Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Pearl Jam experience, part 3: "Just Breathe" (aka My contact high)

It's been almost a decade since I've been to an outdoor concert, and I'm pretty sure I didn't know what marijuana smelled like at that point. (No, I can't believe I didn't either, especially after spending four years at Ohio University. Yes, I think I probably studied too much in college.)

The crowd. No picture could capture its craziness. 

The concert was an eye-opener, if only because of how lax the security procedures are over here. Here's what you might expect at your international concert experience.
  • Pre-gaming starts early in Italy. There were empty beer bottles piled everywhere, and even more bottles, cups and even six packs being carried around the neighborhood surrounding Stadio Nereo Rocco. Industrious individuals seemed to be selling them out of plastic tubs (no liquor license required apparently).
  • Bring your own drinks. We bought bottles of water outside while we were waiting, and we expected security to ask us to dump them or at the least remove the bottle caps. Then we saw the people in the lane next to us carrying in open bottles of beer with no questions asked. We stopped worrying.
  • Bring tissues and hand sanitizing gel.  In all likelihood, you'll face bathrooms without toilet paper, hand soap or paper towels.
  • Practice those squats. And by the way, ladies, those toilets likely will be a hole in the floor that requires squatting and minor acrobatics. I truly had hoped to never see one of those again after our trip to China. 
  • Beer salesmen aren't as "professional." Maybe it was just our section's guy, but he was sampling the wares during the concert. Later he ended up climbing the fence separating our section from the field to get a better view. Not that he was able to stay up there long. Probably all of the beer he'd been drinking. 
  • Marijuana is a sure thing. The foursome directly in front of us had at least three joints apiece, so Ryan, Kate and I are pretty sure we left the concert with a contact high. And those four certainly weren't alone; several others in our section were lighting up as well. 
  • Vomit patrol. With all the craziness listed above, is it any wonder you need to watch where you step on the way out?

Taking a beer break ... from selling beer. 

This was No. 1 of his three joints.

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