By 9 p.m., the line at Revolution Live’s box office window snaked around the cue chain and onto the sidewalk. It moved slowly and those waiting were eager to move on and catch what they could of experimental dub and roots reggae group, Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad. Show opener Junior Reid had long since wrapped it up.
And those in line were they lucky ones. At least they had tickets to the sold out concert. In just one day, the venue sold 460 tickets to walk-ups. The sign hanging over the box office window sorely disappointed a great many people, but they didn’t give up. Many searched desperately for an alternate method of entry, from trying to score scalped tickets to trying to sweet talk the venue’s staff.
“I’ve never seen this place sold out,” said concert patron Brian Gagas. “I think it has a lot to do with spring break.”
Spring break probably had something to do with it. The fact that the venue was open to all ages probably had more to do with it. The place was crawling with teenagers. 16 and 17 year old girls wearing tiny short shorts and tank tops were never out of eyeshot. In fact, it seemed the younger crowd heavily outnumbered those of legal drinking age.
Waiting that long line for will-call kept many folks from digging the dub vibes of Giant Panda. Inside the venue, people were packed like sardines in a crushed tin can. It was a mission to move ten feet. A scuffle broke out toward the front of the stage and it took security a good five or six minutes to break it up. And when that curtain opened for Rebelution, the whole building shuddered with an explosion of applause.
The stage was lushly decorated with ferns. Green lasers illuminated the smoky air. When the strobe lights flashed one could actually see the massive plumes of smoke rising from the audience.
During one of their tributes to the herb, “So High,” bassist Marley D. Williams took a burning joint offered to him by someone in the audience and took a mighty rip. Then he handed it to singer/guitarist Eric Rachmany who took a toke before passing it back to the audience.
Mixed in with their hit tunes, the group played a handful of brand new songs from their latest studio efforts like “Life on the Line,” and “Sky’s the Limit.”
Midway through the set, Williams took the microphone to shout out to west coast rapper, Nate Dogg, who passed away earlier that day.
“Let’s make him hear up there,” said Williams, pointing to the sky. The crowd responded with a wave of screaming applause. How many folks in attendance actually knew who Nate Dogg was is uncertain. Most of those in attendance must have been toddlers during his time.
After a few more tunes, the band left the stage to the ear-piercing screech of a thousand screaming voices. It was literally painful to hear without ear protection. Naturally, Rebelution returned to the stage a few minutes later to deliver a jammin’ encore to the adoring audience.
When the last song was done, the throngs of folks crammed inside the venue poured out onto the streets of downtown Ft. Lauderdale. There was no denying it was spring break in South Florida. Beautiful co-eds everywhere you turned, drunken brawls spilling onto the sidewalk from the crowded bars, crews of motorcyclists rolling down the street and police cars passing through every 30 seconds.
Yes, it was definitely spring break in South Florida.