What I witnessed last night at the Theatre of the Living Arts among some members of the Behemoth audience was nothing short of spiritual ecstasy. I have seen this extreme euphoria exhibited by people of all religions. I guess you could also say it was simply like Beatle-mania, but really it was far more intense than that. It transcended the persons on the stage to something unseen all around. People were screaming, crying and shaking.
When Nergal waved a legitimate censer over the audience, I could only think about how church-y this whole performance was. The last time anyone swung one of those things near me was in a Greek Orthodox Church. Nergal even makes the sign of the cross on himself, though I presume it was inverted. It’s always hard to tell. Was this theatre or was this religious ritual? I think it would have to depend on whom you asked. One day, I would like to have a long talk about God with Nergal.
Even as a former Christian, I am not sure I ever experienced anything close to this level of hysteria in a religious setting or anywhere really. I have always been that person who remains on the fringe; someone who stands on the sidelines, not fully immersed, while everyone else is drinking the Kool-Aid.
If Nergal is THE SATANIST, then I am THE SKEPTIC. I don’t know if I feel good or bad about this. I sometimes wish I could lose myself that way about something, but I seem incapable of it. The closest I have come to feeling this sort of thing at all has been during sexual experiences and in nature, especially at the ocean. Those are both things that can sweep you away, literally and figuratively.
Don’t misunderstand me; I don’t fault anyone for allowing a musical performance to sweep them away. I don’t fault anyone for believing in his or her versions of the hereafter. I love my friends who practice paganism, Satanism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism or otherwise. I don’t have to agree with their views. These things fascinate me and I ponder how they impact the time we spend on earth. I don’t know if when I die I will become worm food and nothing more or that some intangible part of me called a soul will live on in heaven, hell or chaos or some other place. I don’t know that I need to know. I might be an apatheist—I don’t know and I don’t care. As long as we take care of each other and those who cannot care for themselves, I think we humans will be OK.
All I know is that something very church was going down at the Theatre of the Living Arts in Philadelphia last night, and it was a mighty sight to behold. Enjoy your weekend; be it focused on faith, nature, your loved ones, or just kicking back in the front yard with a few beers. I love you all.
Here are a few photos of Behemoth I snapped with my camera phone and one of us metal women. This show was part of the Metal Alliance Tour with Behemoth, 1349, Goatwhore, Inquisition and Black Crown Initiate. I saw the first three bands in this list, and I enjoyed them all –that’s right even 1349. My friend Victoria got me a good spot up front, and I think this improved my overall enjoyment. I will see Inquisition at Maryland Deathfest and hope to see BCI at some point in the near future because they hail from Delaware. But traffic and work put us there too late for this 5 p.m. doors show. Everything was over by 11 p.m. Had I not been working today, I might have tried to crash an after party. But you know, baby needs a new pair of shoes.