Thursday, August 23, 2007

My Def Leppard Non-Concert Experience

We went to see a concert and wound up in the middle of a freak severe weather storm!

We had gotten to Walnut Creek early, were the first in line and I’d secured front & center grass seats. (We had general admission lawn seats – at the outdoor venue, it is my ONLY chance of actually seeing the concert due to my shortness!)

One of Craig's co-workers and his wife found us in the crowd and they chatted a bit. Finally, it began to rain, not hard, and I went for a snow cone.

As soon as I had the cone-cone in my hands, all heck broke loose! The rain came down in heavy sleets and it began dropping marble sized hail. I jumped aside and under slight cover at this beer & food permanent stand to wait it out. Then the 70 mph down blast hit – and the large snow-cone cart was blown over! Two young girls had been in line behind me and I saw one scrambling to get out of the way. The second girl – I don’t know how she did it – had the opening of the cart come down around her. She slowly poked her head up, climbed out, and they both ran like rabbits – so hopefully neither was injured! The girl manning the cart was okay and managed to get to where I was standing.

During all of this, half of the other stands and tents were blowing away, too! The merchandise tent lost some stuff (had I been downwind, I would’ve gotten a free t-shirt) and garbage cans and all sorts of large debris were flying through the air.

By the time the wind died some and it was just raining hard, I ventured out. Upon returning to the arena area, I saw there were lawn chairs, bottles, bags and people everywhere. Craig was still in our spot, our blanket over his head, and soaked to the bone. Someone had given me a large clear plastic bag, so I curled up next to him and just waited for the rain to stop. I guess when the hail hit, Craig said it was like a disaster movie – everyone screamed and went running to get under the cover of the amphitheater. At first security tried to stop them, because the seats are reserved, but gave up trying. However, with the rain going sideways, everyone under there got soaked as well and the stage was drenched. Roadies covered equipment, but not before it got really wet. Finally they announced that people on the lawn were welcome to take shelter under there, as it was lightning as well, or return to their car. (Usually there is no re-entry.) Several people were injured by flying debris, too.

The show was to begin with Foreigner at 7pm, but the rain did not even let up until 7:30. (Styx was to come on a little after 8pm and Def Leppard at 9:30.) People slowly began to reappear on the grass, many searching for their stuff and all completely soaked.

Shortly before 8pm, they announced that they were going to have to cancel and reschedule the show. (I guess this never happens!) There was still lightning, another band of rain was coming, and the stage & PA system had water damage. There were some moans, but I think at that point, the storm had taken out all of the fight in the crowd. We sloshed our way out of there and headed for home.

When that down blast hit, once I knew the snow cone cart hadn’t crush the girls, all I could think about was poor Craig, still sitting on the lawn. Stuff was flying everywhere and someone said the word tornado, so I wondered if I’d even be able to find him afterwards! But he credits watching Survivor Man and Man Vs. Wild on the Discovery Channel for his ability to survive the storm – when everyone else panicked and ran, he curled up tight under the blanket and just waited it out. Besides, he said I'd worked so hard to get those good seats and he was not about to lose them!

On the plus side, it did drop the temperature from 105 degrees (a Raleigh all –time record!) to about 71 degrees!! And I will never forget this Def Leppard concert experience!

Sadly, the concert has been rescheduled for an evening I already have a seminar to teach. Oh well!

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