The Power of a Nightmare

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As the lights slowly begin to dim, I suddenly can’t tell which is louder; the booming of my heart, or the roaring of the people around me. It was a unexpectedly cold evening up at the Performing Arts Center at Darien Lake Amusement Park, but the excitement and anticipation from the crowd seemed to generate the heat of a thousand suns. I began playing with the woolen sleeves of the hoodie my boyfriend had let me borrow for the night; the diminishing lights casting ominous shadows off of it’s faded grey color. A soft murmur began to insinuate in the crowd, beginning slowly and almost obscene. Then it began to build and build in intensity and clarity, until every single soul in the arena was gasping the same words: “Avenged Sevenfold!”

When the lights were completely out, I screamed excitedly at the top of my lungs. Although the seats my boyfriend and I had wasn’t exactly what you would kill to have, it was still amazing. We were sitting in the third-to-last row of seating available, and yet somehow we had a perfect view of the spacious stage that was sprawled out yards away from us. The stage was something that the Gods would have aspired to perform on; it jutted outwards like the hand of a massive giant, it’s edges just kissing the front row of seating. It had two curtains; one was a long, veil-thin black material, transparent and thin. The other was a much heavier fabric, billowing onto the floor like a shadowy waterfall.

Behind us was an open field, where as the day had progressed, had filled to the brim with eager fans that wanted to see the performance as badly as my boyfriend and I. I turned around behind me and saw an ocean of bodies, all pressed up to the safety railing to get the best view possible. I watched as complete strangers began to converse about their excitement, telling tales about how they were first introduced to this band, what their favorite songs were, and how much longer it would take for them to come out.

Suddenly, a soft tapping began to be heard, as if rain drops were being amplified to the core of every individual in the center. A collected scream erupted from us all, as we all stared hungry-eyed at the stage. For a moment, there was only silence, as everyone waited with growing anticipation for the arrival.

Then, from the stage, a fist of fire broke free from the stage. It was like a spirit; a beauty to see, but gone before you could even have time to capture it’s full radiance in your thoughts. Then, another bolt of fire burst skyward, and then another. They burst up in twos, like two fiery demon hands stretching out from the floorboards.

Then, as the last two fire clouds burst through, a black curtain dropped. Behind it was a large skeleton head with bat wings, which was Avenged Sevenfold’s known symbol. The lights were foggy and dim, casting only blue lighting off the stage. The only other light was the fire burning out of the eyes of the head.

As the blue lighting began to slowly intensify, so did the soft hum of a distant organ. The melody was ominous and foreboding, building in strength and passion with each new note. The crowd roared over the growing music, begging the barren stage to bring out what we had been waiting for for endless hours.

Finally, the stage ignited into a blaze of reds and blues, and a single spot-light casted upon the drummer as he began ripping out the opening solo. Fire exploded off the head of the skull, and then out of the darkness, the lead singer emerged like a demon, stealthing upon the stage with the intentions to cause complete and utter mayhem.

As the singer began to boom out the opening to “Nightmare,” one of the bands newest and most empowering songs, the crowd began to do the same. Every soul began to move in unison to the beat of the bass, and scream out at the top of their lungs every word and rhyme that the singer was chanting. I looked next to me as my boyfriend slipped his hand into mine, tapping out the savage beat of the drums with his free hand.

As I stared around that night, I couldn’t help but become entranced by the power a rock concert could have on a mass amount of people. It simply amazes me how music can take every kind of person and allow them to share a common interest and express themselves in a similar way. Through music, we all became one person. Each slam of the drums representing the precise beat of our heart; each lyric that flowed out of the singer’s damp lips representing the words we had been too afraid to say. We were all connected right there and then; and because of that one concert, I was shown that no matter how different someone may seem from you, there is always something that unifies you in a way that connections you in a way that defies the standards of simple association. Music is power; and music, no matter if it be hard-core rock or soft pop, can bring together pretty much anyone.





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