Fairgrounds free-for-all mars otherwise uplifting show

Golly, I sure did think we had reserved seats for Selena Gomez and The Scene last Friday night. Right there on the $42.50, plus $8.65 service charge ticket, it said Row GA5, Seats 20, 21 and 22 for me and a couple of teenage Selena lovers. Bought our tickets April 5. The show sold out.

Arrived at the fairgrounds in Timonium at 4 for the 7 p.m. show and, sure enough, life was going to be just like the email I got the day before. Paraphrased: You think you got a seat. Forgetaboutit. Should also have mentioned, forget about bringing a blanket, too. Splendor on the grass is not even optional.

Gates open and an onslaught of human flesh runs toward the stage like the devil is on its tail. Ha. The color-coded bracelets the gatekeepers gave us have come to mean nothing. Blue bracelets are admitted at 5:15, green at 5:30, silver at ... didn't matter. Look out! Entry is now a free-for-all.

The crush begins and the sun beats down on us from a cloudless sky. Bend your knees, Diane, so you don't pass out. Adjust breathing, hope for a semblance of air. It's brutally hot out here in the treeless infield, where 2,000 teens, 'tweens, kids and their parental units have formed the East Coast's biggest pop music mosh pit.

Every adult should experience a concert for screaming girls in the middle of a field at least once. Gives you a great sense of life. The concert will not be starting for another hour, yet to leave the pit for a $6 glass of lemonade or a $3 bottle of water means you've lost your spot forever. Spots are important.

Our trio stands for seven straight hours, until 11 p.m., four of them for the concert itself. Beware, those with knee replacements (not me!). This show is not for the feint of limb.

A musician friend hadn't a clue who Selena Gomez is. Well, there's no reason for him ever to tune in the Disney channel's hit show, "Wizards of Waverly Place," which made her a star.

At 19, Selena is talented, poised and confident and if a kid is going to choose a big-name role model, she's a pretty good one. She's even an ambassador to Unicef's Celebrity Tap Water Campaign. Hey, tap water is important.

What I like better about her is the message she gives to girls. In a world of females beating up each other on YouTube and calling each other nasty names, it's nice to hear her lyrics: "Who says you're not perfect / Who says you're not worth it / Who says you're the only one that's hurting ... Who says you're not pretty / Who says you're not beautiful / who says?"

Who says, indeed?

Flesh got pressed at the concert. Between me and the blue-shirted dad with the kid on his shoulders, there was no space at all. Was he getting his jollies rubbing against my arm as he bounced like a baby throw-up machine? Just plain annoying. I thought I'd made it clear that he was not my friend.

"Uh, could you not do that, please?" I politely asked.

"Can't help it," he said.

State fairgrounds, get some monitors so those under 4 feet tall can see the acts their parents pay for. The kid wearing the T-shirt that said, "Today's my 7th birthday. I love you, Selena!" could see nothing. And despite the utterly fantastic show, her mom, whose T-shirt said, "I'm the Birthday Girl's Mom," and the aunt — substitute "Aunt" for "Mom" — were heard to say they were disappointed. "At least she got to hear the music," Aunt said to Mom.

Gosh, I felt so bad for the little girl that I thought about buying her one of those $40 T-shirts the Gomez crew was hawking.

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