We wait out the weather in line with thousands of other fans. The storm clouds dissipate, and the ticketing gates open. My friends and I stream inside the fence, eager to claim our space.
The lawn buzzes with conversation. People mill about in small groups of two or three, filling in gaps close to the stage. The smell of weed drifting by is weak; it could be t-shirts worn at a party last night. The rain washed out more than the hillside.
Stage lights flicker on, and the first band appears. Rock music fills my ears. The crowd cheers, and voices sing along. As I listen, it’s hard to glance at the stage with so many bright lights flashing, turning, blinking. Reds. Whites. Greens. Through one song, the green laser beams induce surgical memories that I try to ignore. In other songs, I notice patterns of light within the chorus, so I close my eyes or look down as needed. My friends holler a warning if they think they hear the beginning of a wild song that will feature stage effects.
The other band takes the stage. The bass rumbles through the park; the drumbeat thumps and reverberates from my feet to my shoulders. This set arrangement features ambers, whites, blues and purples. My eyes adjust to those hues easier.
I immerse myself in the soundscape. Forms dance around me. My leg muscles will be sore tomorrow from standing for hours, but that’s a pittance to pay for the chance to hear The Black Keys and the Flaming Lips live. The energy lingers. At a rock concert, the need for clear vision evaporates like a distant summer thundercloud.