During the summer months, the town of Stamford, CT hosts concerts by a range of artists. These concerts make up the series Alive @ 5.
When I discovered the event, I checked to see what was coming up. I scrolled through the list to see name after name I didn’t recognise, (apart from Shaggy on the 13th August which I can’t make… and which destroys a little piece of my heart), until, there it was, an old school childhood favourite and, in my eyes, a must see; Boyz 2 Men.
The hubby isn’t much of a music or concert fan (apart from being a closet country aficionado!), so, because I was so keen to see them, I was quite prepared to go it alone. Luckily, I decided to mention it to Valerie and she nearly snapped my hand off to get tickets. It was a goer.
I rocked up about 20 minutes before 5, feeling as excited as a little school girl. A concert, in the blazing sunshine, with a band I recognise and beer and food a plenty is my idea of a good day out. Rows of metal railings and ‘security guards’ (despite being dressed in green t-shirts and shorts) made it seem like a ‘real’ concert. Bearing in mind, Stamford is a small town and I was expecting no more than a tin shed.
I waited in the short line with the other party goers to get my ticket. $5 before 6 pm. Cheap as chips. As I approached I saw the over 35 queue – ‘not far off’ I thought, and cursed that I had to wait in line rather than walk straight in, over hearing the young whipper snappers giggling at the ‘entrance for the old people’.
I got to the front and the authoritative looking lady asked for my ID. “I only have my UK driving license,” I said. “Don’t worry, I’ve put cards in here from all over the world, you’re the third UK person I’ve had today.” “Oh”, I said, “I’m not the only one who’s travelled 3500 miles to see Boyz 2 Men…” The joke was lost on her but the guy in front of me let out a little chuckle.
I was in. I walked around for a few minutes to get my bearings. It’s a fairly small area for a concert, just two streets that converge into one with restaurants either side. At the top of the street, just off the main road, they plonk a stage and the space is ready to go.
Next stop, the drinks tent. I like my beer so I had to be sure to get my drink tickets in before it got busy!
It was a steaming hot day and everyone was dressed for the occasion; blue skies and shorts seen from every angle. Of course, there was also the obligatory American flag on show.
Valerie arrived, and we decided our first stop was a bite to eat so we headed for a spot of Mexican at Riviera Maya on Summer Street.
The margaritas didn’t live up to much but the fajitas did the job. Soft, slightly spongy tortillas with hot, spicy chicken and veg and a thick, creamy guacamole. Coupled with varying coloured crunchy yet light nachos, it set us up for a night of rocking. Unfortunately, I was too deep in conversation to get snaps of the food – next time!
We finished our food just after 7 pm and headed out to the stage. It’d filled up considerably by this point, music lovers everywhere. There was a sense of calm and a family feel to the event; no crazy drunk people like many UK outdoor concerts I’ve been too. Although that part came after the concert; it seems Stamford is quite a lively town after dark. Young drunk crowds were clamouring for alcohol and their inch of dance floor space; sadly, this doesn’t make for a pleasant bar atmosphere. Although, maybe it’s just a sign that I’m getting old!
As the sun was setting on the still, hot evening, and the rhythmic sounds were pumping out from the stage, I felt incredibly lucky to be an expat. Now that we’ve started on the expat journey I feel I may always be chasing adventure.
As the crowds gathered, Valerie and I looked at each other with a knowing smile; we needed to get as far to the front as possible. Every small gap we saw we filled with our bodies, each time making more headway. A lone man in a wheelchair came up on the pavement behind us and got up, clearly unsteady on his feet, legs tangled. “I’m just trying to get to the front,” he said. He sat back down and the crowd parted to let him through. I felt an urge to help him on his quest but he seemed perfectly capable of achieving his goal on his own.
In true concert style, there had to be a bit of hand waving.
This is the best close-up I could get from a distance and with my IPhone – not too shabby I reckon!
Darkness fell, and the music ended. People began leaving in their droves; only the die hard, young party goers remained to carry on the festivities.
We went to a couple of bars to carry on the party for an hour or two, but the crowds were a bit young and a bit drunk for my liking. We found a spot in a quieter bar and did a bit of dancing but I’ve come to the conclusion I might be a little bit old for student drinking haunts these days!
Despite my age getting the better of me after the concert, Alive @ 5 was awesome. I just wish I was free to bop the night away to the legend that is Shaggy.
Let the adventures continue!