Dave Matthews Band: Last-minute ticket buys make Foxboro funBy Joel Rosenberg
Last Friday night I was inspired to try to get tickets to the sold-out Dave Matthews concert at Foxboro Stadium after miraculously procuring a ticket to Commencement earlier that day. If nothing else, I'd get to see who bought all 47,000 seats in under two hours.
It was the first time I'd been to Foxboro, having missed U2 and the Rolling Stones, bands which obviously have the draw to fill a football stadium. After paying $15 to park, since space is so valuable out in Foxboro, my two friends and I went in search of tickets. Fingers in air, we asked passers-by if they had any extras, and with that many seats, it didn't take us long to find three separate singles.
Upon entry, security made us dump out our water, as is standard concert procedure to prevent alcohol from entering the stadium. But when we went to the bathroom to fill our bottles back up, there was only hot water. Determined to replenish our fluid, we asked the young girl working at the Papa Gino's stand if she could fill our container.
"Sorry. We don't have any water."
"You make pizza, right? You must have water."
"Are there water fountains around here?"
"No, sorry. They sell bottled water."
"Are you kidding? We have to pay for water? What country is this?"
At that point the manager took our bottle and told us he'd see if it was raining outside. Apparently it was, because he came back with a bottle full of cold water. We were off to find seats.
Having purchased three singles, we knew sitting together was going to be a small challenge. We first tried to go where our best seat was, down in the 100s. Another young girl (there were a lot of them), this one a security guard in a canary yellow windbreaker, stopped us to see our tickets. Having only one for the section, she told us we couldn't sit there. We tried to change her mind, but even our green-backed stubs weren't persuasive enough. We moved to plan B, and headed for the 300s, where our other two tickets were.
We easily found three seats together in the much less secure bleachers, and we situated ourselves between staircases so the section would fill in on our sides. We had missed Ben Folds Five, which I was disappointed about, and Beck was already halfway done by the time we sat down. Judging by how uninterested the audience was in Beck, and knowing his ability to bring the audience into his show, I could only imagine how pathetic the crowd had been for BFF. It's tough to play to a huge, empty stadium in full daylight.
Beck finished at dusk, and we waited for DMB to take the stage. The bench behind us was empty, and we were eyeing it. The second Dave Matthews took the stage, though, there were high school kids standing on it. To make things worse, the people in front of us, perhaps the only ones older than us in the whole place, stood on the bench in front of us, squishing us in between.
One of the first few songs featured a piccolo player, video of which showed a monster solo in which his fingers became a flurry of action - but we couldn't hear a note. I thought perhaps a speaker had blown, and the sound guys were clueless about it since we were way off to the side of the stage. But nobody around us seemed to mind. Quickly losing hope, we complacently tried to enjoy ourselves.
Jackpot! Two rows in front of us three spaces somehow opened up, and when we asked if they were claimed, our neighbors in front said no. We wormed our way forward, and experienced a small fraction of what it must feel like to be released from prison! Fresh air! Freedom! The high end of the sound! It was remarkable. I'm not sure what the equations look like, but being in a human cage wreaks havoc on acoustics.
From our new vantage point Matthews seemed to be leading a pretty grooving band. I'll be honest - I don't know the names of the tunes he played, what was new, what was old, because I don't listen to DMBthat much. The teeny-boppers around us seemed to know what they were hearing, as they constantly tried to sing along with the choruses they knew. To be fair, while we were in captivity, the crowd's singing was a welcome break from hearing the guy behind me do a poor job hitting on the girl he was standing next to.
The concert was enjoyable, if disappointing. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I'm pretty sure I didn't get it. The evening had been more about getting in to see the show than seeing the show itself. Funny how sometimes you get wrapped up in such goals.