"Would it be OKAY if I started DANCING?" I'm screaming not two inches from his ear so that my staff member can hear me over the noise. The band had nearly fallen to their knees in joy when they saw the set up: all the amps and speakers in Punjab* had been piled on the stage and rock music was now flowing freely from them. Kind of an American version of the azan.
"WHAT??" The poor guy had the dubious task of watching what I resolutely refuse to call my purse while I ran around doing various band-related things to justify my largely unnecessary presence. He was perched up at the top of the stairs, surveying the audience which was seated in carefully padded, fabric-draped chairs, the kind you might see at a high school prom. They'd been arranged on top of the concrete theater tiers in lieu of stadium seating. The non-purse was lumped at his feet, folders and cameras and water bottles poking out at odd angles.
"DANCING! If I went down front and started DANCING, would that be OKAY? WOULD ANYONE BE OFFENDED?" There wasn't a lot of crowd movement, and I could tell it was getting to the band. I thought I might be able to draw some people to the front of the stage if I led by example.
He looked at me blankly and shook his head to show lack of comprehension. Frustrated, I rushed down the stairs, figuring whatever cultural taboos I might break would only add to the American rock 'n roll counter culture mystique. It wasn't till I was standing at the stage edge that I realized he'd followed me, dragging the bag in one hand. "SORRY, I DIDN'T UNDERSTAND." The music was deafening, but he managed to shout just over it. "HOW DO YOU DANCE TO THIS?"
How do you dance to rock music? It was my turn for a blank stare. Isn't that something that people just do instinctively, like eating ice cream or producing offspring or not getting in elevators with Gary Busey? But looking up at the crowd, it suddenly made sense why so few were out of their chairs: the look of incomprehension was universal. They were as clueless as he was.
"FIRST YOUR HANDS." I raised mine over my head and clapped in time with the beat. He copied me, watching carefully, bag forgotten. "NOW YOUR FEET." I stepped from side to side, letting my hips jerk, and he joined in unison. A few more from the audience came down to watch. "AND THE REST OF YOUR BODY!" I figured for a crash course, I didn't need to be much more specific. Besides, 'Rebel Yell' was almost over and we had a proper crowd around us now. Most were doing some combination of bangla and Michael Jackson circa 'Dangerous'. But at least they were out of their seats.
His jacket strained at his shoulders as he clapped his hands and grinned triumphantly. "I THINK I'VE GOT IT!"
Another heart and mind won. I'm sure that's just what Billy Idol intended.
*all six of them.