2 summers ago a few friends and I boarded the Aurora IL train out to Chicago, it was free concert night! Iron & Wine were the main attraction, with a few opening acts, and it was good…but before any of the bands hit the stage, we had to get through the crowds.
People? I’ve never seen that many people gathered in one place in Chicago! I’ve seen a lot of people at the Chicago Art Institute, but they’re spread out; they’re all not gawking and being entranced by Night Hawks despite how good a piece of art it is. I’m fine with crowds, I really am, but this was ludicrous or at least so this is what happens when Iron & Wine plays for free was what crossed my mind.
Trying to find a seat was a crap-shoot, my bro and his girl went one way while my friend and I went another way. We lucked out and found two seats that were comfortable and enjoyable…apart from the fact that while the sun was setting I was in a position where my forehead was burning. We watched the show, had a good time, and walked back to the train station to catch the last train home…
Now that experience I had of being around a big crowd was magnified 1000 fold aboard the train! Packed in like sardines would be one thing, but that statement does injustice to sardines and whomever was on that train. I think it was overwhelming for the conductors and other train staff as well, because I was never had my return ticket stamped! So it might have been the most crowded and free train ride ever, I’ll have to get in touch with Guinness Book of Records about that one
The Aurora IL is the last stop of the train line, so it became less and less crowded by the time we got back into town. Our lesson was certainly learned; when free and concert are paired together, everyone, and I mean everyone, will show up for it.