The blood was starting to crust around my nose as the roadies changed the set. The adrenaline high was wearing off as I surveyed the crowd. My sense of self righteousness ebbed with it and instead of iconoclastic I found myself feeling a alone in a room full of strangers. As you might have guessed this post continues the tale of Elijah with a Mohawk.
Fortunately it wasn’t long till the headliner, the Dayglo Abortions, took to the stage. With their straight ahead punk, the pit was not nearly as violent or intense as it had been with the previous bands. Soon into the set the stage diving began.
Minutes later, there I was, perched on the edge of the stage, the music pounding and grating behind me… the crowd surging 6 feet below me. I was giddy and terrified and entirely unsure of what I would do next.
Before I tell you how I got there, let me explain what I was doing. For those of you who are not familiar with the practice, stage diving is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Someone climbs up on the stage and then leaps out into the crowd. Of course it is all dependent upon what happens next, namely that the crowd will catch them. Thankfully this happens most of the time and one surfs the crowd before being lowered back to their feet.
Getting back to the story, when the set began I was up towards the front. As the pit crashed about to my left, I noticed a group of skate punks trying to climb up on the stage so they could dive. Because they were only fourteen or fifteen and pretty scrawny to boot, they were having some problems scaling the sheer face of the stage. After watching their struggles for a while, I walked over, put my interlaced fingers down to form a step and motioned towards the stage.
It didn’t take long for them to accept the invitation. One by one I flung them up onto the stage and one by one they gleefully hurled themselves out into the crowd. By the time they had all made their way back to where we started, I noticed they were looking at me. Two of them stooped down in front of me and offered their hands to help boost me up.
I hesitated for a moment. I had never done this before. When it comes to stage diving, one’s size can be a serious liability. Although I was about 25 pounds lighter than I am today, I was still hesitant. Would the crowd actually catch me or would they spread out in fear and allow me to crash onto the concrete floor?
Then I felt the other two pushing me forward. Cautiously I stepped up onto the hands and collectively they heaved me up. And that’s how I came to be standing there in a blood soaked “Rebel for Jesus” shirt, looking out at the roiling crowd.
Just an hour before I had looked at the same crowd and seen the prophets of Baal. Now I saw my new friends. Then I had sought to defeat them all singlehandedly. Now I was counting on them to save me from my own insanity. I took a deep breath and drove.