Nostalgia: A Concert Story

What is nostalgia? Nostalgia is that feeling you get when all the memories come rushing at you all at once! I’m typing this while waiting for Alter Bridge to come on, and all the memories of every single show that I’ve worked at the venue came at me like a 90mph fastball. Back then, it wasn’t called the PlayStation Theater. It was owned by Best Buy. Just sit back and enjoy as I tell you how the ride of my life began.

The year was 2011 and I believe it was late April to early May when my brother and I first got tickets to see Alter Bridge perform. As we proceeded onward towards the bottom floor, a guard was yelling “If you’re 21 & over, have your ID’s ready and get your wristband!”. I had just acquired my security guard license earlier on that year, and decided to ask about how to get the job he has. He gave me the name of his employer and the day they recruit. I thanked him and proceeded onward to the concert.

I won’t bore you with the details of me getting the job, however I couldn’t believe that I now actually had the job title “Concert security Guard”. It was a mind blowing experience as I was just so over dealing with that horrible furniture company job I had. I won’t mention them by name as it’s not worth the time or effort, however I will tell you that it was basically the “Office Space” of retail.

About a week after I got the job, I was assigned to my very first concert. I believe it was working Vans Warped Tour on Mount Pocono. That’s where I’ll never forget about this one guy while in Pennsylvania about 5 miles from the show, randomly hitching a ride the event. That random guy was named Rob “Echo” Bayer and in the short time I got to know him, he became one of my best friends. I’ll explain more about him later on.

I have worked many a show and got to meet many a celebrity working for Strike Force over the time I had at the multiple venues, however my primary venue was Best Buy as I was part of the main crew. Some memories are bad as the life of a guard. I learned that the hard way of course. Ok you’re reading this and wondering “But you loved the job,no?” Yes I did and I still do and sometimes I miss it. Sometimes. I have seen a lot. I’ve witnessed everything from brawls to seizures. I witnessed near overdoses, and many things I refuse to ever speak of again.

Now for the good. Here are some wonderful things about being a security guard for concerts. You get to meet some really wonderful people who if you’re fortunate enough, will remain your family even after you what I like to call “retire”. You get to see some awesome shows. You get to attend the show if you wanted the night off and FOR FREE!! So yeah, being a security guard has a lot of perks.

As I stated before, you get to meet people you can call family if you’re lucky enough. For example,let’s talk about that hitchhiker Rob. Rob was the type of guy that would give you the shirt off his back if he liked you. He’d would make sure you’re comfortable in where you are. When I got to Warped Tour, he showed me how to sign in and where to go as the supervisor needed all the guards front and center for post assigning. Rob also was great when it came to technology or more so iPhone Jailbreaking. Rob was also diabetic. He’d always laugh when we joked about him “shooting up” as he would inject his daily dose of insulin.

The night during the midnight madness release of Gears of War 3, Best Buy turned the venue into a retail store but there were also interactive tents and gaming all throughout the venue. In fact I got to meet the creator of the game that night and he was super chill! They also had free stuff to hand out to everyone including a shirt and a winter hat. Rob knew I had a younger brother and though never meeting him, he made sure my brother didn’t miss out. My brother wasn’t a guard, but that’s who Rob was. That night Rob also got into it with another guard and punched a wall and in thinking/hoping it was drywall, he chose the cinder block one and broke his hand haha.

I left the security life behind in 2015. I was just over it I guess or burnt out or something. One night very early in January of 2017, I had a weird feeling in the pit of my stomach that something was very wrong. It was almost like when a Jedi is slaughtered, a Master can feel it in the force. So with that feeling, I checked Facebook and saw some horrifying news. Rob “Echo” Bayer had tragically passed away via complications from his genetic diabetes. To this very day, It has been nearly 3 years now & I’m not over it. It still hurts. He was my brother. I did know he was an organ donor and his heart was donated to someone. I hope they know what they got as he left some big shoes to fill. Rob was 29. A month later Facebook reminded me to wish him a happy 30th birthday. That’s all I’m going to say about that.. (Ok that was my Forrest Gump moment.)

Nostalgia… that’s what the venue did for me when I went to go see Alter Bridge back in September. Funny how it’s the little things that can do that. I was originally going to include about how amazing the show was as I started this blog in September, however I thought this was a better fit. I’ll always be grateful that I got to have these experiences that I did. Despite his loss, Rob lives on in this blog, in my heart and the same for all those he impacted. My advice to those out there reading this, you never know what life has in store for you. I never imagined that I’d ever be a concert security guard. That I would meet some really awesome people. Opportunity does indeed knock, it’s up to you if you want to answer. Be right back, I hear a knock… don’t you?

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