I started going to rock concerts in earnest when I was a teenager in Houston. I had taken a gap year from college and was the all-night DJ on the biggest rock station in town. But whenever I saw “festival seating” on a ticket, I knew it was more than just a warning. It was an invitation to disaster.
Festival seating is when the entire venue becomes a mosh pit. And then you get the kind of nightmare mad rush that occurred over the weekend. Don’t know if there was such a warning on the ticket to Travis Scott’s hip-hop Astroworld Festival tragedy at NRG Park.
But the world “Festival” is the clue. You don’t get a seat. They are cramming people like a rush-hour train. Have fun.
I did know, however, that Asian Americans would sadly be in the mix. We’re not all K-Pop or classical music. Our universal tastes run the gamut from country and blues to to rap and hip-hop.
And that’s why Danish Baig, 27, an Asian American Pakistani born near Dallas, now a district manager for AT&T, went with his fiancé for a fun weekend in Houston.
He didn’t expect to die in the crush of people as he tried to save his fiancé from being trampled.
“She was stomped on, hit, punched, horrendous things were happening to her that I don’t want to mention,” said Basil Mirza, Baig’s brother, who was also at the concert. “My brother was trying to save her and he did. He saved her, and it cost him his life.”
At this time, no precise cause of death is given. But the family said it was from cardiac arrest suffered from the crush of people.
The fiancé survived. But Mirza, speaking at Baig’s funeral on Sunday, wants answers.
“My brother was laying on the ground. They were chanting to stop the event. Nobody stopped the event,” Mirza said in an interview with Dallas news station WFAA. “In this horrendous event, people that were in it [who] took part in this event, Travis Scott’s team, the NRG team, everybody who was associated with this should be held accountable for the lives that were lost today. We’re grieving. We’re in pain.”
Mirza wants answers–not a tweet, but real answers from Scott.
“He could stop a show for his shoe, but he couldn’t stop the show for people?” Mirza asked. “It was upsetting and sad seeing people thrown left and right, stop, girls, guys, everybody, little kids,” Mirza described the scene. “We just want you guys to know we’re grieving with you. We’re going to stay grieving with you. Whatever you guys need we’re here.”
Danish Baig is the oldest of the list of the reported dead, the youngest of whom was 14. They came from all over the nation.
The family still intends to honor Baig on his birthday, which would have been on Nov. 16.
“Just please pray for all the families, for our family,” said Mirza. “And just stay united and we’ll all get through this hopefully,” Mirza said. “There were a lot of people involved in this incident, we need to do our job and play our part. And we need to stay united and bring awareness to this because this is not how you handle peace. This is not how you do it. You go to a concert to have fun. You don’t go to a concert to die.”
This was promoted by Live Nation, one of the biggest pop/entertainment promoters in the business. They should have known better.
Before you see or hear another Travis Scott rap, watch Mirza grieve for his brother Danish and the others caught in the crush in this YouTube video.
DEMOCRACY’S MOSH PIT
There was something I saw in some of the other news videos of the people crashing the entry gates to the concert even before the music started. The people were a diverse mix of races, and mostly young.
And they all had that look.
It’s the look of an America that wasn’t so prominent before 2016 and the election of Trump. It’s a disdain for civility and rules, and a lack of care for anyone but oneself. Not an all for one, but an all for me.
And, of course, if Trump continues to be held up as the standard bearer for Republicans, don’t expect this attitude to go away anytime soon in America.
Remember we saw it on Jan. 6. And now at Astroworld.
It’s an ugly anti-authority vibe. And it’s a real part of America now. Of course, it cuts both ways.
The people at the concert should remember how Trump called in the troops to the White House for the first BLM marches in the summer of 2020.
Democracy’s mosh pit got tear-gassed.
It doesn’t happen in an America that values not just the rule of law, but love, respect, and care for one another.
I will talk more about this on my Emil Amok’s Takeout Show 175, on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.