Anyone who has tried to reach a paychiatrist in D.C. in August knows it's impossible. They're all away for the month; they're not crazy. Which is what, chances are, you had to be - either that or an under-18, rock-craxed glutton for sensory discomfort - to attend Ted Nugent's sellout concert at the Capital Centre Saturday night.
General admission at the Cap Centre is like bedlam at Bedlam. The crush is impenetrable (20,476 capacity), the atmosphere unrestricted (a result of having no assigned seats to which ushers can propel and compel you, thereby maintaining some modicum of control), and many in the audience were not the kind who give rock concertss a good name. Things got out of hand when firecrackers were set off and thrown onto the floor of the arena. One security was wounded in the stomach and a girl was hit on the arm by an "M-80" (more powerful than a cherry bomb). Two other girls suffered burns from firecrackers.
Ticket-holders began to arrive somewhere around 9 a.m. By 2 o'clock there were crowds and by 6:15, when the doors opened, lines circling around the Centre crisscrossed each other. Although the show was an announced sellout, an estimated 200 fans were hanging around even after the show had begun, hopping to get in.
After waiting in the upper-80s temperature and humidity for most of the afternoon, many in the audience were ripe for uncritical acceptance of whatever. There's a point at which one's expectations of having a good time can become a self-induced type, and one can talk oneself into anything.
But in case the audience falttred, Nugent was right there to supply his own self-typre. Nugent spends a lot of time talking and making animal noises between songs. The talking is repetitive. (He announced five times, "Now we're gonna do a brand new number for ya)," He gets a pseudodialogue going between himself and the audience - "You sure don't mind us doin' some new ones now, do ya? Whadidya say?" - that sounds like a jaded Buffalo Bob Smith pandering to the kiddies.
And his music? Nugent boasts that his is the loudest band of any touring today. The decibels are 130 (that's damage-to-your-ear-level) ten feet in front of the amps. (He, himself, wears ear plugs.) "When you come into a place, you might as well devastate it."
With all the tons and wattages of equipment, there were lots of sparks, but Nugent never moved from flint to fire.