“But most of all, I wanna have some FUN!”
We self-satisfied baby boomers think we know it all, lived through the best era, that nothing can compete, so we might as well just stay home and marinate in our glorious feelings.
I was literally the oldest guy there. I saw one dude who was in his fifties, but otherwise, I was the odd duck, wearing sneakers. That’s right, it was like an archaeological site, with all the lost shoes in the sand.
WHAT AM I TALKING ABOUT?
Kaskade. Possibly America’s preeminent deejay, he had a vision, he wanted to have a BEACH PARTY!
That’s right, he may have started out in Chicago, gone to school in Utah, paid dues in SanFran, but now he lives in Santa Monica and is entranced by the lifestyle, and it took him five years to make his vision come to fruition, but last year it did in Long Beach, and earlier this year in Miami too, he wants to establish a brand, a la Lollapalooza, ultimately get to the point where it can succeed without him headlining, so everyone can have FUN!
Santa Monica said no. The NIMBYS are everywhere these days, these same baby boomers with a lot more money than sense, thank you Rod Stewart, NOT IN MY BACKYARD! And, actually the beach was in the backyard of high rises, between them and the water, and some residents were not happy, but the show ended at TEN! This was not the rave of yore, beginning long after dark and playing until the sun came up, rather Sunsoaked began at two and ended at the aforementioned ten, anybody can tolerate that for some cash for their city, RIGHT?
And Long Beach has a bad rap, as a subsidiary municipality, I haven’t been there in eons, because it’s off the beaten path, you’ve got to diverge from the 405, take the 710 to the water, where redevelopment has been done right, movie theatres, a Nike store, it looks better than it reads.
And, on the beach, 31,000 REVELERS!
Think about this, one gig and you’re set for the YEAR! Of course, there are costs, but that’s a lot of paying customers, although most only paid fifty bucks, that’s the difference between this scene and the supposed mainstream, fans can get in, tickets blew out in a matter of minutes because you’re either clued-in.
Or you’re not.
Now on the stage is a table. With speakers pointing inward at the deejay. And then a bunch of pyrotechnics, did you know there are these machines that spout fire, over and over again, they’re very hot up close. And smoke machines. And in front of the precipice, throngs of people twisting and turning, going up and down, throwing their hands up in the air!
I wanted to see what was going on, so I ventured into the crowd.
It was not crushworthy. And as you worked your way back in the horde you found giant fans spreading mist, and a humongous inflatable water slide, with a JUMP! That’s right, you climbed up nearly a hundred steps, then plopped down on the ramp and just when you were in the groove, sliding, you were thrown into the air and ultimately into a puddle.
And there was alcohol, you should have seen the lines. And food. Everything from french fries to Kogi. Food trucks along with stands. And Rockstar gave away free beverages, and damn if the watermelon no sugar can didn’t contain a satisfying elixir, this is not the horse piss of Red Bull, but I had to throw most of it out, otherwise I’d have been awake until now, that’s how much caffeine they contain.
And at Wienerschnitzel, you could spin a wheel for a fridge magnet or a hat or…
And on either side of the stage there was a medical tent, but so far no one has ever had to go to the hospital.
But the stars of the show were the PEOPLE!
Your eyes would have bugged out. Girls in bikinis. Short ones, tall ones, big ones, small ones. So many fish in the sea you became inured to them. I didn’t know breasts came in that many shapes and sizes. That you could be that thin and be so naturally endowed. This is not EDC, where everybody was wearing a costume, their body was their costume, and they showed it off, this is the California of your dreams.
And an equal number of men. Some paired up with each other, some paired up with women, an endless parade, AND NOBODY SEEMS TO KNOW ABOUT IT!
And everybody’s dancing to the music, thank you Sly Stone.
And then at eight, Kaskade came back on.
I wandered over to the VIP section. Which was far to the side, but elevated by six or so feet so you could see over the heads of the hoi polloi, straight to the stage. Even better, there were speakers in VIP, boy did they have it right, this is the difference between the rock festivals of yore and today, at Woodstock they were inventing it, now it’s been refined, there are enough bathrooms, free water stations, and…
Now there’s a difference beyond cost in VIP, it comes down to color.
You see California is integrated, we’re already living in the future, the rest of the country might be racist and immigrant crazy, but for sure the assembled multitude was a rainbow of colors, as many Latinos as whites, maybe more, blacks, multicultural people, if you’re afraid of beings of color, this was not the place for you.
But it was not scary, AT ALL! Bump into someone by accident and no one took offense. With that many people in attendance you could get scared, think of violence, but there was none of that, it was strangely calm.
But in VIP most of the people were white. So we’re still segregated, albeit by economic opportunity and success.
So you get to the point where all you can do is stand there and drink up the visuals, it’s astounding. The couple dancing furiously in front of me looked like they just came from overtime at the law office, she was one of the only people in pants, but she moved like a jumping bean.
And the girls behind me, on the couch, twisting and turning, prancing upright on the cushions.
And they were mouthing the words.
Strange world we live in, no one knows what’s going on. You don’t read about this music in the newspaper, it gets little attention, but these fans were fully aware, this was their soundtrack.
And then Kaskade said we’d know this one…
“I wanna go out
Dress up real nice and find someone
Who’s ready to run
But, most of all
I wanna have some fun”
That’s what life is about, fun. You live a life of drudgery, in the office, at the construction site, and then you lay your money down to cut loose and smile, to have FUN! And you can’t have fun without MUSIC!
And now you’re sitting there with your arms crossed, saying how this is not real music, how it’s repetitive, made by machines, that the deejays are not musicians, and then you stand in the crowd and you find yourself…
It happened spontaneously. I was checking everybody out. But then the sound infected me. As if I was injected with a serum. And first I found my shoulders twisting, then my arms shaking, and then I was no longer an outsider, I’d been swallowed by the crowd, by the music, by the good time.
And you would have been TOO!