[SleepingDragon]: 268.Metal Daze.Chapter 12 - The Big Show
I been drinking all day
Yes I got a date, a midnight raid
I had to get away
Don’t need a reason, need to be cool
I got my whiskey, I got my wine
I got my woman, and this time the lights are going out
(Saturday night) high
(Saturday night) high ’n’ dry
-High and Dry
It was not yet dark when the two couples decided that camping was not where the party was. They still had reefer but were out of booze. There were a few Marshmallows left but the fire had burnt low. They were not far from Walloon Lake, as the crow flies, so they piled back in the car and headed for Disco Dan’s place.
The old farmhouse was rocking as usual when they arrived. There was a quarter barrel in the sink, and Dan had out his guitar and amp, making his best effort at REO Speedwagon and Tom Petty tunes. A dozen or more local heads were there, drinking and getting high.
When Dan felt like a break, he offered the guitar to Steve for a while. Steve took the opportunity to show Roxy some of the new material he had been working on. He then turned the guitar over to Matt who played and sang some of the familiar Flame Sabre stuff.
They Stayed at Dan’s, partying until the sun came up, and crashed a while on his couches and living room floor. Around noon, they went to Matt’s place so Steve could pick up his own car and go home for a few things.
Steve’s parents were not at home when he arrived, something for which he was glad. He would write his mom a letter from the west coast but didn’t want to face her in person with the details of why he was ‘running off’ to California. He filled a couple garbage bags with clothes and threw them in the back seat. His guitar and amp went in the trunk where it could be locked up for the concert.
He and Roxy had time to go into Boyne and find a buyer before the show. They opted for two bottles of Boone’s Farm and a fifth of Haller’s Reserve. They smoked a joint with Charlie for his services and headed out for Castle Farms, Roxy sitting close to Steve in the front seat as they each worked on their own bottle of wine.
The line of cars waiting to get into The Castle was longer than Steve had ever seen. Concert traffic had been divided into separate lanes for at least two miles in either direction of the venue. This was going to be one of the biggest shows the outdoor arena had ever hosted.
Their car was finally parked on the south side of the highway, across the road from the castle itself. Hundreds of heads could be seen making their way to the gates or to porta-johns stationed at intervals around the parking lot. Steve and Roxy sat necking in the front seat of the car a while, finishing their wine and starting on the booze while taking in the scene. At length, they were startled by a pair of mounted police who came to the window of the car.
“You got tickets?” The female officer asked from behind a pair of dark sunglasses.
“Yea, right here.” Steve answered, digging in his pockets and producing the two lawn tickets he had purchased days ago. His fifth of whiskey was spilling out onto the floor by his feet.
“Okay then.” The officer spoke. “Move along. We can’t have people loitering in the parking lot.”
“Yes officer.” Steve answered politely as he and Roxy climbed out of the Impala. The two cops went on their way. When they were gone, Roxy burst into giggles, hanging on Steve’s shoulder.
“Whew,” He said. “That was close!”
Arm in arm, they made their way through the lot and across the highway to the main gates, where they were herded inside the lawn section of the arena. The place was already filling up, and they were fortunate to find a standing place halfway up the knoll. When they had settled on a spot, Steve lit a joint and passed it to Roxy.
“Hey, I’ll match you one!” said a voice from behind him as Steve was taking his second toke. Steve looked behind him where a guy with long blonde hair and a Krokus concert tee held an unlit doobie.
“Sure thing man.” Steve answered and passed his joint to the guy. The three of them finished Steve’s joint in short order and the other guy lit his when the first had burnt to a roach. He passed it to Roxy first who took a big hit and then gave it to Steve.
Steve took a long draw on the doobie then crinkled up his face oddly.
“Man!” He yelled to the guy over the growing noise of the crowd. “What is this shit?”
“It’s dusted!” the guy answered with a smile. Taking a big hit for himself and passing it back to Roxy again. Steve had a brief flashback of the acid he’d taken at the Scorpions show and waved off the joint when Roxy tried to pass it to him.
“No thanks.” He said simply. “I’m set.”
“Suit yourself, babe” She said, taking another big hit. She finished the joint with the stranger as Steve watched. He hoped she knew what she was doing. He’d never done dust before and he was plenty wasted as it was.
As they were finishing up the smoking, Krokus hit the stage with Headhunter, followed immediately by Eat the Rich, which were also the first two songs on their latest album. The crowd went bananas. It was the biggest reaction Steve had ever seen to an opening act. Everywhere a sea of metalheads pumped fists into the air and sang along to the songs.
Steve and Roxy rocked out, arm in arm as Krokus thundered through their forty-five minute set. As the band was winding down with Screaming in the Night and Long Stick Goes Boom, The pair made their way to the concession area where Steve purchased a pair of shirts for Roxy, one of each for Krokus and Def Leppard. She donned one and tied the other to her waist, opting to wear the Def Leppard shirt for the concert.
They hit the porta-johns and grabbed drinks before heading back to their place on the hill. The sounds of Nazareth’s Hair of the Dog permeated the air as they waited for the headliners to take the stage. Finally, the music ended and the floodlights around the stage were dimmed.
The roar of the crowd grew along with a low, rumbling bass note as the cloud of pot smoke moved overhead on the wind. Somewhere down front, a massive ‘Union Jack’ was being waved by several fans. A chill went down Steve’s spine and he looked over at Roxy, who already had her fist in the air, screaming and jumping up and down. Def Leppard exploded onstage with a powerful rendition of Rock till you Drop.
Absolute frenzy overtook the arena as the band rocked through Photograph and Let it go. As loud the band was, the audience was louder, and soon it was hard to tell what song they were playing. After half a dozen tunes, Joe Elliot addressed the crowd as the rest of the band broke down Rock of Ages.
“Is it loud enough for you!”
“NO!” came the resounding answer from the sea of metal fanatics.
“Then let’s turn it up!” he yelled and sauntered back to large volume knob on the faux boombox which was the backdrop of the stage. He made a show of turning the giant knob as the bass and drums became thunderously louder, finally being heard over the ever-increasin
Steve looked over at Roxy, a big grin on his face. This is awesome! Suddenly he realized that Roxy was not doing well. She was staring off into nothing, her face peaked, her countenance pale.
“Are you ok?” He said, putting his arm around her. She shook her head, raising her hand for him to step back. Suddenly she was vomiting on the ground. The nearest people to her stepped back, wanting to avoid being spewed on or stepping in vomit.
She lurched again, then again and soon it was evident that she was having trouble breathing. Then she fell to the ground and her body began to convulse in spasms while Steve looked on horrified, not knowing what to do.
He looked around frantically for security but the place was so packed that he couldn’t see one anywhere. He jumped up and down shouting, “help! help!”, but again it was no use. He was one of thousands of people jumping around and yelling.
Not knowing what else to do, he picked her up off the ground himself and began making his way toward a first aid tent to the left side of the arena. Panicked, he looked down at her convulsing body. A trickle of blood ran down her face from her nose. He picked up his pace and began running through the crowd with her.
“Roxy!” he breathed. “Hold on! Oh Roxy!”
He was nearing the side of the lawn area when a pair of security people noticed him carrying her body and jumped to his aid. They rushed her to the first aid tent, yelling as they went.
“Ambulance!” one cried, “Get the ambulance now!”
Almost immediately, the lights of an ambulance stationed nearby could be seen as it began backing up to the first aid tent. A woman of the EMS team already had an oxygen mask strapped to Roxy as they put her on a stretcher. A hand gripped Steve by the arm.
“What happened, kid!” another of the team asked him.
“She...” He began. “She smoked some stuff. I think it was angel dust!”
“Was it yours?”
“Of course not.” The guy said skeptically. “Are you related?”
“No.” Steve admitted, not knowing what else to say.
“Then step back please. We’ll handle it from here.”
They were loading Roxy into the ambulance and Steve took a step towards it.
“Relatives only, kid!” one of the medics snapped.
“Where are you taking her?”
“Charlevoix ER” came the short answer as the ambulance door closed.
Steve found the nearest exit and ran to his car, panicked the entire way. He climbed in and made his way to the parking lot exit where he was stopped by a parking associate.
“Not enjoying the show?” The guy asked.
“Get the fuck out of the way!” he snapped at the guy. “My girlfriend’s on her way to ER!”
The guy moved aside and motioned him through. Steve sped most of the three miles to the hospital and parked in the emergency room lot. Hopping out of the car, he ran inside the hospital.
“A girl just came in!” he yelled frantically to the receptionist. “Where is she!”
“Calm down honey.” The woman said coming around the desk. “Right this way.”
She led him to a small room off to the side of the waiting area. There was a table with a few chairs placed around it.
“Try to stay calm.” The woman assured. “Someone will be right with you.”
She left the room and Steve paced the floor. Minutes seemed like hours. Finally, a pair of police officers entered. He turned to meet them.
“I’m afraid we have some bad news, kid.” one told him. “Your friend didn’t make it.”