Going big, going home | PostIndependent.com

Going big, going home

Maybe it’s my age. It could be my level of patience in crowds. Or I just have a need for more personal space.

Likely it’s a combination of all three.

After last weekend, I realized that my desire to attend packed live concerts has waned. I’m admittedly disappointed. I consider myself the kind of person who is young at heart. I’ve always enjoyed a fun party and being a social butterfly-type. That hasn’t necessarily changed, but when I think about joining thousands of people in one venue to see a concert, especially standing the entire time, I feel a bit of dread.

Now I’m definitely showing my age.

Oddly enough, it was only a few years ago I was pushing my way up to fourth row at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for a Poison concert before the Indy 500. I wanted to be as close as possible to frontman Bret Michaels, a huge crush of mine from my teenage days in the ’80s. I was also a big fan of lead guitarist C.C. DeVille.

And his hair.

I even briefly found myself on the shoulders of another fan to snap a close-up of Bret with my phone. The chances of that happening these days are highly unlikely, but at least I have the memories. I also saw Bret Michaels up close and personal during his Rock of Love tour in 2009 at the Belly Up in Aspen. The venue was packed, and there was a small scuffle between a few female fans that had to be broken up by Bret’s bodyguard, Big John.

The nickname is appropriate.

Luckily, I didn’t see any fighting at the last concert I attended, which was Rihanna in Indianapolis as my hometown city hosted the NCAA Final Four tournament. I wouldn’t say I’m a fan who follows Rihanna on a consistent basis. I do like her fashion style and the “Shine bright like a diamond, we’re beautiful like diamonds in the sky” lyrics, especially when it’s coupled with the girl power movement. “Umbrella” is also catchy, so I figured it would be fun to join my girlfriends for a girls’ night out to see her live.

Plus, the show was free.

There was definitely a buzz of excitement surrounding the Final Four activities in downtown Indy. This was a welcome environment after a contentious week in Indiana after Gov. Mike Pence signed the controversial Religious Freedom bill in a private ceremony days before the tournament. The backlash, deservedly, was harsh, and Indiana may never recover from the negativity and intolerant messaging the bill represents. Luckily, lawmakers are making efforts to change some of the bill’s language, and we will see some compromise where this legislation is concerned.

And Indiana will be once again known for Hoosier hospitality.

Rihanna was Saturday night’s entertainment, and judging by the crowd, she was a popular draw. My girlfriends and I somehow found ourselves in a section of the audience that was considerably younger than our 40-something selves. I was the designated driver, so I immediately recognized that many college-aged females in the crowd were having the kind of fun I had at that age at concerts. Beer is fun. So are pop songs. But we found ourselves feeling a bit claustrophobic as people starting pressing closer and closer together to get a better view of Rihanna on the jumbotrons.

Yes, we were that far way from the stage.

We were happy that the show was a short one and was done by 8:30 so we could find somewhere to catch the exciting Wisconsin-Kentucky match-up. Maybe I’m showing my age there. Or my preference of sitting down to watch a basketball game over standing in a large crowd at a free pop concert. We were able to walk around Indy and see much of the revelry that the Final Four tournament brought to the city. I felt proud of my hometown for hosting such a large-scale, world-class sporting event. And for the manners and hospitality people at the concert, and other venues, showed that night. The Final Four/Rihanna experience was fun, and I’m happy to have made some new memories with friends. I predict my next concert will be a bit more intimate.

Unless maybe it’s the Rolling Stones in July.

April E. Clark picked Wisconsin to win the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. So close. She can be reached at aprilelizabethclark@gmail.com.


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