People crowded around the back entry to the Richmond County Bank Ballpark at St. George last Saturday counting the minutes that ticked by until the doors finally opened at noon. They scowled as their drinks were thrown into the trash by security, complained when their bags had to be checked, and then waited to be permitted to enter.
The baseball season for the Staten Island Yankees was far over. This crowd had gathered for the biggest musical event on Staten Island – Across the Narrows, a two-day concert being staged in St. George and at KeySpan Park in Brooklyn.
The concert had a great turnout both on Saturday and Sunday. With the crowd ranging from early teens, to people in their 50s. There was a great mix of people. Most of the “baby boomers” were there to see the New York Dolls. Most of the younger generation were there to see newer, more popular bands – Oasis, Jet and the Killers.
On Saturday, when the gates opened, some people filed into their seats; others ran out onto the field. Some layed down with blankets, while others lined up against the railing – just a few feet away from the stage.
The performers seemed to enjoy the casual setting as much as the audience. When Tegan and Sara, two Canadian sisters, began to play, favorite songs were shouted and fans sang along to every song. The two girls interacted with the crowd and later took time for conversations and signing autographs.
Julia Vogel, who went to the concert both days, said he favorite group on Saturday was a draw between the Killers and Ordinary Boy. Sunday, it was definitely Oasis, her reason for going to the concert.
“I liked that all the bands played a similar type of music because it introduced me to new bands I’d never heard of, in a genre that I really love,” said the 15-year-old West Brighton resident.
Killers fan, Jessica De Jesus, 15, of Rosebank said, “All the bands were at the concert. I really liked the mix of all the bands, they had really good rhythm, but not the same.”
The Killers brought an end to Saturday’s 12-hour concert. The whole stadium was singing; Brandon Flowers, the lead singer, could hardly be heard over the voices of the crowd. He also made the announcement that this would be their last show in New York before heading back into the recording studio.
A number of teens said they would have loved to have gone to the concert, if they knew enough in advance and wished it had been advertised more. James Gandia, of Livingston said “I wanted to go, but I just didn’t know about the concert until it was too late.”
The good news is that although the numbers were lower than capacity crowd, the organizers, Ron Delsener Presents, were happy with the first time event and received good feedback from the performers. They are planning on coming back next year. Who knows, those that were there may be able to say years from now “I was at the first ‘Across the Narrows Concert.’”