From the archives: Vampire Weekend @ Central Park Summerstage

06Sep08

To sum up this show: It rained. And rained. And rained some more. In fact, it never ended. And there was thunder and there was lightning. But the show still went on. I think.

I was excited that my brother was in town the weekend that Vampire Weekend was playing a free show at Central Park Summerstage. He has heard about all of my concert outings, but since he’s in Denver, it isn’t often that he is in NYC for a concert. After packing up some food, a towel, and an umbrella we headed to the park.

We ended up skipping the line of people waiting to get into the stage area, and instead we found a spot on the grass outside. Unfortunately, not long after we arrived the rain started. We figured it would pass, so we huddled under the umbrella and waited it out. The problem was it never ended.

There was thunder and downpours and more downpours. Pretty soon everything we were wearing and everything we brought was soaked. We tried to sit on the one square foot of dry blanket, but soon the water had taken over. Since we were in the middle of the park, there wasn’t really anywhere to take cover. Friends who hadn’t made it to the park yet were able to run inside stores or stand under awnings on Fifth Avenue. My brother and I only had one measly umbrella. I admit that we were a bit stubborn, believing it would pass. We should have left, but I was still hoping that the show would eventually go on. It was quite a sight of people–some enjoying the rain, running around soaked, while others tried to find shelter under trees.

What I could not understand was that even after the torrential downpours had hit the park, there was still a line to get into the show. Apparently the rain did not scare people away, and the security people were being very strict about letting more people enter. At this point we couldn’t believe that after suffering through the crazy rainstorm, we still wouldn’t be guaranteed entrance into the show. So we got up and got in line. This was especially insane, but at that point, we didn’t care. I was soggy and covered in dirt, and we were determined to see the show. The sun even came out…for a minute. Then it started raining again.

When we realized the line was not moving at all, I went to investigate. Turns out the security guard had no idea if he would be able to let anyone else into the park. That’s when we had to throw in the towel (well, actually, throw away our towel). As we walked towards the park exit we passed the head of the line which, at this point, was suddenly moving. Huh? Yes, the guards were letting people in. This is when I motioned to my brother to make his way towards the gate. It was kind of a mass of people so we just worked our way in.

When we finally made our way inside there was a feeling of victory. I wanted all of our waiting to be worth it. I was still hoping for a great concert. We set our sopping wet stuff on the bench and waited for Vampire Weekend to appear. And they did. And they performed, seemingly unaffected by the storm. I wondered if they had any idea how long some of the fans had waited in the rain to see them. We heard three or four songs, which were great, and then the rain started again. At this point, my brother called it quits. There was only so much standing in the rain that you could do and we had reached our limit.

After that show I swore off all concerts taking place on days with rain in the forecast. Of course I didn’t listen to my own advice and, as curiosity got the best of me, I found myself heading to the MGMT McCarren Park Pool show on a rainy Sunday afternoon. I didn’t get too far, though, since there was a line of people wrapped all around the park when I arrived. Apparently people had been standing there for hours, in the rain. I must say I have been impressed with the line-waiting skills of NYC concert-goers. They are very patient and orderly and have a high tolerance for standing outside in bad weather.

It’s been over two months since the Vampire Weekend monsoon event. It took a while, but I can finally listen to their songs again.

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One Response to “From the archives: Vampire Weekend @ Central Park Summerstage”

  1. Sure…make me look like the weak link that caved in to mother nature. I’m much more excited to see Vampire Wknd at Monolith. You better not bring any rain with you!


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