I know that in admitting this I am in danger of sounding incredibly old, but I fear the mocking less than I am afeard of the t-shirt gun that almost took my not so young life.
The sun shone down upon Emirates Stadium that June 1st in 2013, we soaked up the last of it as we sang along to Bohemian Rhapsody blasted from the sound system.
As the final notes of Mercury’s most memorable tune washed away into the early evening sun a giant Drunk Bunny bounded onto the stage from behind a skull and crossbones.
Hands rose up and forward to Drunk Bunny, cheers were offered up to him as he bounced about the stage. And as the sun began to slide behind the stadium perimeter it really began to heat up inside.
Almost as bouncy as the Bunny Billie Joe Armstrong looked none the worse for his stint in rehab and he took on that stage and the crowd for two and a half incredible hours.
I was in the mosh pit. Teengirl had insisted and in a bid to prove my agelessness I was more than happy to accompany her. It’s not like I’m new to mosh pits. But this was teengirl’s first one. I was worried, but perhaps worried is too strong a word, I think I felt more trepidation and apprehension. It’s when I look back it’s worry that I feel, but that comes from hindsight.
We could see nothing but the backs of men who seemed to be about 10 foot tall and as the the first few chords of 99 Revolutions blew from the speakers the crowd picked us up in their wave and we were pitched back and forth like ragdolls adrift at sea.
Upon the end of the song the man who was in front of me was behind me, four people further along, teengirl was two rows in front of me and to my right now. The woman I’d been bouncing off for the past 7 minutes had gone completely.
Allegedly 60,000 people filled the Emirates Stadium that June night, it felt like at least triple that amount were crammed into the mosh pit and at least half of them were hulking great sweaty men who insisted on putting their arms up. I was tempted, but reckoned it was bad form to ask them to put their smelly arms down.
At one point I seemed to be the babysitter for 3 young children who must’ve been between 8 and 10 years old and who seemed to be missing a parent or guardian. As a mother of course I felt responsible (although their own parent(s) obviously didn’t!) and when a giant crowdsurfing twentysomething almost landed on top of one of them I couldn’t help but tell him off!!
Every paragraph is just proving to you that I’m an old fuddy duddy isn’t it?
Thankfully the moshing was pretty non-violent except for small pockets throughout the crowd and teengirl and I managed quite nicely to bounce around and yet still stay together. Sometimes when the waves got particularly strong or the hands and backs around us became too claustrophobic I felt a not so small hand clasp into mine and hold on for dear life and we rode out the wave together.
We jumped and we sang. We screamed and we shouted. We danced and we were pushed all over the place. We hugged and we smiled.
Until Billie Joe brought out the big guns – the t-shirt cannon that is.
As he prepared to launch t-shirt number 3 into the crowd Billie Joe held the gun aloft and slowly fired it up into the air. The music played on behind him, the guitar screamed in slow motion even the beat of Trey’s drums seemed to slow as the people in front of us realised the t-shirt was headed our way.
I watched their hands go up, I saw their heads rise up to the sky scanning it for the shirt. I clocked the minute they saw it soaring above them and I began to move backwards before I even saw their feet move.
They moved as one hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of fans desperate to catch that t-shirt. Hands raised to the sky, heads up they surged backwards towards us.
I tried. I really tried to stay on my feet. It took mere seconds but it was long enough for me to think I could get really hurt.
I looked up as I fell and saw their backs, their arms all coming down towards me. I knew if I didn’t get up they’d trip over my feet and I’d get crushed as they came down on top of me.
And then I was on my feet.
Teengirl, all 5 foot of her, had grabbed my arm and yanked me back up on my feet before the others in front of me fell.
She’d done the sensible thing and turned round away from the crowd.
I stood next to her, holding onto her, shaking.
She grabbed me in a big hug and said: ‘See you’ve nothing to worry about me mum, I’m the one making sure you’re ok.’
And she’s got some grip on her. The next morning I had a lovely four finger and thumb bruise on my arm.
I am joking when I say I was traumatised but it did give me a really big scare. It’s taken me since June to be able to actually write this down.
PS I don’t know if it was just me but I didn’t leave the Green Day gig with my ears ringing. Made me wonder if there’s sound level rules and regs at the Emirates?
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