Fortunately, I made it through that gauntlet of pushing bodies without injury. Fortunately, most of that crushing crowd made it into the Omaha Civic Auditorium relatively unscathed as well.
Well enough… as far as I know.
I do know that no one died, but it could easily have been otherwise. Just ten months later in Cincinnati, over fourteen thousand people pushing to get into to see The Who, trampled to death eleven people. Reading about that now, my adult self can’t help but remember what happened in Omaha, and think of how easily it could have been just as disastrous for many of us at this Alice Cooper concert.
This Alice Cooper concert.
Well… here I was. I’d gotten through the doors without being stopped and abducted like all those assholes that had been partying and making trouble in front of us. Those morons who seemed to me to simply disappear as I entered this very large and surprisingly empty space.
We really were among the first ones in! There were six sets of doors at the entrance but I had no idea how many had been opened to allow people in. It wasn’t many though. The operation that got rid of those who had been drinking and throwing bottles, must have included limiting the number of doors they opened.
I clearly remember looking from side to side and seeing the other young concert goers like me. Slowing from the shock of realization, we looked around this huge empty space in amazement.
“COME ON BRIAN!!” Allen shouted as he ran passed me. I quickly followed. Yea, we had to move fast to secure the spots Allen was intent upon getting. Allen knew exactly where he wanted to be.
Front and center, Allen and the rest of the gang staked their claim and no one could challenge them. No one would dare. These guys had been to concerts in this place many times before but this was the first time they had been able to start out exactly where they wanted to be. At those previous concerts, they’d had to fight to get even close to where we were now. They were loving it and Allen looked at me with more joy than I thought him capable of. Finally, something really cool had gone his way.
He slapped me on the shoulder and said, “Ok Brian, just remember that you can’t let people get in front of you. If you loose this… ” (he gestured to the totally empty space between himself and the metal railing directly in front of the stage) “… you won’t get it back. Now give me that goatskin and the bottle in your boot.”
I took out the booze and drank a slug before giving it to him. Allen smiled and slapped me on the shoulder again and I turned to look around. The thousands who had been that crushing crowd just minutes ago, were now filling the place with amazing speed.
A guy next to me tapped me on the arm. He was pulling apart a pill of some kind. “Here ya go buddy, put this up your nose.”
My adult self is now trying real hard to remember if I took it, or if I declined and just shared a joint with this guy. Since I can’t remember now, I probably took it. My adult self would like to say that I did the latter. My adult self would like this to be a good example of how I was now being more thoughtful about my decisions. My adult self would like this to be a good example of another moment (like just a few days ago at Maria’s apartment) when I decided to do something other than just follow along with all that was happening around me. Another moment when I was able to get out of survival mode and start making decisions that might even help others.
Yea… I probably took it.
But I still ended up helping someone at this Alice Cooper concert. I made at least one good decision and yes, it did help one person. A lot.
To be continued…