And the eruption, the sound.

Posted on September 8, 2007


It was a hot day in the middle of the summer. The air was so thick I thought I could almost taste it, and the sun was pouring itself out onto our skin as we moved about the world busily. I pulled into the gas station that sat on a small rise in the middle of a massive intersection in the middle of town. Being sometime near rush hour the sun refracted and flickered like sparks off the hundreds of cars moving through the intersection and the connecting roads. The warm wind swelled around me. I was absent-mindedly staring at the gas pump my hand was resting on, when I looked up.

It was like someone had pressed the pause button on time. The cars on the several roads leading into the intersection weren’t moving. All the constant motion, the traffic lights, had stopped. Everything holding it’s breath.

A train was slithering its way through the intersection.

There had to be hundreds of thousands of people. There were thousands swimming below through the streets of the downtown city going from tent to tent looking at the best art of the year, others moving between attractions in the carnival, some standing on the curb of the sidewalk digging their teeth deep into the rack of pork ribs dripping with barbeque sauce, others moving about from stage to stage listening to music ranging from hardcore to Caribbean steel drums.

Up on top of the parking garage things weren’t any better. There was a concert venue mantled on top of the parking garage that sat on the outskirts of the festival, and I have never seen so many people in one place my entire life. It was around 10pm, and I was doing my best to walk close and keep up with the person in front of me without hanging onto their sleeve.

Face after face after face went past me. People slid, walked, or bumped me as we manuevered through the throngs of people to find seats for the concert. I was fighting some deep, internal feeling of panic. So many pairs of eyes, so many bodies around me, so many voices, so many souls in one place.

(So many eyes.)

After finding stationary seats, talking about the opening bands with the people I came with, and doing amusing people watching, I started to feel okay. The panic had been reduced to some small twinge of nauseau in my stomach and even that dissapated eventually. Finally after the openers had finished, the free tshirts had been thrown out to the crowd, and after the commercials and introductions were over, it was the moment every last being in the venue had been waiting for.

The three men walking onto stage. The lights. The opening note. The opening line.

And then the eruption of the audience, the eruption of sound.

As I was driving around the curve and up onto the hill into the industrial park towards my office. I was peering into my rearview mirror more than I should because I was trying to get a glimpse of the sun. It was about 8pm and the sun was reappearing after a horrendous (and threatening) storm blew through the city. The air was thick, warm and almost foggy from the recent downpour.

I finally caught sight of it and then decided to turn around and head back the other direction. -I have to see this.- I thought. When going the opposite direction on the road I was on, when going back down the hill you can see a bird’s eye view of the whole city.

And there, sure enough.

A large, immaculate circle of brilliant orange burning its way through the sky over a just-drenched, bustling city.