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Vehemence at the rock opera - Justin Boron

The sonorous hum of emotion reached its plateau last week when I attended The Arcade Fire show in Atlanta.

But the concert experience was insensibly tarnished because "I've-had-too-much-to-drink" guy was standing right in front of me.

I've experienced it before at concerts. It's a class of people who really have no intention of appreciating the music. They are there just to get drunk and cause a ruckus.

The Variety Playhouse music hall was packed solid with fans eager for the rock opera about to be performed on stage. A rock opera has an undercurrent of energized themes supported by the grace of string instruments and the strength of electric guitars.

Sport jackets, shirts, and ties were evidence of this classy devotion. The leather-bound dipsomaniac in front of me stuck out, contrasting elegance with imbecility.

Everyone surrounding him noticed the distinction too.

But he didn't seem to care.

He shouted wild slanders at the empty stage before the band had come out. Unfortunately, the bibulous expression failed to gain the notice of security, so when the band came on stage, we were forced to sacrifice our recognition of the genius musicians onstage for our own safety.

A few chords into the first song, the anonymous fool erratically jerked his body, shifting the crowd of people around him. I dodged him, fearing a strategically placed hypodermic needle in his front pocket could stab me at any second.

Beers were spilled, and fancy dresses were ruined.

But this was not a confrontational crowd.

In any other circumstance, this man would have been ridiculed and tossed out onto the street immediately.

But these people considered themselves too sophisticated to undermine the hideous dancing with jeers and criticism.

Instead, we held it in our heads, waiting for the opportune moment to talk about him as if he wasn't there.

That moment came when the music ended and aside from the mumblings of a crowd sifting out of the building, we could be heard perfectly.

The vitriol spilling from our mouths outranked any of the crudities expressed on the senate floor or written on the back of a bathroom stall door.

The fool held a stolid stare as our unadulterated viciousness swirled around him. He left quickly though, looking behind as he passed through the threshold into the cold night, a comfortable change in temperature for a man subject to our icy tone.

We found him later though. He was sobbing in the corner of some bar two hours later. His leather jacket was removed and his pride splashed in the glass sitting in front of him.

Justin Boron is the government reporter for the News Daily. His column appears Monday. He can be reached at 770-478-5753 or jboron@news-daily.com .