September 2nd, 2012
I honestly had no clue what to expect. I pictured a bunch of belligerent, drunk rich kids puking and falling over each other like those I see on a late night weekend in Manayunk.However, there were remnants of a modern-day Woodstock in Made in America’s debut.
Unity was Jay-Z’s theme of the festival, and, with all races coming together as one, it seems he succeeded. Mind you, this was sponsored by Budweiser, so there was a lot of $11 Bud Lights making concert goers ready for an either power nap or pass-out nap. (I spared those poor souls photo notoriety grudgingly). The Woodstock theme continued with a very sticky, sweet smell in the air. And you wonder how they got it in? Well, I found an empty hair pomade jar with remnants of some sticky orange and green bud lingering in the corners.
There was no mud surfing, sadly. Some sort of water runoff from the VIP setup ran off into the lawn, making part of the area unusable and pungent, with a fishy smell.I thought for sure someone would boldly do a belly dive into the mud. However, the closest anyone got was some barefoot dancing and noticeable mud splashes on clothing.
And no one was rude! Yes, you read that right. In the city where, when you arrive back at the airport, you know you’re home by how unhappy people are, everyone was joyful. Maybe some tired, hot, sweaty, bored people, but no cranky pants in sight. In fact, there was skipping everywhere. Skipping! Like in The Wizard of Oz. I shit you not. And while people lounging or snuggled on a blanket, others would politely walk around them in the middle of a set. The only bad or, well, gross experience I had was while walking into the photo pit for Passion Pit’s set. Some woman cried, “My beer! My beer!” as if it had spilled over the railing and was pouring out. I picked it up and handed it to her and someone declared, “That’s piss!” I abruptly set it down and walked on with some hand sanitizer. Gross! But funny.
Speaking of smelly things, the port-a-potties. Need I really say more on a 90+ degree day with thousands of people sharing them? I don’t think they got a cleaning judging by the beer cans and questionables piled as high as the turds. The cell phone charging station concert was also a sinking turd. By the end of the night, lines snaked out of these tiny stations for a precious two-minute charge. Not that the media tent helped either. In our tent, there were two power cords, like the ones at home. And some Vitamin Water, plain water and a platter of hoagies. One reporter said it was nothing like how Metallica treated their press. I said, “Yeah, well, that was Metallica.”
Apparently, some folks were trying to sell off their Sunday tickets. Perhaps they had enough in one day and didn’t have the energy for two? The timing of the line-ups was almost impeccable. However, the constant running from one stage to the next was taxing. Perhaps next year they can stick to one stage like Woodstock.
Two brothers from Boston were bummed out that they left the concert early to catch their SEPTA train. Just so you know, service is running later than normal for concertgoers (i.e. 11:25 train leaves at 11:48, 12:25 at 12:48 and 1:25 at 1:48 and so on). Check the station for a pink posting. Don’t miss Pearl Jam spending your time in a stinky underground tunnel. (Cassie Hepler)