We went to see Pearl Jam in Chicago a couple weekends ago. If you missed the back story of our journey to Chicago/our field seats at Wrigley, go ahead and get caught up.
When we last left our heroic couple, they were just getting to their seats on Wrigley Field in the 103 degree Chicago sun.
The original plan had us arriving by 3:30 local time, picking up our tickets, and having a nice dinner before the concert. Because we didn’t get there until after 6pm and the concert’s start time was 7:30, we decided we would just do concession food.
And then we hit the wall of people. When we finally found our seats, we figured someone could get food if they ever went to the bathroom. If you are following along, you will remember that I was diagnosed with a pretty ugly UTI that afternoon, so we all knew who that “someone” going to the bathroom was going to be.
Since it was already after 7:30 by the time I had to pee (thank goodness the meds kicked in quickly and I wasn’t dying from pee urges), I hustled to find one that wasn’t a Port-o-John. I also wanted to find a real concession stand because we wanted water, not beer (which was all they sold on the field). The concession stand actually had food too, but since I was trying to hurry and not miss anything, I figured I would come back later for pretzels and hot dogs.
I should have just gotten the food.
The concert didn’t end up starting until 8:18pm.
I should probably take a minute to tell you about the people around us.
First there were the guys behind us who had never heard of the song “Bugs”. Pearl Jam has only played it live three times, but it’s not a rarity. It’s on the Vitalogy album. I shook my head a lot listening to those guys.
The guy next to Cort was a backer-upper and kept trying to crowd Cort out, which in turn crowded me into the old hippie next to me. Speaking of the old hippie, he was with what I assumed was his teenage son. His teenage son kept talking about the Kardashians and TMZ.
The couple in front of us had the never-ending joint. Seriously.
I get that the pot happens at concerts, but they smoked so much I was starting to get a queasy feeling from smelling sewage weed all night on empty stomachs.
So anyway, the concert started at 8:18pm
They started out nice and mellow opening with “Release”, a song that, since having depression and anxiety, has come to mean much more to me than it did in my teen years.
Eddie Vedder let us know that since they were in it with us for the long haul, they were pacing themselves. They then played “Nothingman”, “Present Tense” (it was during this song that I pointed out the irony of Vedder singing about living in the present tense with a bunch of faces stuck down in their phones. It was sad), “Hold On”, “Low Light”, “Come Back” (which always reminds me of my father-in-law), and “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town”.
This was when someone started talking in Vedder’s ear and he announced that there was a major storm with high winds and lots of lightening moving in. According to the weather watchers at the airport, it was about 30 minutes out and they wanted to use that time to evacuate anyone on the field in case something on the stage would break and fall during the storm.
So just like that we were herded into the concords and under the bleachers.
This is where my previous trip to the bathroom came in handy.
Most people seemed to huddle under the bleachers just as they entered the concord, but I told Cortney if we pushed on, we could be near a concession stand and the bathrooms.
We also ended up near a gate, so we got some fresh air and could watch the storm come in.
It was really hot under there. The next day I heard reports that people had been passing out, and I remembered seeing paramedics run by us every so often. Luckily, where we were, there was a nice breeze once the winds picked up and the rain started.
You would think we would take this opportunity to eat, but here is the thing. First, the concessions around us started running out of food (although they sold beer the entire time). Secondly, while we stood there hating our life (by this time it was about 9:30pm with no end in sight to the evacuation), Cort promised me a big old spread of room service when we got back. That ALWAYS sounds better than scouting out the last stadium hot dog.
So we waited for the storm. When it finally hit (almost an hour into the evacuation), we stayed in contact with our friend Erin who was in the top bowl, under the canopy. She let us know what was going on in the land of the above ground people.
I also thought of my friend Keely who was not sheltered…unless she went inside during the storm.
We watched the storm. It really was about a 30-minute storm, but by that time it was after 10pm. The curfew for concerts is 11pm. While Eddie Vedder had said they got the curfew extended, we wondered how far out they could possibly have given them.
At 11pm (remember it was midnight est by this time) we were sore (there was no where to sit since the ground was wet from spilled beer and leaked rain water), hungry, tired, and crabby.
We were starting to wonder if they were just going to call it a night. And maybe we were hoping they would.
Finally around 11:30 we got word that people were being let out on the field, that the soundboard had been unwrapped, and that the speakers were going back up on the stage.
By 11:45 we were being herded back to our seats. At one point, Cortney (who was behind me in all this herding) rubbed by arm with his hand. As I whipped my head to the side I growled, “Cort, that better be you or someone is getting punched in the crotch.” The poor guy next to me threw his hands up to prove it wasn’t him. We all laughed it off, but that guy found his way away from me fast.
By midnight (1am est), the concert had started again.
There is still MORE to this story, so I will give you Part III (the conclusion) next week. Until then, party on.