At this point in the evening the riff-raff had arrived, so the VIP package’s shopping experience was decidedly not “crowd-free”. Vendors shot T-shirts out of cannons to the highest bidders. The grand prize was a Manly Men sweatshirt containing actual Manly Men sweat. At $1,000,000, it sadly did not move until it was stolen mysteriously later that evening.
Food and drink were the usual 200% markup. If you preferred, you could have your own wine-and-cheese tasting, complete with a sommelier coming right to your seat to refill your glass and offer recommendations. Chipped or broken glasses resulted in ejection from the arena: all were warned.
The opening acts were greeted with polite applause, interspersed with polite coughs. One musician waited for the audience to be entirely seated and silent; he stomped off the stage without performing because his time ran out. A juggler was the penultimate performer of the evening; she got a few “Oohs” and “Aahs” before she jumped to her seat in the front row and put on her own Manly Men T-shirt. The silence was deafening.
Then: the explosions – the cymbals – the strobe lights – the disco ball – the lions! The Manly Men appeared to the sounds of the audience members screaming in the agony of pure devotion. The Men swung over the stage on trapezes in honor of their idols, The Flying Wallendas. One of the twins – no one could say as to which – missed on a tumble, but was caught by 20 fans as they rushed onto the stage in 0.000002 seconds to save him. He was plucked out by Security, the rescuers were tasered back into their seats, and the show began in earnest.
No one heard a word these guys sang, since everyone sang along with them. They demonstrated their new four-part harmonic resonance on their old hit, “I Want You To Be Me,” but no one truly appreciated the genius. It sounded better on the CD anyway.
About halfway through the show, a military helicopter appeared, shining a light through the arena. Fans booed and threw their soda bottles at it, knocking it awry. It was later discovered that the chopper was doing exercises on radio silence and the pilot had thought the concert was a gathering of an army preparing to invade the town. The military personnel disembarked and sat in the aisles for the remainder of the show, blending their cheers in with the masses’.
For the finale, The Manly Men selected some of the fans who had been hanging from the rafters to sing with them on stage. Most of them got a few words out before fainting, but one managed to belt out a favorite tune in a lovely soprano, securing a recording contract on the spot from a music exec. who just happened to be in the audience. She was whisked away before she could be murdered.
After the finale, there were two more finales. One involved The Men taking turns napping while the others forced out the song through vocal cords that refused to work anymore. The second had them gathering the instruments they had played earlier that night and throwing them into the crowd, vowing to never play them again, since: “This was the best show, the best audience, the best night we have ever had, and nothing we will ever do afterward will ever compare! Ever!” Those impacted by the flying guitars and the drum set knew the truth of those words.
There was more to come at the after-party for the few brave souls able to endure the additional price. The remaining 99.9% of the attendees sat in their cars, waiting for their chance to move forward a foot. An hour later, freedom from the parking lot prison was attained. No headlights were needed, since all was lit by the fans’ warm glow. It proved that magic does indeed still exist in this world. In that moment of bliss, everyone really was a VIP.
The after-party having petered out during that mass exodus, The Manly Men pole-vaulted themselves onto their buses, drove over the arena grounds past the never-ending lines of refugees, and sped into the night on to the next stop of their tour, screaming their freedom into the heavens before sleeping the sleep of the just.