Originally, I had planned on going to the “BLACKDIAMONDSKYE” show in October, but when I had heard about Deftones playing in their hometown (which was also MY hometown), I immediately changed my mind. It was a week before the show and I was asking several friends of mine if they were going to go, turns out I’m the only Deftones fan I know. So, August 8th rolls around and I’m psyched. I’m also a little twacked out because I didn’t get much sleep the night before. Sitting on my couch in full gear I made a plan to get to the Memorial Auditorium at the right time so I can be ahead of the other seven-hundred people that were going to be there.
Driving like a bat out of hell I got to downtown sac in about twelve minutes (while blasting Diamond Eyes of course). Rolling by the venue I saw a crowd of people already lining up around the side of the building. “F@%*!!!”. I drove down residential areas to find the right signs that read “2-hour parking from 8am-6pm ex. SAT-SUN”. Finally I found one close enough to the venue but far enough so I wouldn’t be caught in traffic with the other Def-heads. I power walked about six or seven blocks and finally made it to the Auditorium.
Looking around, I was devising some kind of plan, since I was alone I didn’t have to check with my “minions” I could just do what I wanted. I saw some people coming out of the building with signed posters and passes around their necks. Turning around I saw the “front” of the line that had whiplashed around one side of the building. So, either A) I make friends with the people in the “front” of the line and get in with them or B) make friends with someone that had a pass. Thinking it over I sat down between where the people with passes would end up walking and the “front” of the line. There were these two girls with passes that ended up sitting by me which basically chose my answer for me. One of them walked off across the street and the other stayed sitting next to me. I was texting and laughing to myself (I was bored, and it made me look more approachable).
I laughed and looked to the side at her, as she asked me “Are you here by yourself?” “Yeah, I didn’t have anyone to come here with.” Her name was Tanya, blue eyes, blonde hair, had about a decade and a half over me and was really sweet. She automatically adopted me into her duo with the other girl who had just come back. The other girl was Danielle, brown eyes, brown hair, more my age range. Tanya told her how I was here by myself and they asked me where I was from etc. I asked them about the passes and what they got from it. The passes only had PRE-show perks… not after, but it didn’t kill my spirits about getting some kind of benefit out of meeting these people. The security guards walked over and let us know that the line was going to start forming for people who had already bought their tickets.
We got up immediately and got to the front of the line. The three of us were just standing there waiting for them to get their sh*t together because they were supposed to open up pretty soon. Then the crowd starting getting a little restless, since they had pushed us back about twenty feet. So, I’m sitting here thinking that they’re going to combine all three lines that they had managed to make and we would no longer be in the front, thus killing my chances of being in the front line of the pit. This angered me. I grabbed one of the guards and asked her what was going on. “All of the lines are going to be checked at the same time”. So, a new dilemma, I had to out-power-walk these people (since we weren’t allowed to run, because they were afraid we’d rush them) to get to the front. No problem for me. I got out all the crap from my pockets (since I specifically didn’t bring a bag) so they could check me and I can get in faster.
The three of us had come up with a plan, since their seats were by the front of the pit, they’d hold a spot for me if I ever needed a place to sit down. As soon as I got checked in, I damn near ran to the spot. I got it; the front of the pit was mine. The guards in the auditorium told us all to sit down. Dani and I were waving at each other and texting one another. In mid text this guy stands right in front of me screaming “WOOOOO DEFTONES! LET’S DO IT!” obviously drunk. The people behind his legs were looking at me mouthing “do you know him?” I shook my head saying “no” and I told one of them to kick his a**. Some people in the crowd started shouting at him to sit down, and to move. Since his crotch was in my face, I had decided to put an end to this. No, I didn’t punch him in the crotch, although I should have. “Hey you! Dude, your crotch is in my f**kin’ face! Move!” He left.
About thirty minutes go by and the crowd gets up, starts screaming. They start cheering for the crew who are setting up the stage. I start laughing at the crew members who seem a little shy. More time flies by and I’m texting my friends telling them how I’m in the front row. Finally some band members get on stage, and they’re not Deftones. The band was called Circa Survive; this guy next to me assured me that they were a good band. So they start playing and the lead singer had some vocals but his actions around the stage were not so much “rock star” as they were “deranged monkey”. I look over to the guy that I was talking to earlier and I see him passing back a blunt to some other guy. Looking up I see clouds of smoking hovering over the front row of the crowd.
After one of the songs the lead singer said, “It smells like some crazy California weed in here” and the crowd roared with cheers. As soon as they were done everyone was hyped up for Deftones. At this point the people behind me disappeared, and two guys appeared. They introduced themselves as “(blank) mutha f*ckin’ (blank)” and “(blank) mutha f*ckin’ (blank)”. I told them, “We may be related.” “Why’s that?” “Cause my name is Sri mutha f*ckin’ Sherrell.” “Oh sh*t we ARE related!” We all start talking (well… I was talking, they were slurring) and they had decided that it was their mission to protect me from the people around me. I had no problems with that. A little time goes by and I start seeing band mates appearing and we all start screaming as they set up. Chino finally walks out and grabs the mic and yells “SACRAMENTO!” Everyone of course goes wild and they start to play. “Hexagram” was the first song of their set. I can hear the drunks around me singing off key… off word… but it was all in good fun. The feeling of singing along with your favorite band to your favorite songs is one of the best feelings a human being can experience.
As the crowd got more into the music I noticed a change in vibe. It was no longer the good crowd that the guards weren’t worried about rushing them to get in. It was the crowd that was drunk and high and fiending for a piece of Deftones… mostly Chino. The guy behind me kept screaming “SHOW ME YOUR SOCKS YOU SEXY MOTHER F*CKER!!” Chino actually heard him and said “Show you my what?” He pointed at these things in his ears and said, “These things are magical. I can hear you. I can hear YOU. I can hear your crazy a** ALL the way back there!”
By the time they got to the “Saturday Night Wrist” album people were flying over the rails of the barricade being caught by the guards. Some girls had to get snatched out of the crowd looking drugged and half way passed out. The weed smoke had infected everyone it came into contact with. People were clawing over other people to get a little higher, screaming at the top of their lungs. No one was standing still, or straight. Chino was jumping around onto the barricade, onto the speakers, onto the crowd, grabbing hands that were grabbing on him and spitting water onto the guards. The crowd was surging, itching to get a piece. Some even threw things on stage, including: a flip-flop, a cell phone, countless t-shirts and other various articles clothing (surprisingly no one threw any panties).
The show was beyond amazing, beyond reckless and worth every penny. No video can honestly capture the energy of the band or the crowd screaming their name. I felt the vibrations of the bass through the rail I was holding onto. With every song the crowd got wilder and louder. Everyone seemed swept up in their own world where it was just them and the band. Even the guards couldn’t help but to mouth the words to the songs that they knew (“Change in the House of flies”). The lights were blinding but you couldn’t help but to stare dead at them like a moth to a flame. I kept giving Sergio the “I love you” hand gesture. He saw it and smiled while playing his bass guitar. Abe resembled “ANIMAL” from The Muppets banging the crap out of his drum set. Chino was bouncing from one end of the stage to the other, to the crowd, to the stage floor and back up again. Stephen’s face was lost in the massive amount of hair he was swinging back and forth as he played. Frank was head bobbing along to the beat as he mixed the sounds.
I started to get a little crushed against the barrier and someone behind me was elbowing the sh*t out of my back. Turning around one of the guys asked, “Do you want to get out?” “No. Get your damn elbow out of my back!” I turned back around and continued to head bang. About three people flew over my head within the next ten minutes after that. Then they played “Head Up”, and before that moment I had kept some composure, but after I head the first few cords I lost it. I felt like that shark from “Finding Nemo” that was nice till some blood came his way. My eyes dilated and I went nuts. I’m sure I scared everyone around me as the only girl who would head bang that hard to any song that they played.
It was getting hot and I was getting tired with hardly any food in my stomach and a huge headache I’d been fighting all day. Never occurred to me to quit, I just needed some water. Just then, Chino grabbed a water bottle off of one of the speakers and drank some. The crowd started screaming as he got closer to the stage and he was coming towards my side. He gestured at the bottle like “you want it?” and tossed it. I caught the bottle and it poured all over me. There was still some left so I drank out of it. I don’t know if it was the water, or the fact that I just drank out of the same bottle Chino did, but I was energized (just in time for them to play “Engine No. 9”).
Soon after the concert came to a close and the band mates started throwing stuff off stage. I found the girls I was with and they told me to meet them up in the bathroom. Got in there, fixed myself up and got out. While I told them what had happened and why I had a water bottle in my hand this man walked up to Dani and started talking to her. She told me it was Chino’s cousin. We get outside and some guy hands me a flyer with Deftones on one side announcing the show I had just came out of (this becomes important later). Tanya tells me that her and Danielle are about to leave but they gave me a tip to meet Chino. “Go out by the busses and wait, you won’t be alone.” So I left them and went across the street from the backstage area and sat down. A man walked by me with some stuff in his hands and a guard stopped him. “You guys can’t be over here.” The man insisted that someone official told him that it would be no problem for him to meet Deftones if he came to that spot. I got up and started agreeing with the man saying that someone had told me the same thing. The guard was nice enough to tips us off, “stand in front of the barrier across the street”.
We started walking and I introduced myself, “Hey my name is Sri.” “Mike”. We get there and stand, and wait, watching people go back and forth from the barrier to the backstage area. It was getting cold out so I decided to put on my soaked jacket and sit down. I asked Mike how long we was willing to stay (since I didn’t want to be there alone) “about an hour”. For some reason I had it in my head that I wasn’t going to leave until that bus left and there was no chance of me meeting Chino or anyone from Deftones. Then I hear someone say “I called the ambulance already!” and I look over to where everyone was. I don’t see anyone laying down hurt, but there was Chino engulfed in people. I didn’t get an autograph, since he was walking hastily with his family somewhere and no one had a pen.
The ambulance came and left, no one was hurt; I was confused but still had my mind on my autograph. This girl comes by named Nancy; apparently she works with Chino’s sixteen year old son. She tells me that it was okay for me to step over the barrier and meet Chino; I take Mike’s pen and go with her. Then she tells me she has to leave, “they’re not going to let me stay here without you with me”. Nancy grabs some guy and tells him that I’m good with the guards to sit there and wait. So I’m sitting there and this girl smiles at me and asks if I want a cigarette. “No thanks, I don’t smoke” “Neither do I.” “What’s your name?” “(I forgot her name) and this is my friend (blank) (who was Chino’s niece). Why are you sitting in the cold?” “I’m trying to get Chino’s autograph”. She grabs an old man and tells him to get me an autograph from Chino.
He takes me up the stairs and I’m fixing my hair. I see Chino and the man tells him that I’m here to get an autograph. He signs the Deftones side of the flyer “To Sri, Chino” I tell him that I caught the last water bottle he threw that night and it soaked me. “It did? Hahaha I’m sorry.” We laughed and he gave me a hug. I got back down the steps with the old man and thanked the girl. “Don’t thank me, thank him, that’s his dad.” I was kind of shocked but I turned around and shake his hand “thanks dude”. Seeing Mike behind me I hand him his pen. Bruised, scratched up and satisfied I took off thinking to myself, “this is one of the greatest days of my life.”