Park City nightlife experience to compliment their day on the slopes. Sadly, they should have gone to the Orion Music Festival a few blocks up the street, because the mosh pit had no official borders and grew by the minute to include them, or, more precisely, it surrounded them. And they could've sat indoors in a heated bar.

The man pushed the moshers away from him all evening. My guess is that the last time he went to a concert, it was either Tony Bennett or Karen Carpenter, and he had seats in the orchestra section. He had an irritated expression on his face ... "I got here first and I will be dipped in mustard breathing cockroaches before I will concede my standing room to you young morons." At some point, I may pursue a discussion of the relative merits of moshing, but not here, not now. Still, it was my assessment that in spite of the poor man's frustration at losing his spot near the front row, he could have moved away from the moshers if his personal safety was really that important to him.

Drums and no money. Before the concert, I heard a radio DJ compare The Bravery to Depeche Mode, and I could hear resemblance, although Depeche Mode is a little smoother in their instrumentation, whereas The Bravery emphasizes drums. And I like drums. Musically, the concert was as good as any of the paid concerts I have attended in the last couple of years, but without the special effects that accompany a well funded tour production. The members of the band were quite animated and connected well with the eager crowd.

You didn't learn these words studying for the GRE. After a few songs, the lead singer peppered the crowd with strings of four-letter words, but the organizers quickly told him to tone it down. And he did, well sort of (he modified song lyrics and sang his four-letter words instead). I don't go to enough of these types of concerts to know: is repetitive use of profanity now standard operating procedure for today's rock music scene? I would think sponsors would have concerns, yet I saw this situation when Nickelback and their warm up groups behaved similarly this past summer at USANA Amphitheater. It's always great to see entertainers push the envelope to get notariety, but being the neopuritan I am, I'd love to see these chaps learn a few new vocabulary words.

Another Brit boy band? The Bravery reminded me of a typical British boy band, even though they're from New York City. And they seem to have a big following in Britain, with plentiful websites where Brits can buy their CDs for a few pounds, definitely under US$5. I may buy a CD of the group myself. has used ones starting at 91 cents, which I can afford even on my restricted budget. If my car CD player worked, I can envision myself barreling down the highway on a Friday afternoon, singing along with the lead singer.

Free? really? Incidentally, the concert was sponsored in conjunction with the VISA Freestyle International World Cup January 14-16 at Deer Valley, which like the concert is free to the public.

I survived. Thanks to a pair of warm gloves and the unseasonably warm 27 degree weather, my fingers survived the chilly night. Barely. Brrrrrr ....

Disclosure: ticket price FREE

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