Let me simply begin by stating that I have horrible social anxiety. Horrible. The idea of being in a large crowd scares the crap out of me and makes my skin crawl. For example: I remember a specific event about a year and a half ago when I was attending my then husband’s birthday party. There were so many people in that house, and it was so loud everywhere I went, I finally ended up locking myself in my car for ten minutes just to recuperate. Later that evening when everything had calmed down, I felt like my skin was going to crawl off my body. And that particular event involved his family, people I’d known for quite some time and had been around on many separate occasions.
Needless to say, concerts were a biiiiig no no for me. Until now.
We discovered that Marilyn Manson and Alice Cooper were touring together back when the dates were first released, and immediately I wanted to go. But that socially anxious and awkward part of my brain said “OHGODNONONONO.” Even more heartbreaking was realizing they were coming nowhere close to me. As quickly as the feeling, the urge, to go washed over me, it left again.
My friend Joanna and I used to obsess over Manson when we were 15, and I’ve grown up listening to Cooper all my life. She contacted me with a plausible way for all of this to work out….All that was left was to convince my brain that I wanted to go.
We chose the cheapest tickets (Well into the nosebleed section), and my friends Joanna, Rachel, and I prepared. I guess my brain was still in denial, because I didn’t feel the usual anxiety. We left for Dallas (about 4 hours away from me), and the closer we got to the theater, the more nervous I became.
We arrived, bought a t-shirt, changed, and then headed up to our nosebleed section, only to find a guy waiting there for us.
“There are three of you, yes?”
“Well I have good news for you. Your section didn’t sell well so we’re moving you closer to the action.”
“No fucking way. Really?”
“Really. Here are your tickets, head back down and find your seats.”
The tickets we had were about 28 bucks a pop. The seats we ended up in were 65 dollars. I was about 8 rows back from the pits and had a beautiful shot at the stage. It was brilliant.
Marilyn Manson steps out onto the stage, and immediately all social anxieties disappear. I started moving and swaying with the crowd, just enjoying myself. I screamed and yelled like everyone around me, I sang along without worrying whether or not it sounded good. Manson began with a very…almost childlike and playful demeanor, dancing about the stage. Midway he slowed down, seeming almost groggy. At one point he ended up on the infamous stilts, and a stagehand kept getting in his way and he nearly hit him. Which is understandable because really, if he’d fallen he could have been severely hurt. Towards the end he was right back to playful and fun.
We had an intermission, and then Cooper took to the stage. I was a bit worried at first because I know a lot of his classics like… School’s Out, Poison, Hey Stoopid, etc, but other than that I’m not familiar with him. Let me just tell you this. Even if you are not familiar with Cooper’s stuff, you NEED to see him perform. He owns that stage and he is completely comfortable. His theatrics are phenomenal, and he definitely knows how to work a crowd. I lost my voice. In fact, two days later, I’m still a little croaky. THAT’S how amazing this experience was. He did the straight jacket, the snake, the guillotine, and Frankenstein.
But the best part about all of this was after. We walked out of the arena and realized we were way too flooded with adrenaline to try to drive, so we were going to sit on the curb to relax. I happened to glance back and saw a fence, and directly on the other side of it I saw tour buses. There were other people standing there, not many…probably about 20, and none of them were wearing VIP passes.
And that’s how I got to meet Alice Cooper.
Alice Cooper walked out, and I didn’t care about my shredded vocal chords, I screamed. He waved and held up a finger, and I thought “Crap he’s not coming back.” But he DID! And he took the time to go down the line and autograph all of our tickets. About midway down the line he steps back and starts laughing, then says “Have you guys ever seen that show The Walking Dead?” “Yes!” “You guys kind of remind me of the zombies.” We start laughing, and then I lean in and say “Well if you hire us, we’ll work your next set for you.” AND HE LAUGHED. HE FULL ON BELLY LAUGHED AT ME! I was like “OH MY GOD ALICE COOPER THINKS I’M FUNNY!” In hindsight he probably just thought I was stupid, but in that moment it was a truly magical experience.
Marilyn Manson didn’t come out, which was disappointing but hey. I did get to watch his tour bus leave. I waved at it and everything. I also saw Twiggy leave.
All in all, it was a magical experience and I am very glad to have rid myself of that anxiety long enough to experience this. I probably would have kicked myself if I hadn’t. Unfortunately, I have figured out a downside to concerts.
They are like a drug. You go to one, suddenly you want to turn around and do it again. It’s so hard to return to reality after going to a concert, especially one you get really into. In my mind, that concert wasn’t just a once in a lifetime thing. I’m still trying to convince myself that I cannot just turn around and go back to that, go back to see my heroes. Reality sucks in comparison sometimes, you know?
The other downside is….MAN I was sore. My vocal chords were so shredded I sounded like a mix between an old woman and a prepubescent boy. About an hour after we left the concert I realized “Oh crap. I have to prerecord my radio show tomorrow.”
I wore it all with pride, however. I even made it through the full hour of prerecording my show (though I probably won’t listen to the playback). Why did I torture myself like that? Because I was proud. I was proud of myself for pushing myself to do something I’d never done before, meeting someone I would have never met otherwise, and for getting over my fears. So thank you Alice Cooper and Marilyn Manson for not only helping me get over my fears, but for also popping my concert cherry. You guys are amazing! Thank you for giving me one of the most amazing moments of my life.
I was going to include a section of this blog where I discussed the downside to societies, and why I think people like Marilyn Manson, Alice Cooper, and Ozzy Osbourne aren’t so bad, but I have decided to wait for another day. So stick around!