We look out onto the sea of faces. An undulating mass of bobbing heads, hands rising above the surface and falling back down, the staccato punctuation of camera flashes like lightning. Faces rise to the forefront, then fall back to be replaced by shoulders, shoulders fall back to be replaced by chests, elbows, faces. The crowd is roaring, an unending two-tone dirge, felt low in the chest like the boom of waves, high like an incessantly screaming wind, a single babbling voice of madness scratching away at the wall of our sanity, the noise grows increasingly more powerful and laden with anticipation.
Our eye is caught as a figure is propelled above the waves, caught by grasping hands–a girl in black, surfing the crowd. Hands reach up, propel her along. At the front, a burly security guard waits. The front of the crowd presses up against the barrier; teenage girls take photos of each other with camera phones, crushing their faces together; young men throw half empty plastic cups into the air; a woman is drenched in beer, curses, but can’t see where the projectile liquid came from. Crowd surfers are lowered over the barrier, hustled towards the exit. At the back, individuals stand against a wall quietly sipping drinks. A few people slip out through double doors to visit the bathrooms or the bar. A man holds a mobile phone to one ear, a finger in the other, shouting as loud as he can. The person on the other end can’t hear a word, the shouter might as well whisper. Overhead, lights begin to dim. The noise falls to silence, motion slows to stillness. Stage lights ignite. The first note is struck. The crowd erupts.