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On August 3rd 2017, we were in Central Park in New-York, more specifically on the magnificent belvedere that overlooks the Lake and Bethesda Fountain (photo). We were enjoying that beautiful sight within an idyllic setting, savoring every second of those special moments with a light heart. A sudden sound broke the ambient tranquility: the first chords of «Dirty Little Secret» from The All-American Rejects – one of our favorite bands since numerous years – at a high volume, arousing the cheers of an adoring crowd. Then we realized: it was one of the concerts of their American tour with The Social Animals, The Maine and Dashboard Confessional. It was taking place on SummerStage, nearby. We had reserved tickets for their concert in Boston on August 6th. As we were organizing our trip, we hesitated between those two shows. We finally chose the one in Boston for various reasons: tickets were cheaper, the amphitheater was covered in case of bad weather, and we thought that given that New-York is much bigger than Boston, there would be more things to see and to do and thus less time to spend for that show. The only inconvenience was that the band The Maine was not on the bill.
As a result, we had completely forgotten that New-Yorker concert and did not think about it any longer, the more as we were caught in the exhilaration of the discovery of the Big Apple. That is why finding ourselves in that very spot right when The All-American Rejects started its first track was extraordinary. What a happy coincidence! It was so unexpected! It is one of the first bands on which J.R. and I had a crush on the early 2000. Their music accompanied us during our first rides to the Arcachon Basin, and then later during our trips abroad. If someone had told us at that time we would find ourselves about twelve years later in Central Park in New-York, U.S.A. living that exhilarating moment with them! What a bliss!.. That moment was great in two ways, because not only we were delighted at the moment, but also we were looking forward to that show on the 6th of August in Boston.
When that day came, we were coming back from Cambridge after we visited the prestigious Harvard University. When we entered the BOA Pavilion, we had the bad surprise to notice that the band The Social Animals had already begun its show. However, it was not 7 P.M. yet, scheduled time of the start of the concert. Fortunately, we were early and we only missed a few minutes. They played until 6:50 P.M. We went to take a short walk in the wide area in front of the amphitheater were diverse stands ran along, while waiting for the next band that we thought to be The-All American Rejects, as expected. But, we had the very nice surprise when we looked at the set list from the concert posted in one of the stands: we realized with happiness that contrary to what was scheduled, The Maine was on the bill... like in the Central Park concert! That was the reason why The Social Animals started at 6:30 P.M. instead of 7:00 P.M. As a result, The Maine were to perform at 7:00 P.M. Yet another happy unforeseen event related to that concert!
Excited by that unexpected good news, we returned hastily to our seats. Their part was memorable! As they were playing the toe-tapper «Am I pretty?», three usherettes dressed with red polo shirts improvised a choreography in the central aisle in perfect synchronization. That moment was great!.. It was nice to see them disconnect from their jobs a few seconds to have a blast too. The other highlight happened during «Girls do what they want»: the singer invited a fan on stage because it was his birthday, after he asked a security agent to give him a backstage-pass. He lent him his microphone so that he sings the chorus. Well, he was a lousy singer, but he had the time of its life!!! That was very cool of them. He is not about to forget it!
After that, we took another walk, taking the time to admire the illuminated Waterfront reflecting on the smooth moiré of Boston Harbor in the night mildness. Then came the long awaited part of The All-American Rejects. The Maine warmed up the audience just before, and they definitely stirred it up! The atmosphere was going full swing. That was as much memorable. Finally, Dashboard Confessional - the headliners - closed the concert favoring us with a show essentially composed of acoustic songs, which allowed us to realize the singer’s extraordinary vocal performance: his voice was warm and strong; he really carried a tune, and we were stunned by its ability to hit low notes as well as high notes, and above all to hold the notes at length. Obviously, they played some punchy songs, notably for the encore, inviting everyone to get closer to the stage for a crazy grand finale.
Those few hours are part of the best of the trip. We had already been to that kind of show in France, but watching those bands as they perform in their country of origin makes perfect sense. Moreover, there is no language barrier between the musicians and their audience. As a result, everybody sings along in unison with the singer in a very communicative emotion. It is really poignant. And for the same reasons, bands communicate more with their fans than in foreign countries with a different language like ours, making them laugh, making them take more part.
As my friends were leaving to get back to the car in the parking lot, I stayed to buy a The All-American Rejects t-shirt in a stand, torn between the happiness of having attended that show, and the sadness of its end. In my imagination, I still could hear the music, the cheers of the audience, aware that those few last hours were already part of the best moments in my traveler’s life.
Then, I joined my friends in the parking lot. The exit was congested because each driver was paying the due sum with his credit card. But we did not have any problem with that because it allowed us to stay in the moment. And what a great atmosphere! Everybody was having fun inside or around his car. We opened the sunroof and J.R. and I sat on the ledge. We unfolded our «Enjoy the ride» streamer. We do not miss any opportunity to promote our website! The music was blasting on our radio. We had a lot of fun, like everybody else around us. Near us, a drunken and out of control guy kept getting out of his girlfriend’s car to shut himself away in the trunk. He did it many times, triggering everyone’s laughter. Then, he came and talked to us. We introduced each other and after a while, he said «I love you» to all of us. Actually, he said it to everyone he met. He made us laugh a lot. He was clearly a happy drunk. We would have liked to make him sign the streamer to keep a memory of him and of our encounter, which is the purpose of that by-product. But given its drunkenness, we were afraid he did rubbish on it with the permanent marker.
Finally, his girlfriend came to get him. She seemed both amused and put out by his jokes. She started to have her fill with that and wanted to leave. We got quickly to know her and talked a few moments. Then she kindly asked him to get back into the car, for the umpteenth time. He left us telling us again «I love you» and adding «Be safe». The problem was that he got into the car every time, but only stayed for a few seconds to get out and go to meet other people in the parking lot… or to shut himself away again in the trunk… His girlfriend could not take it anymore. She finally got out in her turn – completely exasperated – to ask him to get out of there and get back into the car, and above it all to cut definitely the comedy. We were laughing our heads off but we understood her.
The general amusement in the parking lot lasted a few more minutes, then we finally went back home, already with a touch of nostalgia, talking about those fabulous moments we had just lived. That concert was extraordinary before, during and after its course: actually, since that unforeseen event in Central Park in New-York until that funny episode in the parking lot. That night will remain unforgettable. We could hardly finish better our stay in Boston, and in the U.S.A. generally.
Published on January, 4th 2019