679 In Line

Four or five blocks down from the entrance to the House of Blues concert venue on Landsdowne Street in Boston, the line of huddled concert-goers finally concludes. It is a Monday night, February 8, 2016, and the fans are braving the elements to see Fetty Wap, the “it” rapper of the moment during what is surely the peak of his artistic career. It’s around 8pm, and half a foot of snow has accumulated on the sidewalk. Wind chills are in the single digits, and there is a bone-chilling wetness in the air. The five block long line to get into the House of Blues is moving slowly.

There are three checkpoints to enter the venue: one bouncer scans ID’s to determine if the concert-goer is underage before administering large black Sharpie X’s on the back of his hands, one attendant scans ticket barcodes, after which security guards usher guests into two lines (one for females and one for males), ask them to raise their arms in a “T” shape, and proceed to pat them down in a TSA-like manner in search of firearms or other illicit objects.

Naturally, there is some sort of hold up at each check point. At the first checkpoint, underage guests offer fake identification, resulting in argumentative discourse with the bouncer, or else struggle with frozen, immobilized fingers to locate and remove their various forms of identification from within wallets and purses. At the second checkpoint, unprepared guests without printed tickets struggle to pull up their ticket barcode on a mobile device, logging into email, opening attachments, etc. And at the third checkpoint, the security attendant asks each individual to remove the contents of his or her pockets, producing cell phones, cameras, keys, lighters, makeup utensils, and other miscellaneous items for examination.

Five blocks down the road, the repercussions of the various House of Blues entrance checkpoint hold-ups begin to cause discontent. A good number of the true Fetty Wap fans pride themselves on their “chill” attitudes, and mumble to one another about how it’s “all good,” and how Fetty won’t come on until at least 10pm anyway. They smoke cigarettes and bob their heads to the sound of the bass leaking out from the walls of the venue up the road. These are the fans that have dressed accordingly. Their oversized black parkas flaunt extravagant fur lined hoods, and their heads are covered in various bandana-beanie combinations. The snow flakes fall on their hoods and stick to the individual fur fibers, but the fans aren’t fazed. Their feet, clad in the most envied ghetto kicks in the sneaker game, shuffle deliberately up the sidewalk with each admitted guest. The line moves slowly.

Unfortunately, the aforementioned species of guests makes up less than half of the Fetty Wap line population. The concert is not a 21+ event, nor is it an 18+ event. Anyone can enter, as long as they’ve received their black X’s indicating they cannot purchase alcoholic beverages. This affects the remaining sixty-some-odd percent of the line accordingly. Small high school girls ranging from about fifteen to eighteen years old huddle together, jumping up and down and squealing the lyrics of Fetty Wap’s most popular rap hits to keep warm. They’ve dressed in tight, revealing items of clothing. Their midriffs are exposed and their feet crammed into stiletto heels and booties. The majority of the girls are barely covered in light leather jackets, evidently prioritizing fashion over function. On account of the strict no-alcoholic-drinks-served-underage policy, it is clear the girls have consumed their fair share of illegally obtained alcohol before arriving. The octaves of their voices are higher than usual, and several run up and down the lengths of the line with their cell phones glued to their ears, shouting in search of a friend. One group of girls huddled about halfway down the line are sneaking sips from small plastic bottles they produce from their purses, scrunching up their noses and coughing with every swallow.

One with mid-length blonde hair, clearly straightened and done up for the event, is not participating. She has her phone to her ear and her eyebrows are furrowed. “WHAT?” She yells into her phone above the mix of voices from the crowd and the volume of the bass. “SLOW DOWN, I CAN’T HEAR YOU KELS! ….OMG! I’LL BE RIGHT THERE.” The shivering girl hangs up her phone in panic and turns to her friends, their interest clearly peaked upon hearing her end of the phone conversation. “You guys…” the girl slurs her words ever so slightly as she shivers, her arms crossed tightly against her chest. “Kelsey didn’t get into the concert. She tried to cut the line and the bouncers saw her and threatened to kick her out. Idk what else happened, but, like, I think she must’ve tried to fight with them or something like she usually does cause apparently they’re trying to call the cops on her!” The underdressed girls gasp in unison. At once it seems they’ve forgotten the snow, the temperature, and the length of the line.

“What do we do?” “I mean… I still wanna go to the concert these tix were not cheap” “Yeah, DUH, Jen, we all ‘still wanna go to the concert’ but Kelsey is our FRIEND we can’t just desert her and let her go to the cops!” “Her ‘rents are soooo strict imagine if she had to call them” “You’re so right, ughhh” “Brit, you should go with her since we’re staying at your house, and your mom is the most chill.” “That’s not fair you guys, obviously you know that…”

Suddenly an uproar of applause and cheering sounds from inside the venue and the unmistakable first three chords of Fetty Wap’s most popular single bump from the walls of House of Blues. The girls momentarily drop their dilemma and grasp onto one another’s upper arms, jumping up and down and squealing in excitement. The ‘true’ aforementioned, dressed-accordingly Fetty fans join the excitement with their own slow claps and raising cheers. At once, every fan forgets the line and cheers in support of the rapper so dedicated to his fans that he shows up to perform at the Boston House of Blues in the middle of a February blizzard.

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