Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sober

Amazingly, 25,000 people soberly packed into the Saratoga Performing Arts Center Tuesday evening, never once brushing elbows with one another. They left the drugs at home and avoided the beer tent. They didn’t bother to tailgate or get rowdy.

No, they just stood there watching the Boss, one gigantic, pulsing entity unified in their good behavior. No booze-fueled arguments, no drug-induced romps through the woods with a wayward park police officer in tow; no smashing, grabbing, raping, pillaging or other felonious behavior. In short, nothing happened among the tens of thousands of fans that poured through the park, perhaps even picking up their garbage –down to the last cigarette butt.

Why were these fans so well behaved? Well, because they’re flag-waving Americans, that’s why. They’re the people that make this country tick. They are the heartbeat of a generation. They know how to stand at attention, keep a clean blood stream and watch a musical legend with uninhibited vision.

Or perhaps that’s the image the media and authorities would portend.

Wednesday’s rags gushed about Bruce Springsteen’s concert in the park. They prattled on about how the Boss belted out his best at the amphitheater and how the crowd swooned. But they never mentioned anything about clouds of marijuana smoke wafting over the crowd, or garrulous drunks bellowing into the night. The idea is that none of this ever happened, because the Springsteen crowd is older and more mature.

In reality, there’s no way to make 25,000 people of any flavor behave. In the realm of probabilities, it’s just not possible. There will always be one crazed addict among the bunch who will light up, party down and then play a game of grab-ass with the first fine piece of tail that saunters by. Unfortunately, this is the nature of humanity: There are assholes among us.

This is not to say the Springsteen crowd should be characterized by someone of this ilk. In fact, this sort of caricature stands in direct contrast to the image of a Bosshead many reporters would conjure: Late 40s, upper-middle class, law-abiding urban professional who probably came to the concert in a mini-van with his or her teenage daughter and their friends.

You can bank on the state Park Police having a similar concept of the typical Springsteen fan. Why side-step up to these people and demand to search their possessions? Why chase them like dogs or harass them intermittently? These are taxpaying citizens, not a bunch of dirty hippies, the reasoning goes.

This was not the case two weeks ago, when Phish took the stage at SPAC. Before the band could put down their instruments, the Saratogian was already demanding to know how many fans were arrested and what was seized. And the park police, county prosecutor and the Spa City cops were all the willing to oblige.

They even gave the reporter a weekend-long breakdown of the arrests: Cop assaulted on Caroline Street by a crazed Phish fan the day before the concert and lost a tooth; on the same night, an investigator gets splashed with liquid LSD by some drug manufacturing dopehead eagerly waiting to pawn his wares. The concert brings more assaults and arrests. The assistant district attorney’s phone is ringing off the hook; he gets no sleep that night. The jails are full. Saratoga is burning. The mayor is briefed and urged for a spell to call in the National Guard; maybe an airstrike. You can’t trust these fucking hippies; give them one night of bliss and they’ll take over the place.

In reality, the Phish concert brought about 22 arrests, which is less than a tenth of a percentage point of fans that were inside the venue. That’s not even taking into consideration the thousands of fans that were outside the sold-out concert that evening. Yet these are details that don’t make it into the paper.

Likewise at the Springsteen concert. Nobody wants to read about the drunks that were corralled for misbehaving or the tailgaters that were cited for a variety of indiscretions. These are things that Springsteen fans don’t do in the discriminating eyes of the media and law enforcement. Even if a curious reporter had bothered to ask about the tenor of the concert, chances are pretty good the cops wouldn’t have mentioned any of their work that night.

So there is a distinct flavor of injustice that is offered by this unlikely union between media bias and police prejudice. And it’s one they use with quiet precision to ensure only the right type of crowd is permitted into the homogenous confines of this upscale city.

28 Comments:

Anonymous Milhouse said...

Please HO, be a little more rational. You suggest there's a reasonable comparison between the levels of illegal behavior of a crowd of Phish fans and Boss fans.

While there are no doubt some rowdies in a typical Springsteen audience (and I saw some and smelled a few wafts of wacky tobacky), it defies common sense to believe the mostly 40- and 50-somethings wearing their Dockers and Topsiders at Springsteen engaged in a level of illicit behavior close to that of those attending the Phish show.

I've not been to Phish shows, but I attended a few Dead shows back in my day and I imagine the crowds are similar. My recollection (what's left of it) from my time at Dead shows is that 99% of the people were in some stage of enjoyment of illegal substances. The other 1% were passed out from the last show.

At Bruce, there certainly were a fair number of folks knocking back a few, but I smelled dope on maybe five occasions and never saw it. I saw nothing else that even suggested illegality.

12:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, we don't need no steenking heepies! Say hello to my little Taser.

1:19 PM  
Anonymous Kyle York said...

IS IT TOO LATE to stop the Moody Blues? To their throngs in the throes of their flashbacks, tear gas is but a perfume they breathe deep.

Tomorrow's ghastly news is written in the very mantra-chants of these anarchists, TaserTots with their plan to burn SPAC to the ground--

***BULLETIN***
TEN BILLION BUTTERFLY SNEEZES DESCEND ON SPAC!

My friends will tell you
that I’ve lost my cool--
The indestructible has broken down,
the undeniable is turned around!
In the grey of the morning
my mind becomes confused
Between the dead and the sleeping
and the road that I must choose.
Uptown turnaround people - lie!
Uptown turnaround people - wear disguises!
Higher and higher, now we've learned to play with fire.
We're part of the fire that is burning...

...and from the ashes we can build another day!

-Kyle York
WE decide WHICH is RIGHT

1:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was at several recent concerts at SPAC and the Springsteen crowd's behavior and relationship to the space was totally different.

People last night were way more respectful to the security folks, to the grounds and to each other as fans, than the vibe at Phish or even DMB.

It is true that people and press were raring to go about the other concerts..but there is way more stress put on the Emergency Room and other Saratoga resources when those groups hit town.

2:17 PM  
Anonymous mamie said...

Greetings , From Asbury Park! Is still the Boss's best! I have been to Spac 100's of times over the years and still love the smell of reefer in the air when I go. The police will never stop the partying there. It is a shame that they treat concert goers differently by shows. The fans at the Phish concert I am sure are just as respectable as fans at the Springsteen show. I loved the show though. I have such fond memories at Spac. I even remember my first encounter with another woman took place there way back.

3:31 PM  
Blogger Bologna Bob said...

the guy that splashed the cop with LSD is a homegrown loser from Saratoga. i use to go to school with him and to blame his retarded actions on the phish concert was some of the worst reporting ive ever seen in the saratogian. well, almost the worst, the front page story of Joan Rivers (aka michelle riggi) takes the cake.

6:33 AM  
Anonymous agphoto said...

First of all, positive kudos to HO for 2 posts back-to-back in a week...gotta go with the hot horse in august, so: -

1) can we expect a third next week about the under-the-table bribes to R.Alexandra's connections to bypass the travers for the woodward, so as to boost the Labor Day attendance which has been spotty at best and is odds-on to be autumnal given that it's the latest date possible (sept. 7th)?

I've just started and i am already digressing... ok, my contribution is a vignette from a previous SPAC Bruce show - the 'born to run' tour specifically. What brought about that flashback was the last photo you posted of the people walking along the avenue of the pines.

2) The Bruce show that was here in the mid-80's was one those that clogged the interstate all the way down to albany.

So for the first time, we had to stash our auto by the harness track and venture to our seats on foot through the park.

All was well, but on our return excursion, we noticed a row of about 25 cars in a row parked along crescent avenue with their driver-side windows smashed in and other acts of larceny like stereo's missing, vandalism to people's antennas, etc.

Conclusion: There's hope that with patience and toleration Phish fans too will grow up to be Dockers wearers. Keep a good thought...

11:45 AM  
Anonymous Dos Equis man said...

THAT SEEMS BIZARRE. Where would anyone perform any sex acts there without being seen. I am also curious. Were there other occasions or was that just a one time deal? Born in the USA was my favorite. That was truly near and dear to my heart.

12:50 PM  
Anonymous David in Rehab said...

Mamie you little Vixen. Tell me did you ever clean Val’s rug?

5:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On Sept. 23, 2009, all you old-timers can wish Bruce a Happy 60th Birthday.

Mamie, does that constitute enough of a reason to get another day off from your city hall "job"?

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It appears Horatio Alger has hit the wall. Is it permanent or just a brain weeze? Please put up something interesting. Don't we have an election coming up? Does this Edward Miller have a website for his campaign? The track is over! The Thrill is gone! Disutopia is gone! Is I-Saratoga next?

12:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HO, I don't think there is much interest in the Boss around these parts. All of his songs are sounding the same, it's really getting old, as old as he is. My God, the guy will be 60 soon!!

But.......

Now that the horses are moving out of our town, it usually signals their replacement by the installation of thousands of those ugly political signs.

It's off to the races, but now they are political races. All the City Hall "workers" are being given their lists of people to call for votes.

Assignments are handed out to politcal hacks like Lew B and his ilk, to begin writing those boring letters to the editor ad nauseam. Repeating the same phrases and going on and on and on about the attributes of their assigned candidate. The fact that they can write those letters on "company time" is one of those little perks of their jobs.

The Deputy Commissioners are looking over their shoulders to see which direction they should go. Who should they support? Should they remain faithful to their bosses, or should they send out a signal to their boss' opponent that they are available should the need arise....hmmmmmm.

What a dilemma?

I feel sorry for the future commissioners, for they face an enormous task. Everyone knows there will be a huge tax increase for all taxpayers, but the taxpayers will demand the impossible from all candidates.

Where or where are Steve Towne, Mike Lenz, et al.....and for that matter, what ever happened to the theory that if you were nominated by the Republican committee, that it was assured that you would be elected?

Food for thought, HO, food for thought.

4:48 PM  
Anonymous Corky Romano said...

Ed Miller vs. Skip Scirroco is going to shape up to be a race after all. Seems like his fumbling and constant pattern of dropping the ball on important city matters will bite him in the ass. He and his ego-maniac deputy are stepping on the wrong toes of late. Scirroco now a backer of the wreck center is a Johnson allie.

4:10 AM  
Anonymous Emile Hirsh said...

Word is that either Phil Diamond or John Tighe will be Miller's deputy. Both are excellent choices. Good luck Eddie. Maybe the democrats will back Eddie once it picks up. A good ole fashioned election. What out Scirroco and the organ grinder.

5:57 PM  
Anonymous Luke said...

That is funny how Scirroco changes so easy. His sudden support of the Recreation Center does raise questions about who he really is. Hopefully those neighbors of that disgrace of a building make him pay this coming election. Miller at least is an upstanding guy.

4:21 AM  
Anonymous Overweight fire fighter said...

Last hoorah this week. Saratoga will get hit hard in the next few weeks. The economy will really take center stage as this election heats up. Who has the right answers. Skippy and Scotty are lining up together and Ivins is a lone wolf. Ron Kim takes the early lead with signage popping up around town. What lines of crap will seal the deal in the election this time around. Too early to tell.

1:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see the Vote for Kim for Mayor signs have popped up, and in some pretty weird locations.
Thousands and thousand more will appear....let the games begin.

2:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kim Posters Illegal and Everywhere

Saratoga was plastered and pasted with Kim for Mayor posters today.. and most were illegally located.

In the middle of roads, alongside highways.

Ironic, that the Commissioner of Public Safety is breaking the law in this illegal campaigning.

But, Kim is all about himself.

5:09 PM  
Anonymous Adrian Cronauer said...

Still haven't seen anyone out door to door yet. Very interesting. I really am looking forward to meeting this Ed Miller. He is the most interesting candidate out there. The other new ones are Peter Martin,Kevin Connelly,Ricky Wirth and Ron Kim switching over to mayor of course. Do we have any real info on any of these guys? I know what we have now sucks but are these guys any better? They better get out there soon and start spreading the word.

8:33 AM  
Anonymous Soothing Ron Kim's hurt feelings over the Empereror Kim nickname said...

The fascist wing of the Dem party (aka Dems for Change) will not offer public support for any opponent of Skippy's.

After all, a deal is a deal.

But then again, they will be all but history once their boy Ronnie gets thrashed.

Meanwhile, Val still pouts....

1:42 PM  
Anonymous Mao Say Tongue said...

A deal is a deal, but Eddie Miller doesn't even use quality hot dogs. I bought a hot dog off his cart and got sick. It was a low quality dog and he even charged extra for the mustard. Trustworthy he is not. McTygue will be his deputy if elected. Keehan will be Kim's deputy if he wins. Keehan vs. McTygue "The Sequel" is worth the price of admission.

3:44 PM  
Anonymous Miller's Future Deputy said...

I will destroy Skippy's credibility among independents and democrats. Some republicans think he is an idiot. First he is against the Rec Center now he supports it. He is just another slime ball politician telling the people what they want to hear. Sorry Skipporou but the electorate isn't buying your garbage. How's Pat the organ grinder doing?

3:53 PM  
Anonymous Slinky said...

Kim or Johnson, Kim or Johnson,Kim or Johnson. WHich way do I go? I Say , I Say, Which do I go? Help me Foghorn Leghorn! Such decisions. Miller or Sciroco? Rick Worthless against who? Ken "Lame-o" Ivins against who? My god this is sad. Change the government and maybe, just maybe some real candidates will step up.

4:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know what "The Boss" (the opening theme of this blog) has to do with local politics, but I'm liking the way it's going.

I don't believe Tommy the Tulip could ever be #2. He has to be in charge.

9:58 AM  
Anonymous Mamie said...

Change The Government and get rid of all the dead weight in city hall. Finneran,Sutton,Boxley,Design,Bill Mac,Pretty boy Brad in planning dept.,Pauly Male,Jarosh bug,Sheila Brooks and even Chairman Lew.

11:51 AM  
Anonymous Eeyore said...

Hey Skippy , Where's my friggin knee pads? I am working on overload. I need The Tulip back so I can sit on my ass again. Ed Miller is the man. Vote for Ed so poor me doesn't work soooooo hard!

5:54 PM  
Anonymous Saratoga Reporter said...

Mamie,Mamie,Mamie. You are such a tool. Though I agree with your asumption of dead weight in city hall, you also may be on that list. You and others not mentioned here. Tell me, what dept. do you belong to? You seem to have spread it around a bit?

4:53 AM  
Anonymous Won't it be fun to watch a lame duck Ron Kim at the council meetings after he loses in November? said...

Someone tell me how "changing the government" improves the qaulity of the people involved?

If the bored housewives of the DFC get their way, we'll just have a 30-person legislature made up of ... people like them!

If this is our future: shoot me now.

11:49 AM  

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