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March 10, 2014 / bekbekbekah

Blindside

This weekend I experienced Round 2 with a kidney stone, but it took me a startling amount of time to realize why my body was in such pain and to take my medicine to help with it. I think part of why it took me so long is because I had a stomach bug Thursday and I thought I was just dealing with the fallout of whatever I had. WRONG! But I am once again alive and well and ready to post. I figured since I spent a large portion of my weekend being preoccupied with my physical pain that I should post this draft that I’ve had sitting in the wings for a while. Prior to my hitting my shin on a rock in the water in 2009 (yes, I will most definitely be posting about that in the future) and Rounds 1 and 2 with the kidney stones, October 13, 2007, was the most painful day of my life.

The fall semester of 2007 was my first semester at ORU in Tulsa, OK, and with it came many new friends, new college adventures, and new college breaks to celebrate. Every fall ORU gives its students a week off after midterms called [cleverly] Fall Break. Every year my birthday fell somewhere in the timeframe of Fall Break which was both a blessing and a curse because I always got to celebrate my birthday with my family, but I never got to celebrate my actual birthday with my friends. Which is a real #firstworldproblem if ever there was one.

There was a girl in my Intro to Mass Com class named Sarah, and she and I became pretty great friends.

I was parked during this picture - don't worry.

I was parked during this picture – don’t worry. If you’re wondering why I look crazy, she started tickling me during this selfie, and that’s me laughing.

Sarah was also on mine and Krista’s sister wing (ORU’s version of the Greek system), and the three of us became pretty close after several weeks of hanging out. I think one of the main things we bonded over was our love of a Swedish band called Blindside.

(a promo shot from their 2012 album With Shivering Hearts We Wait)

(a promo shot from their 2012 album With Shivering Hearts We Wait)

Krista is always great at finding concerts in cool places, and she started looking for US tour dates after she found out they had released an EP in June 2007. She told me that they were going to be in Dallas at The Door the weekend that Fall Break began and that we should stop for the concert on our drive back to Houston. I concurred, and then when we discovered Sarah didn’t have any plans for the break and that her birthday was the day before the concert, we bought her a ticket and decided to tell her we were going to kidnap her and take her to Houston with us. Sarah was already in bed by the time we decided these things, so we just printed out her ticket and taped it to her door. The next morning we were woken up by her throwing our door open and screaming, “OH MY GODDDDDD!!!!!” at the top of her lungs.

We loaded my truck up and left Saturday afternoon so that we would have plenty of time to get lost in Deep Ellum (I get lost every time I go somewhere new; it’s always factored into travel times) and find The Door before it started. At one point when I was driving down 45, I started smelling something really weird. I drove on a litte further because I thought maybe I was imagining things, but the smell kept getting more powerful. Krista and I have a habit of always commenting on the smells we smell while driving (what? that’s not normal?) so I finally blurted out, “Guys? What are we driving by? Something seriously smells like parmesan out there!” and Krista just looked at me with big eyes that said, “I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU’D SAY THAT!!” and Sarah looked sheepishly over at me and said, “I just took my shoes off. Sorry. I’ll put them back on.” So then we drove for a while longer in complete silence minus my truck’s Flowmaster because I couldn’t think of a nice enough apology to say to Sarah for essentially telling her her feet smelled like cheese.

After a decent amount of time the awkwardness of my comment died away and we started talking about what we were excited about. Sarah told us she was excited about getting to mosh, and Krista and I told her that we wouldn’t be joining her. My take on moshing is this: if you like it, do it; if you don’t, don’t. I’m definitely someone that doesn’t like moshing (remember guys? I don’t like rough-housing), and I think that I’m too short and small to properly survive a mosh pit. I avoid them at all cost, but I don’t care that they exist because I know a lot of people think they’re fun. By the time that conversation ended we had arrived, parked, walked into the venue, and made our way to the crowd already gathered by the stage. Since this was pre-iPhone and pre-constant-contact-OMG-where-is-everybody-where-even-am-I?! – we had agreed that Krista and I would stay together and let Sarah come and go from the mosh pit as she pleased, and that if we changed locations we’d let each other know before we did it.

During the first opener’s set there was this really belligerent drunk guy (henceforth called BDG) who kept messing with people and just generally making everyone around him really angry. He would walk behind us and shove our shoulders or get way too close for personal comfort. Coming from the person who very rarely cares about her own personal space, especially at concerts, that should say something. During the second set this girl and her boyfriend who were standing in front of us were familiar with the songs so they started to semi-mosh with some other people around them.

BDG had been mercifully absent since the end of the the first set, but by the second song from the new band he had made his reappearance. He was definitely a mosher, but he decided he was going to be really rough with the people who were outside of the circle rather than just join the circle, and he put his hands on the shoulders of the girl in front of me and pushed her really hard. She was struggling to keep her balance and threw her arms out while stepping backwards because of BDG’s force and she caught me right across the teeth with her forearm. Now, I’ve never been in a fight or sustained a punch to the face so this was an incredibly surprising event for me. I don’t even remember being able to process pain because my vision started to get sprinkled with white specks, I tasted blood,  and my body went completely stiff. I started to fall straight backwards (apparently I’m an easy KO), but before I reached the angle-of-no-return Krista caught my arm and my shoulders and pushed me back flat-footed. I shook my head to try to clear my vision and put my hand to my mouth to check how badly I was bleeding. I looked at my fingers and there wasn’t any blood on them, but the taste was defintely there so I rubbed my tongue over my teeth and to my horror discovered that one of my two front teeth had been repositioned from the blow. At this point the pain started kicking in and I started freaking out and asked Krista to tell me how bad it was and she was like, “Your teeth are perfectly normal, Bekah. You aren’t even bleeding.” That was somewhat comforting, but the tooth had definitely been repositioned, and it took me almost a month to get used to that new positioning of my tooth, all while living in a state of constant fear of me losing one of my front teeth. Again.

Shortly after that incident a group of 4 or 5 huge guys found BDG harrassing other people in the crowd, physically lifted him up, and carried him outside. I didn’t see anything else that happened, but based on the looks on those guys faces and the anger in their body language, BDG received a few blows to the face of his own.  While that moment was the end of seeing BDG being annoying, which I was happy about, I hadn’t yet seen the end of my own injuries.

As the night progressed and the people kept coming in, the space that  Krista and I occupied had consistently grown smaller and much more compact. Sarah found us between sets and shoved her way toward the front so that Krista and I could be closer to the stage and further from crazy people like BDG. One of my main, overarching goals in life is to tend to the safety of one Krista Wells Bumgart, and on this particular occasion I had her and Sarah stand in front of me because I wanted them to not be pressed on by so many people. By this point I had also put my hair into a bun because it’s really easy for people to pull on a long ponytail; also it was getting really hot inside and I took every opportunity short of stripping down to get cooler. The crowd surged forward as Blindside’s set was getting put together and I was doing my best to be the barrier between the crowd and Krista and Sarah. Normally my brother Jeremy is the barrier, but he obviously wasn’t with us at the time so I had to fill in.. bad idea. Once Blindside took the stage and the first chords were played everyone – including myself – went insane. It was awesome. It was almost too much happiness for me to handle, and then someone grabbed my bun and yanked it. I stumbled back a step because the person had pulled really hard, but I was able to stay in the same spot for the most part. Then it happened again. And again. And again. And it kept happening until there were a lot of people in front of me and I couldn’t see Krista or Sarah anymore. I looked over the shoulders of the person behind me and saw what appeared to be free space where I might possibly be able to breath again.

I decided that if I was going to be separated then I would at least get away from the crowd that kept grabbing my hair and pulling me backwards. As I stepped around the person directly behind me and looked up to view my options, the first thing I saw was a guy lowering his head and charging at me like a bull. Before my brain could communicate, “HELLO, BEKAH, YOU STEPPED INTO THE MIDDLE OF THE MOSH PIT!!” to the rest of my body, he rammed me right in the sternum and knocked the breath out of me. I stumbled into the people behind me while franctically trying to find my way of escape. I made my way as carfeully as I could, but as they say in geometry, the shortest distance between point A and point B is a straight line, so I was shoved around some more before reaching the other side. There were two or three guys that had seen me get headbutted in the sternum mere moments before, then witnessed the terror in my eyes as I tried to remain uninjured during my journey through the pit. When I was within arms reach of them they all grabbed me and passed me into a very safe, very chill, portion of the crowd. The people in that area took note of how short I was and pushed me to the front of the group and let me spend the rest of the concert having constant access to cool, non-sweaty air to breathe and a mostly-uniterrupted line of sight to Blindside.

As previouly stated, this was a time before the iPhone was around so I don’t have any pictures from the concert, but I will share a couple from a different concert (also at The Door) that I went to in summer 2012.

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before they came on stage

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Marcus Dahlstrom

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Christian Lindskog.. he was also barefoot for the 2007 concert

Now, I realize this post is actually one of my longer posts, but to be fair, it’s one of my favorite memories and I think it deserves a good explanation. Having said that, I will wrap it up with these final two anecdotes.

After the concert was over I stood near the bar so I could keep an eye out for Krista and Sarah without impeding traffic. Krista found me, I explained my disappearance, and then asked where Sarah was. She said she didn’t know, just that Sarah had gone to the bathroom during the encore and hadn’t come back. We were trying to figure out what to do – by this point The Door was almost completely empty – when Sarah came up behind us looking a little crazy and said in a single breath, “Krista, I hope you’re not upset by this but I met Blindside’s sound engineer Lucy and we were talking and I said you were a journalism major and that you wanted to write something about the show and then she said she was going to take us backstage after everyone left and so now we’re going to meet Blindside and interview them and I hope it’s ok.” Krista and I started freaking out. We hadn’t planned for this, and suddenly we had to come up with interesting questions to ask them.. find things to write notes on.. find things to write notes with.. It was crazy. It was midnight (ie – October 14.. ie – my birthday) by the time the last person left The Door, and Lucy took us up the stairs behind the stage wings and introduced us to Christian Lindskog and Marcus Dahlstrom. They were beyond gracious and let us have some of their food and gave us paper plates and sharpies to take our notes with. I will forever remember that moment – the image of the five of us in the tiny room is still vivid in my mind – and it was just so cool to be ringing in my 20th year with this event.

Throughout Blindside’s entire set there was this guy in the crowd that kept yelling, “Play ‘King of the Closet!!’ Play ‘King of the Closet!!'” and all I could think was, “I love this guy’s dedication!” Blindside left the stage without playing the song, then came back for their encore. They played 4 or 5 more songs, then announced that they were going to let the crowd pick the final song of the night and that same guy’s voice yelled out above everyone else’s, “PLAY ‘KING OF THE CLOSET!!!!!'” and they obliged him. A full year later Krista and I stopped by my friend Natalie’s house in McKinney on our way back to Tulsa after our 2008 Fall Break and she introduced us to her brother Jonny. Then she told Jonny that he would like me because “I liked his kind of music,” which naturally led to a conversation about bands we liked. We quickly discovered Blindside was a favorite for us both and we freaked out when we realized we had been at the same concert together the year before. Because I love shared experiences so much, I mentioned the guy who had been yelling for them to play “King of the Closet” and said, “Yeah, did you hear the guy that kept yelling for them to play ‘King of the Closet?’? I was so happy for him when they closed with it!” and he goes, “Yeah! That was me!” And that’s basically what solidified our friendship.

photo 1

We even met up in Houston once!

His band Least of These was in town for a concert.

His band Least of These was in town for a concert.

And this is them playing the stage at Notsuoh downtown.

And this is them playing the stage at Notsuoh downtown.

And now this weekend I’m taking my roommate Lisa to McKinney to hang out with Natalie and her family; I’m expecting this to be a very musical weekend for us. Let the good times roll!

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