Dedicated to culture and critical thought since 1998
8/24/1 Article: A former girl gone wild looks at the younger generation while enjoying a Jack Johnson show

Mr. Jack Johnson.

by Stephanie Craven

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I was stoked when I found out Jack Johnson was giving a free concert at the Del Mar Racetrack.I have been a fan since I saw him with Ben Harper and Jurassic 5 in May.I planned an outing for a few friends whom I thought would enjoy the show.We debated about who would drive since there were seven of us, and finally decided my friend Zeke (names have been changed to protect the innocent; plus Iíve always wanted a friend named Zeke) would haul us in his on-loan Dodge van.When Friday came, I rallied the troops and we set out for a night of carousing.

††††††††††† We loaded into the van (which one might compare to a kidnapperís: no back windows and very creepy looking) and began our trek to Del Mar.Now, we knew there would be traffic because it was a Friday during rush hour; plus we counted on lots of folks heading to the concert.But we never imagined we would sit in the air conditioner-less van for two hours.Needless to say, we were a tad crabby upon arrival.We had planned on gambling on the last few races, and I had planned on winning enough cash so that I could eat something besides Ramen Noodles and peanut butter sandwiches for a change, but lest I digress.We instead got there right before the show started.

††††††††††† I was still excited about the performance, and my spirits were only slightly dampened when I saw the crowd.This was no ordinary crowd.People were jam-packed in the courtyard and we were forced to work our way through them to the very back corner.If I stood on my tip-toes, I could just make out the top of Jack Johnsonís head.Boy, his hair sure looked nice.Once he started jamming, though, it was worth it.He played all the crowd favorites in his mellow voice.I just wish I couldíve seen better.

††††††††††† I guess this was the thought of many other people at the show.All of a sudden people were scaling the surrounding buildings to get on the roofs for a better view.One guy had the idea of climbing atop the statue in the middle of the courtyard.Soon, there were 20 people clambering on it to get a better look at Jack Johnson.After a while every roof was crowded with young-folk jamming to the music.I had a feeling this was not kosher with the racetrack management, and I was right.Soon a lone security guard came out with his flashlight and ordered people to come down.Poor, poor security guard.Not one person budged.Not having the back-up to follow through on his threats, he disappeared.

††††††††††† The show continued and Jack was awesome.He really connected with the audience and jammed for a solid couple of hours.When he was performing his encore, we decided to make our exit, and thatís when I saw something that really appalled me.There was a brand-new, shiny black Toyota 4-Runner that was on display for a contest.I had admired it upon our arrival and imagined driving home in it after collecting my gambling winnings.When we were walking out, I looked over and saw 10 to 15 people sitting on the roof, hood and bumpers of the truck.I almost keeled over.I could not believe that people were being so disrespectful to someone elseís property.I also saw people scaling an awning to get on another roof.I sounded like my great aunt as I lamented to my pals, ďThe gumption of those people!ĒI actually used the word gumption. I was disappointed in my peers, I guess.As we exited, I saw two police officers entering and calling for back-up.

††††††††††† Itís people who do foolish and immature stunts like those that give young people in general a bad name.Granted, I am not one to preach.This is coming from the girl who has been to Mardi Gras 5 times and keeps waiting to see herself on one of those ďGirls Gone WildĒ videos.No, I havenít always been the upstanding young lady I am today.But this was just absurd to me.Itís great that music can unite people and that we have an outlet such as this.But when people cross the line, it ruins it for everyone.I love being young and having fun with my friends, and I want to continue going to good shows.I donít want some 21-year old drunk kids to hinder my ability to do just that.And after Friday night, I doubt the Del Mar Racetrack management will book any artists geared toward our age group again.Theyíll probably resort to nice, tame acts like John Tesh or Crystal Gale.Bummer.

††††††††††† We finally escaped the crowd and got to the van, only to wait in traffic for another couple of hours.I donít think we spoke one word to each other the whole trip back.We were irritated and tired after battling the crowds all night.All in all, I am glad I got to see-- make that hear-- the concert.I had fun with hanging out with my friends and enjoying some quality music.Iíd rather listen to the C.D. at home rather than contend with that mayhem again anytime soon.Maybe Iím just getting old.After all, I am 23-and-a-half years old.