It’s surprising, even to me, that having been a concertgoer since the age of 10 and seeing hundreds of concerts since then, it wasn’t until I was a month away from my 33rd birthday that I spent an entire concert sans pants. But thanks to Jiffy Lube Live closing its gates up during torrential rain, leaving me outside in a pair of jeans, I was able to knock an item off my bucket list I didn’t know was on my bucket list until it happened.
To paint the picture: I wore a short-sleeve button down with psychedelic sea creatures on it, maroon New Balance shoes with no socks because they were soaked, and a pair of jade green Hanes boxer briefs for the entirety of the Dave Matthews Band’s two-hour set on June 9. And it was a blast.
My fiancée, two friends of ours and I were walking to the gates of Jiffy Lube Live at about 7:30 p.m. excited for the band to come on just a short half hour later. Once we got to the mob of people looking to get into the venue, the skies opened up. And not just bring-your-raincoat kind of rain (and we had!), it was rain that rendered our waterproof jackets completely useless and soaked us to the bone.
So, after hanging out in the car in our underwear (clothing barely dried off in the meantime), the rain let up and we headed back to the gates in hopes that the show would go on. But my jeans were still soaking wet. Knowing that wearing them just wasn’t going to happen, but I was about to enter a Live Nation venue, I took my pants with me in case anyone at the venue took issue with my outfit.
I first tied them around my waist like a hoodie — quite the fashionable accessory — when my friend remembered she had a poncho in her car. And guess what — it matched my boxer briefs! Perfect. My fiancée wore a red poncho in solidarity and we walked to the venue looking fly as hell, my pants hanging off one arm.
There was no issue getting in — they didn’t even scan our tickets, probably because so many people still had to be let in and tickets also got drenched.
Walking to our seats, I got a few laughs from people seeing that I was carrying my pants rather than wearing them. I saw a friend who looked suspiciously dry a few rows in front of me so I took the opportunity to yell “I took off my pants!” and show him my jeans.
Now that we were under cover in the pavilion, the ponchos came off to little fanfare. Maybe no one said anything because they were avoiding eyeing up my pasty-white, apelike thighs, or more likely, they just didn’t care. When I spoke to my immediate neighbor after the show — a middle aged woman with a charming southern accent and slightly offbeat but endearing clapping — she said she hadn’t noticed. Good to know.
Once the lights went down and the show began, my dancing was unencumbered and free. ‘Should I always take my pants off at shows?’ I asked myself. ‘Why didn’t I do this sooner?’ ‘Do the people behind me taking photos with the flash not know how to turn their flash off or are they taking pictures of the bearded man dancing in his underwear?’
And boy, was this music to dance in your underwear to! Even with the rain delay pushing the show back about an hour and a half, the Dave Matthews Band plowed through 15 songs from all over the catalogue, taking the time to jam out and spotlight each member with some rockers and some ballads. They even played “You & Me,” the song I sang before proposing to my fiancée, who still held my hand and let me put my arm around her even though I looked like I belonged in the mud at Woodstock.
What lesson did I learn here? There are so many things in life that can bring us down, so why add pants to that list? Pants literally weigh you down, and it’s much easier to dance and rock out without them. I can only hope that as more performers opt for audience members to lock their phones in pouches as Dave Chappelle and Jack White have, they soon give you a pouch for your pants, too.
About THE BEAT: Marc Shapiro, a lifelong musician and concert-goer, writes about regional and national musicians, concerts, festivals and the music industry. He is managing editor at the Baltimore Jewish Times, a sister publication of Baltimore Style. More of his photos can be viewed on his Facebook page, and he can be reached at [email protected].