One Direction played the Super Dome last night — or as it’s now called, the Mercedes-Benz Super Dome, which makes it sound less like a stadium and more like one of those bubble-topped, science-fictiony concept cars of the 1950s, but that’s neither here nor there.
My seats were in the balcony. The top, top, top balcony. It was as close as I could get to the stage, considering that every seventh-grade girl from Lake Charles to Pascagoula began calling for tickets five days before they went on sale. And still, I paid twice the face value.
An hour into the show, the band performed a rousing mashup of Iron Butterfly’s psychedelic rock anthem “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” and Yaz’s 1982 dance floor smash, “Don’t Go”. (I swear, in the right hands — or right throat — “Don’t Go” could give “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” a run for best Please-Don’t-Leave-Me Ballad of all time.) Despite having some decent pipes, One Direction didn’t imbue either tune with Doug Ingle’s throaty, pre-orgasmic churn or Alison Moyet’s throaty, Pall-Mall-tinged desperation, but it was still damn good.
Like the five young men on stage, One Direction’s core audience hadn’t been born when the original songs came out, so they assumed the band’s elegantly arranged, two-for-one cover was a completely new tune. But the handful of parents who’d managed to score tickets knew differently. People of my generation were on their feet, cheering.
And that’s when it happened. A hundred yards below me, at the downstage right corner of the hulking platform that some nameless production company had erected to support the designer sneakers and slim hips of Harry, Liam, Louis, Niall, and Zayn, a dozen bodies rushed the stage. I thought they might’ve been security personnel, but my lorgnette revealed otherwise. They weren’t in t-shirts or uniforms, they weren’t chunky, beefy bodyguards: they were doughy, white-haired men in off-the-rack suits from Joseph A. Bank.
The girls (and smattering of boys) on the floor of the Dome couldn’t see anything from their low vantage point, so they weren’t concerned yet. Even those at higher altitudes had a hard time making out what was going on. But as terrible as my seats were, I was perfectly positioned to see the action.
One of the 12 men removed a taser from his poly-cotton breast pocket, taking out the nearest former Blackwater employee, who was making a lot more money keeping watch over the World’s Most Valuable Twinks than he did minding humvees in Iraq. The downed guard’s peers rushed toward the intruders, but four of the middle-aged men stepped in their way, disabling them with a dazzling combination of abdominal fat and krav maga.
About that time, a single smoke bomb exploded, obscuring the commotion. Most thought it was just part of a lopsided pyrotechnics display, but when the haze cleared, five of the men stood behind the five band members, their arms bear-hugging the group’s slender, squirming torsos.
One of the other men snatched a microphone from a band member’s hand — I think it was Harry, oh god, poor Harry — and announced to the increasingly confused crowd: “We, the executive committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, claim these five young men in Jesus’ name! We have judged these delicate songbirds to be terrorists — terrorists of the heart! We plan to inspect their young, nubile bodies for signs of Satan, then enroll them in our five-week reparative therapy camp for homosexuals, at the end of which they will receive their choice of a free drink coozie, flying disk, or visor. Thank you, and in His name, good night!”
They left the stage, boys in tow. The other seven men guarded the front and back flanks, along the way knocking over a few brave roadies who thought, “I can beat up my dad, so surely I can handle these chowderheads, right?” Not right.
Stunned silence blanketed the room. Five minutes later, we all filed out, each of us wondering, “Should I ask for a refund?” Sneakers squeaked on concrete and sobs echoed against concession stands overflowing with carbonated drinks and nacho cheese.