Mo is peeved, but this time I´m not alone. There were thousands of us peeved parents still queuing outside the vast Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona on Saturday night as the first of Justin Bieber´s two teloneros (support acts) was onstage entertaining what must have amounted to a couple of hundred spectators afflicted with Bieber Fever.
On our tickets for Bieber we were informed that the doors would open at 17.30. At 19.00, having stood in one of two massive queues in the cold for over an hour and still 100 yards from the entrance, the second telonera, em, Barley Hay Stetson (?) of Call Me Maybe fame was already on the stage, playing to a half-full arena.
I was seriously beginning to worry we wouldn´t get inside by the time Justin Bieber, the absolute idol of my 13 year old Malassie and the reason for our trip to Barcelona to the tune of some €500, appeared on stage, even late, as he is often reputed to be.
Paradoxically, this seemed an even greater worry when the “organizers” decided to move things along. A policeman with a megaphone started ordering all those over 14 years of age just to “go in.”
The result was a stampede. The lines broke form and thousands of people, most of them screaming fourteenies-and-over, ran for the entrances. The esplanade of tall columns of lights became a free for all and the recent tragedy, in which five girls were crushed to death at the Madrid Arena due to a lack of organization and security, came to mind.
The same policeman announced that parents of children under 14, the under-fourteenies, were to continue to wait in line to – and I´m not joking – sign an authorization!
We parents of the young Beliebers, only present because at the time of purchase it had been stipulated that under fourteens had to be accompanied by an adult, also with a purchased ticket, were now expected to wait in line while Harley Day Heston (?) went through her act.
But we did. People complained, myself included, stung once again by how painfully, inefficiently bureacratic even the simplest of endeavours – taking your daughter to a concert – is in this country.
As for authorization, I was Malassie´s in-the-flesh authorization! Or did these Barcelona bureaucrats or promoters fondly Belieb that the likes of myself was attending this concert because I wanted to see and hear a 19 year-old Canadian heart throb use barely literate lyrics like, “Baby, baby, baby, oh, I´m like, baby, baby, baby, oh?
I´m a veteran of rock concerts and wouldn´t be seen dead at such a preppy, pretty, perfunctory, poppy affair by choice, but even us ageing rock chicks love our daughters and want to make their dreams come true. So there I was – and well aware why my presence was required.
When I was younger, I sneaked into Celtic Park free to see The Who, paid the Glasgow Apollo security staff a quid to get into a Queen gig, had to give up front row seats for Kiss or be crushed by a pressing avalanche of Kiss Army adepts and feared the Apollo´s bouncing balcony would cede under the weight and headbanging of Status Quo fans. Blue Oyster Cult, Black Sabbath, Nazareth, Rainbow, Bowie, Bon Jovi, Motorhead, Rush, UFO, Boston – in the seventies I went to what I could afford and it wasn´t half of what my guitarist brother went to.
I learned what claustrophobia meant at rock concerts.
I get security.
But this wasn´t it.
We continued to wait. Then the woman in front of me and her two daughters slipped through an askew barrier and made for the melée of fourteenies-and-over pushing to get in. In one beat I grabbed my daughter´s hand and we did the same.
“If anybody asks you, say you´re fourteen, I told her,” as we jostled under the nose of the harrassed doorperson trying to check backpacks [why would you need a backpack at a concert?] and bags and tickets and DNIs at the same time. I waved the tickets under his nose and we ran through.
It was chaos inside the stadium, with girls running shrieking down huge flights of stairs, people queuing up for drinks and hot dogs [what is it with the Spaniards that they have to load up with food at a concert?] and the sound of Kaley Jay Crepton (?) deafening our attempts at hearing the directions of the steward to our seats.
By the time we finally sat down, Sally Née Getsome - MUM! HER FRICKIN´ NAME IS CARLY RAE JEPSEN! - was starting her biggest hit. We half-listened to it as we decoated and rewatered and she soon left the stage, probably as peeved as we were and wondering what the hell Freddie Mercury had seen in Barcelona.
The Palau, at half-past seven, when the main attraction was supposed to appear, was about half-full.
Fortunately Justin Bieber didn´t appear until everybody was finally inside. If you´re interested (and over 14) I´ll give you my concert review this week. Meanwhile, have a laugh at this parody of Call Me Maybe by, em, well, you know ….