Running of the Bulls INXS Style

The late afternoon sun beat down on us while we stood in line at the Maryland State Fair waiting for the gates to open for the INXS concert. With 45 minutes to go, about 150 people were in the line ahead of us and the line behind us was growing longer by the minute. Sweat trickled down my back as the minutes ticked by while we waited for an ever elusive breeze to wash over us.

A few minutes before 6 pm, they ushered us through the first set of gates after checking our tickets. Anticipation was beginning to rise in the crowd. Those that had been in the front of the line were forming a twitchy, impatient mob in front of a rolling chain link fence–the only barrier left between them and the football-field length hike down the center of race track to the stage. Like the horses from the races earlier in the afternoon, they were already jocking for position–pawing the ground, jostling each other; all wanting to be the first through the gate to get the perfect front row position.
As folks piled up behind the gate, I edged around to the side of the crowd to get in closer to the opening. I didn’t care about being in the front row; I just wanted to be close enough to the stage for good pictures. With a creak, a fair worker began to roll the gate backwards. As soon as a gap opened wide enough for a body, the first one was through and the fair worker stumbled backwards with the gate as the crush surged through the narrow opening. Men and women of all ages took off at a breakneck speed down the field. Women kicked off flip-flops and high heels. It was the running of the bulls INXS style. And one of the funniest things I’ve seen in ages. I would have turned around to get film, but I feared being trampled in my amusement.
My companions, Ann and Jeff, weren’t far behind me as we walked at a good clip down the field. Our failure to run as if our lives depended on it rewarded us with a fourth row spot just right of center stage with a clear field of vision. Good enough for my purposes. I had a good camera with a telephoto lens. I was reasonably certain that I could get good shots from there, so I was happy. Now, we just had to wait out the hour before the opening band hit the stage and another hour after that before INXS came on.
To pass the time, I chatted with a large group of friends in front of us who had make the mad dash. Bags of balloons were making the rounds and party hats were being passed out. JD Fortune, INXS’s lead singer, had a birthday that day and the crowd was preparing to celebrate with him. Birthday wishes were squeakily sharpied onto the balloons in preparation to be tossed onto the stage. The excitement was palpable when the opening band, Duchess of York, a cover band from Richmond, VA, took the stage. While I failed to recognize the songs, I have to say they were great guitar players.

Finally, as the sun went down, the opening band cleared the stage and the hard- working INXS roadies started prepping the stage. Shortly after 8 pm the first notes of ACDC blasted out of the speakers, revving up an already excited crowed. Squeals pierced the semi-darkness of the stage, one-by-one the INXS members slipped on stage–Jon, Kirk, Andrew, Garry, Tim and finally JD. The stage lights blazed as the band launched into a raucous version of New Sensation. The entire band was in good spirits and the birthday boy glowed as he bounded across the stage. This was the best I’d heard them sound in a long time. Elegantly Wasted and The Loved One both stayed in the set for this leg–two of my favorites. Taste It and Kick appear to be gone for good and I don’t miss either.
It was a great way to end the summer. Below are some pictures from the show. I love shooting rock concerts; I get to combine my favorite hobby photography with great music. Enjoy the first round of pictures. I’ll have more up later in the week. Click on the pics for larger versions.

5 Responses to “Running of the Bulls INXS Style”

  1. Elisa says:

    I feel like I could almost see it…and since I would probably recognize by face, most the BSC, it is a pretty clear pic in my mind! the running of the BSC indeed!

    Your pics are great! The one of the opener is superb. Young weren’t they?!

  2. KSDay says:

    Yes, the openers were very young. I’m guessing late teens for most of them.

  3. Bouffe says:

    Beautiful pictures… And wow, the description of the BSC stampede is quite vivid! Wish I could have been there…

  4. Anonymous says:

    Duchess of York isnt a cover band! They write all their own songs 😀

  5. norskanne says:

    Great photos! Vibrant and really catch the spirit of INXS! Thank you for sharing your concert experience!