If you live in Connecticut you’ve been to the Xfinity Theatre. It’s like any other outdoor venue; dirt parking lots, lawn seats, and expensive beer. I would imagine the Xfinity Theatre is like the PNC Center in Jersey or the Jiffy Lube Theatre in Virginia.
Outdoor concerts are a sign that summer has arrived. In high school DMB was the first outdoor concert kids saw. Going to Dave was like hitting puberty. You always wanted to go and you heard it was great, but it was a little nerve wracking when it finally happened. You were surrounded by upperclassmen, strange adults that were way too old to be there, and cops, lots of cops. I didn’t go to my first DMB concert until senior year of high school. My friends used to say I was a late bloomer because of that. I remember getting to the venue and seeing everyone from school, not just my friends, but every single student (at least that’s what it felt like). All of the Simsbury kids were grouped into the Midas parking lot, that was where we all met up upon arrival. We’d get there around 3:30-4:00 even though the doors didn’t open until 7. After we rallied up the troops we would just wander. Maybe we’d see our friends from Granby, or West Hartford, but we mostly just walked around and avoided the police at all costs. We said this was ‘tailgating’ but we never had food, a pong table, or even a car to hang out by. Our version of ‘tailgating’ was hanging out in the a dirt parking lot and getting as intoxicated as our 17 year old liver’s would allow.
Once we got into the venue, we treked up the 30 flights of stairs to the lawn seats. That was the true testiment to how drunk you were. If you could get up the stairs without falling, tripping, or puking, you were good! Now the first time I went to a summer concert I wasn’t sure where we would stand, but all fear was lost when my friends led me to the 600’s. Just like the Midas parking lot, the 600’s was a spot controlled by Simsbury High School. It was a faux paux to venture into the 500’s (which belonged to West Hartford) or the 700’s which was Glastonbury (Simsbury will always be the better ‘bury).
This could just be a me thing, but I don’t remember listening to any of the songs that were played at these concerts. In high school I went to Dave, Rascal Flatts, OAR, Phillip Phillips was at a concert, but I’m not sure if he was the headliner, Lil Wayne and Fall Out Boy. I remember that there was a lot of saxophone at my first dave concert, and that The Head and The Heart opened for him one year. That is it. Not a lot of vivid memories, but a heck of a lot of blurry ones!
After high school I vowed never to return to the Xfinity Theatre. I was too old and too responsible to be wandering around a dirt parking lot with my friends. Alas, I did return after my freshman year of college to the Midas parking lot and the 600’s. What I found was that as I got older, the younger the attendees got. While minding my own business I was bothered by boys with braces that looked like they needed babysitters. I was horrified, and at that moment I vowed once again, never to return.
Here I am, a hypocrite, but this time I returned to work at the concert, not to fill my McDonald’s cup up with vodka. I had to be professional and coherent, two things that rarely occurred at this venue. Let me tell you, this was weird, really freaking weird. Not only were there children at this concert, but they were drinking alcohol and had their arms around other children. My friends and I played a (water) drinking game; take a sip every time you see the American flag, take a sip every time you see cowboy boots, take a sip every time you see a girl wearing an outfit that she shouldn’t be wearing, so on and so forth. Needless to say, if we were playing this with alcohol we’d be in the back of an ambulance after walking into the concert.
The worst part was that I was at a country concert. I know that people like country because it’s reminiscent of the summer and driving with the windows down, but I will never like country music, ever. I was only there because I was working, not because I actually wanted to listen to southern twangs and be submerged in a sea full of camouflage and Trump 2016 shirts. My friends and I sat far away from the 600’s, amongst the adults and those who were slightly more sober than the rest of the crowd. It was nice to hang out with my friends outside of work, but as for the music, let’s just say I left before Florida Georgia Line even stepped foot on stage.
The bottom line is that the Xfinity Theatre will always be an excuse to be intoxicate while your favorite bands play in the background. It’s not a place for children, or parents, or even sober people for that matter. I’d rather spend the extra $100 to go to MSG or House of Blues, than pay $30 to be hit on or puked on for that matter, by someone who still has a bed time.