I’m about to tell you a story that I’ve only ever told two people.
It’s a little bit embarrassing.
(Okay, a lot bit embarrassing.)
But because I love you dearly, I’ve decided it’s time to come clean and tell you the truth:
I went to a Rob Zombie Concert… and I cried.
I’m not talking tears of overwhelming joy at being able to see Rob Zombie—I’m no groupie—I’m talking full on panic attack, hysterical tears… at a Rob Zombie concert.
Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?
To begin with, it probably sounds strange that I, a shoe-loving, Mormon high school English teacher would even end up with Rob Zombie tickets. When I announced that I was going to the concert on Facebook, most of my friends laughed and didn’t believe me. The ones that did believe me could barely contain their shock.
Confession: I love Rob Zombie. I know he’s not the most uplifting character, but I love the music and just try and avoid his songs that are especially dark.
It started when I was in grade 7. A couple of times a week we had these “elective” periods where we would rotate through a variety of classes like shop, music and Legos. (Seriously.) In the Lego class, where we had to follow instructions and build complex structures, my teacher loved having music on in the background.
And one day he played Dragula by Rob Zombie. I fell in love with it immediately.
Flash forward 10 years, and the Hubster discovers that I have not only heard of Rob Zombie, but actually sort of like his music. One thing led to another, and he saw that he was coming to Toronto and bought three tickets: one for him, his friend, and me.
In the days leading up to the concert, I was really excited. We hadn’t been to a concert in years, and I have always loved going to them. His friend drove in from out of town, and off we went.
The concert was being held at a venue I hadn’t ever heard of before. I’ve really only ever attended concerts at the Air Canada Centre, which has lovely rows and seats that scale up so that regardless of where you are, you can see the stage.
(Sometimes the people on it are just reeeeeeeeeeally tiny.)
We punched the address into our GPS, and as we got closer I felt like we were entering the setting for the perfect horror film: the hall was down by the docks, the streets were poorly lit, and it was in a heavily industrial neighbourhood. It was really creepy, but I was so excited to go that I tried not to dwell on it.
We were really early, so we bundled up and got in line.
As I watched the line-up lengthen, I was really surprised by the… uhm, variety of people I saw there. I honestly expected to look a little out of place, but mingled in with the fishnets and black make-up were a lot of other ordinary people in jeans and t-shirts.
Once the doors opened, we slowly made our way inside and I noticed the first problem…
There were no seats.
I was staring at a giant, empty, one floored room with a stage at one end, a bar to the side and a “store” or sorts at the back. I quietly nudged the Hubster:
Me: “Umm… where are the seats?”
Him: “…there aren’t any.”
His friend: “Yup! Just lots of room for dancing!!”
I was not happy about the arrangement, but luckily I had worn semi-comfortable shoes and standing for several hours wouldn’t be a huge issue.
…except for the fact that I was a little 5’5” girl in a sea of enormous guys and girls in tall boots. We started off way in the back, but as the first opening band started to play I realized that I couldn’t see a thing. The Hubster had told me that the last Rob Zombie concert he went to was almost more of a show than just a concert—complete with a giant dancing robot—so I wanted to make sure that I could at least see the stage.
So, I did what any inexperienced Rob Zombie concert go-er would do: I started edging forward. The Hubster warned me against getting too close, but I was so determined to see that I pushed forward. At that point the crowd was just a sea of bopping heads, so I thought, “what the big deal?”
As the second opening band took the stage the whole room surged forward and it was harder to get through. When we stopped moving I was only a few rows from the front, and while it was crowded, the masses were still bopping in place and it wasn’t anything terrible.
It was actually kind of exciting being in the middle of an enormous throng of people like that. Crowded, but exciting.
…and then, Rob Zombie took the stage.
It was like the sea of bopping zombies (ha) came alive when their leader took the stage.
The audience exploded. The bopping became frenzied dancing and arms and elbows began flying through the air. The tiny bubble of personal space I had vanished as people surged forward toward the stage. I felt myself being pushed forward in the movement and I frantically tried to hang on to the Hubster, who began pulling me in the opposite direction. I felt panic rising in my throat as the energy in the crowd intensified.
After several minutes of pushing we made our way sideways to the bar, which had a little more space, but a lot more drunk people. I looked around in despair, and clung to the Hubster as we tried to find a pathway to the back of the room, where the mood was a little calmer. Every time we took a step, we were pushed two steps back and… I panicked.
It started as a few tears, but as we started trying to push out to the back I was a giant, hot mess. When we finally stopped and it hit me that I was out of the crowd I started sobbing so hard that my whole body shook. Tears, running make-up, hiccups, the whole bit.
In the middle of a Rob Zombie concert.
The Hubster pulled me aside to a quiet(er) corner in the back of the room and held me in a bear hug while I calmed down, ready to take me home as soon as I said the word. But despite my body’s reaction to the experience, I really did want to stay and see the show. I spent the rest of the concert hanging out with the old folks at the back of the room. Although we could barely see the stage from where we ended up, we still heard everything and Rob Zombie ended up coming out and doing a tour of the crowd and passed by just 10ft from where we stood.
By the time the concert ended, I had regained some of my enthusiasm (and dignity), though I made sure that we were in the first wave of people to leave as I didn’t want to get caught in another rush.
We eventually found the Hubster’s friend, whom we had accidentally left behind in the crowd when I began my panicked exit to safety. Though he was bewildered by our sudden disappearance, he rolled with the situation and ended up making some friends in the rowdy crowd.
So, though this particular concert wasn’t my favourite, I still enjoy his music and would be open to seeing him live again.
…but only if there are seats… and an old people section.