Sunday, November 20, 2011

How my ass got wet at an Adam Lambert concert

We’d driven over three hours to the seaside resort of Hampton Beach, New Hampshire in late August for the sole purpose of attending an Adam Lambert concert. The day was muggy, the general mood cranky, and my family wanted nothing more than to check into the Marriott and relax before the 8 PM show.

“Let’s just walk over to the theater so we won’t have trouble finding it later,” I suggested.
“Let’s not,” my teenage daughter countered. “I’m hot and thirsty.” My son concurred.

My husband wisely chose the path of least resistance—and marital harmony. “Alright, but let’s make it quick.”

It was a short walk from the parking lot to the Casino Ballroom, a venue exuding the musty charm of a long-forgotten era when pocket-sized communicators could only be found in sci-fi movies and Twitter was strictly for the birds. In other words, it was a dump. As we approached the dilapidated building nestled along a strip of souvenir shops and fast-food eateries, it took us a few moments to realize tourist traffic had ground to a halt outside of the theater.

“What’s going on?” my son asked, fanning himself against the heat.

“They’re already lining up for the concert,” my husband said. “The show doesn’t start for five hours!”

Glamberts (as Adam’s devotees call themselves) had begun camping out along the sidewalk leading up to the Ballroom’s entrance. The line stretched to the middle of the block and was growing exponentially with every minute that passed. There were no assigned seats in the theater, which essentially meant we would be herded in and forced to jostle, elbow, and claw our way to the best spot we could stake out. Great. My own personal Hunger Games.

“We’ll come back later,” my husband—the voice of rationality—said.

“And wind up at the back of the line,” I reminded him. “I’ll wait and you guys can meet me here later.” Hell, if these fellow Glamberts could endure the prolonged August heat for an opportunity to worship at the shrine of our glitter god, I wasn’t about to be outdone.

Luckily, my family was as loyal to me as I was to Adam.

And so we stood…and stood…and stood. Five hours later, we jammed into the “ballroom”—little more than a huge, dimly-lit space flanked by two bars (one for soft drinks, the other for liquor and beer) and fronted by a stripped-down stage.

By the time Adam appeared, the crowd had been whipped into a frenzied, writhing mass of drunken adoration—and I couldn’t see a thing. I debated pushing and shoving my way through the mob but thought better of it when I noticed someone in the audience near the stage waving a crutch in the air. Just my luck, I’d get shoved against this schmuck, he’d clock Adam on the head, and I’d go down as the woman responsible for giving Adam Lambert a concussion. No, thank you.

Then I got an idea.

I’m small—5’1” and 114 pounds—and definitely vertically challenged in a crowd. I needed to climb up onto something to see—but what? Then I spotted it—an oversized garbage can with a lid that afforded a ledge of sorts. Mounted improperly, I’d topple over and wind up buried in refuse, but it was a chance I had to take. I hopped up, carefully balanced myself on my precarious perch…and I could see Adam! The feathers, the strobes, the dancers, the guyliner—it was glorious! Everything I had hoped for, and more.

That’s when I felt it. Moisture, seeping into my jeans in the vicinity of my ass. Astride my personal watchtower—and not wanting to miss a magnificent moment of Adam’s performance—there was little else to do hope it dried before people noticed and thought I’d pissed myself.

The show was amazing; definitely worth a soaked crotch. But it was the feeling in the room that was indescribable. People of every age, race, orientation, and ethnic background were united, shoulder to shoulder, in joy and fist pumpin’ harmony. I even spotted one octogenarian keeping time to the music with her cane!

This is the spirit I tried to capture in writing THIN AIR. From supporting character Dante Sinclair (inspired by a certain glam rocker!) to Alice and Daniel, the romantic heart of the novel, everyone in THIN AIR wholeheartedly embraces—even celebrates—their mutual differentness in an atmosphere of acceptance and ease. Who wouldn’t want to slip into a world like that for a few hours?

Sure, it’s a modern fairytale, but sometimes fairytales can come true. Maybe if we all love a little more, and hate a little less, this one will.

So, give it a try. Hey, it’s only 99 cents. You probably already spent more than that at Starbucks today. 

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