Everybody Must Get Duffed II: Papa Roach and Time Travel
You can always come back, but you can’t come back all the way.’
_ – Bob Dylan, ‘Mississippi’_
Ever since our editor, Dr. Dean Budnick, talked of going to see Hillary Duff on this website, and created a verb for it called ‘Duff,’ which means to see a band you do not like or think you would not like, I resolved to do the same. Through a friend, I had scored VIP tickets to the Schaeffer Crawfish Boil in Birmingham, Alabama – unfortunately, depressing faux-Linkin Park knock-off Papa Roach was playing.
Still, free crawfish is free crawfish. Two pounds a plate. Two plates a time. And new potatoes. And we had a VIP viewing stand.
So, by the time I waddled my now-swollen paunch up the VIP stairs into the stands to watch the show, I was blown away. Kids were crowdsurfing and moshing and the nostalgia hit me from Nashville River Stages ’98 when I was 15 and skinny enough to crowdsurf. The lead singer took about a song-and-a-half to hop off of the stage and start walking the audience through the center avenue. He would scream, dance, and throw instruments and do everything to rile up 16-year-olds while singing lyrics that were sophomoric at best and retarded at worst.
It didn’t matter. It was awesome. He constantly threw water bottles into the crowd, told them to look out for those in the mosh pit and that they were all family and should take care of each other. If it weren’t Papa Roach, it would be Bonnaroo. He talked about songs saving lives and how he wanted his listeners to feel every emotion imaginable at one of their shows.
And while I can’t really ever praise their lyrics, I can say this: not everyone is Bob Dylan, and not everyone is meant to listen to Bob Dylan. He still sang songs about broken homes that those currently in one could relate to and he spoke in his songs to people other than me, and I realized that too often I listened to music only for its effect on myself and not to discover its effect on others.
About halfway through this kick-ass show, I felt like a teenager again. I wanted to crowdsurf and mosh, but I had a Canon 20D around my neck, and you don’t go moshing with a Digital SLR. Forlorn, I sent Shaun Williams to relive his childhood, with a promise that I would document those results from the stands. Shaun waded into the crowd until he got into view, then got six people in the mosh pit to airlift him.
Here’s to you, Shaun, and the vicarious thrill I got from watching you pretend you weren’t in Med School. Shaun, you may have lost your car keys when they flipped you, and your dignity, but you regained your adolescence for twenty-two amazing seconds, and I would rather have that than my car keys and dignity any day. I felt old, but I felt young as well. Here is a picture of Shaun at the peak of his journey and one of the end of Shaun’s journey. We all know that we are guaranteed an end to our journey, and let us all hope we haven’t peaked yet. So remember, our editor said not to forget to get Duffed in 2006. Don’t forget to get Duffed in 2007, either.