The strangest part of a concert is the time between when you get there and when the bands start playing. It's not so bad when you're seeing a small show, one where you know a lot of the people there and have already formed opinions about them. It's not even that bad when it's a gigantic show, and all the faces contort in your head until all you see is one American Eagle wearing blonde laughing at you for being different. No, the weirdest show you can go to is one where there are representatives from each type of social group and you start to feel like it's some twisted version of United Nations for high school cliques.

That's how this show was. My friends and I sat to the side in our own little group looking around and judging, as everyone else was sure to be doing. Farther away on the floor, where general admission tickets would allow you, there was a group of punks trying to look threatening towards some expensively dressed teens. They were glaring as if Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren had stolen away their concert and put it in the hands of some snobs. The preps themselves were running to and fro amongst the Hot Topic kids, gossiping and laughing at the somber stoners in another corner. The twenty-somethings were trying to look as if they weren't part of any type of elite group, but in doing so were just as trendy as the preps. Several parents, or at least older people, stood at the back with their arms crossed, waiting for the show to begin. Who knew if they were there on their own, or if they were there to watch their kids. On the stage were the band's roadies and techies, setting up the drums and tuning their guitars.

By the time the band announced who they were and had started to play, everyone had a concrete impression about the type of person each of the others were, without having even talked to them. Slowly, everyone moved forward towards the stage, cautiously avoiding all that we thought we despised. But when the angst-ridden lyrics and the pounding chords began to seep their way into the bodies of everyone there, things began to change. All eyes were trained on the singer and before we knew it, everyone was pulled as close to the stage as possible, surrounded by strange people who we realized we didn't know. I closed my eyes and breathed in the scent of putrid teenage sweat. Our collective sweat, I realized, and it all smelled equally disgusting and beautiful at the same time.

By the time the second band had started to play, everyone was soaked with sweat. Whether it was your own or not began not to matter so much and the cliques that had materialized at the beginning had been destroyed in a few swift hits of the snare drum and plucks of a guitar string. This second band was a ska band, and those who knew it began to do the dance associated with ska, skanking. Everyone caught on and flailing arms with clenched fists were flying everywhere. Some of my friends had started a mosh pit near the stage, and there I caught sight of a mohawk colliding with an Abercrombie shirt. And when some crowd-surfing stoner's converse collided with my forehead and a skanking forty-year-old's fist connected with my jaw, I knew we were all the same…at least until the next concert.

This is a piece I wrote about my first real concert. (Billy Joel, Spice Girls, and Green Day not included…heh heh) Anyway, this is about how I felt during that show, and how it changed my life.

By the way….Percolating Peet's update on the way.

-Andrea Fierce