“It’s a scam! We all got WeScammed! WeScammed by Cam’ron!”
I arrived at Beckham Hall last night at 10 p.m., the scheduled start time of the Cam’ron concert, and found a line that wrapped around the building and traveled west up Wyllys to the edge of the parking lot across from Admissions. The line ended in a noisy scrum around Beckham’s Andrus-side entrance. No one entered the venue for the next 90 minutes but the line pressed forward into this increasingly dense crowd so that we often had the impression of moving.
What follow are notes and quotes from the scene:
— A man near the Wyllys entrance to Usdan peed against the side of the building, probably twenty feet from an indoor toilet.
— A member of the class of 2014 climbed the wall of Beckham to look in the second-storey window.
— A smashed egg lay on the ground. Overheard: “I’ve seen eggs all over campus, is this a thing? They always look fresh like that.”
— Pairs or small groups of line-standers periodically skipped ahead, attempted to climb through a window, or (many times, and for no clear reason) ran around the building. Overheard: “This situation raises a question as old as civilization: if everyone else is breaking the rules, why should you follow them?”
— Dimly audible through the Beckham windows, the bass line of “I Am a God.”
— Chant of “Let! Us! In!”
— Around 11:00 p.m., shouts of “Shut the fuck up!” followed by no change of any kind. The people in front of me left and ran around the building.
— “Apparently there was a fight.”
— Some people returned from around the building and, still running, entered the crowd at the front of the line.
— A proliferation of rumors to the effect that Cam’ron was not present. Overheard: “It’s a scam! We all got WeScammed! WeScammed by Cam’ron!”
— “This is a test of society and society has failed us.”
— “What if this just isn’t gonna happen?”
— “What if Cam’ron is just a hologram?”
— “What if the show has been moved to another location and we don’t even know?”
— Five or six people in front of me, including a male-female couple with whom I’d been speaking, ran and climbed through a ground-floor window. They immediately climbed back out, minus the guy. “Never mind,” someone said, “that didn’t work.” Someone else: “That was so funny!” I asked the girl where her companion had gone and she told me, “He’s in the bathroom. The people were in front of the door, like, ‘come out,’ but he didn’t.” She returned to the window, tried to open it, failed. She returned to the line but left after a few minutes, running. I never saw the guy again.
— “Everyone’s getting searched, like, all the way.”
— “I almost touched the door!” “I know! I saw you!” “Worth it.”
— More rumors about Cam’ron still being in Los Angeles: “Apparently Cam’ron played a show in L.A. that ended at 8. They’re killing time.”
— “I think there is really no Cam’ron.”
— “It’s going to be The Maury Show all over again. We get to the front of the line and they cut it off.”
— “This is why I fucking hate music.”
— Suggestions that this line isn’t the real line.
— The sound of a bottle smashing and of metal hitting metal.
— “There are too many people at the front so they’re not letting people in.”
— “This is exactly like Kendrick last year.”
— I shook hands with some people in line near me. Everyone who didn’t leave angrily seemed to have a sense of humor about the situation. Each time the line jumped forward, everyone fell temporarily silent.
— “Moving forward in line is like being one of those little aliens in Toy Story. You’re just waiting for the claw.”
— Discussed Kafka’s “Before the Law” with my new line-friends.
— At 11:16 we began moving for real.
— P-Safe officer: “Cam’ron’s not on yet.” Student: “Thank you.”
— Student, to Event Staff member doing pat-downs: “What are you looking for?” Event Staffer: “All sorts of things.”
— I arrived at 11:25 p.m. to a 1/3-full Beckham Hall for the final three minutes of the opener, Skizzy Mars. His last couplet: “They say nice guys finish last / Good thing I’m a douchebag!” What I caught of this set sounded fun.
— The set change took about half an hour and seemed to consist mostly of a hunt for a microphone for Cam’ron to use. Cam’s DJ: “Where the fuck is the mic? Someone got the mic in their pocket. Find the missing mic!” Cam’ron went on around 11:45 p.m. Halfway through “Oh Boy” the sound cut off, at which the rapper was visibly confused. The show ended at 12:13 a.m.