Players 2020: What it's like to attend a Chainsmokers concert at TPC Sawgrass
PONTE VEDRA BEACH — "Don't do it. Don't do it."
This was the final plea to myself as I prepared to leave the media center on Tuesday night at TPC Sawgrass. What's "it" you ask? Attend The Chainsmokers concert that was taking place on the 17th hole.
For the unaware, The Chainsmokers are one of the more well-known DJ duos in the world, which has to be true because even I know who they are. You've probably heard a few of their songs on the radio, and you've definitely heard their No. 1 hit "Closer," the one about the roommate in Boulder with the mattress, or the Range Rover or whatever. You know, this one.
I'm not old by any means, so I don't want to call myself old and piss off people who are actually old and would kill to be 27 again. But I'm an old 27, which is something a lot of 27-year-olds go through. Going out is no longer fun. Crowded bars are hell on earth. Does the music really need to be THAT loud? Can't we just hang home, drink Bud Lights and play Monopoly? Is that so much to ask?
I could go on and on. I had my concert days in college. Electric dance music concerts, to be more specific (RIP Avicii. That show at URI was dope freshman year). It's a phase. A fun phase, sure, but one that couldn't have ended soon enough. Some people hang on as long as they can, attending festivals, camping out in mud, failing to cleanse their bodies for days at a time. I saw the Fyre Fest documentaries. Not for me.
Having not experienced the house music concert life for many years, I was in no mood to relive the glory days on Tuesday. Instead I went to the range, watched Brooks Koepka hit some wedges for a bit, and began walking back. Right around that time the concert began, and I went against my best wishes and "checked it out." I wasn't even tasked with doing a story on it. What was I thinking?!
Welp, not only did I check it out, I stayed for the whole damn thing. It was only about 90 minutes, which was as long as it needed to be, and it was everything I remembered and then some. A cross between the Kentucky Derby, Ultra Music Festival in Miami and an SEC Football game. As I crept over the hill between 18 tee and 17 green, the whole scene began to hit me, so I started writing down everything I saw.
--First thing I saw: A small child walking back toward the clubhouse with his hands over his ears as his parents tried to comfort him. Was the music really that loud?
--YUP. It was that loud. The closer you got toward the center of the crowd the more ear shattering it became. These dudes were not messing around.
--The mix of old and young in the crowd was like nothing I've ever seen. We're talking everything from infants in strollers, to 7-8 year olds playing tag, to 16-year-old girls who somehow acquired Michelob Ultras, to frat bros, to young parents, to middle-aged people to the straight-up elderly. Obviously, that was a product of many people who attended the practice round staying for the concert, though I'm sure many didn't realize what they were getting themselves into. There was a point in the concert where you could see older fans begin to flock toward the exits, as if they realized a few songs in this was not for them.
--"Everybody f***ing JUMP!" followed by a sickkkk beat drop was a common occurrence. Pray for #TheKids
--During one of their biggest hits "Don't Let Me Down," they tried to do the thing where they stop the music and have the crowd finish the chorus. Ironically enough, the crowd "let them down" in that area.
--Lots of stumbling. Lots of double fisting. Lot of girls screaming their lost best friend's name. "CAROLLLLL!!!" and "HANNNAHHH!!!" were two I heard. A nice changeup from the normal "BECKYYYYY" and "EMILYYYY!!!!" chants that have become so common at events such as these. It's going to be a rough day at work for some folks on Wednesday.
--Due to the coronavirus, the Ultra music festival in Miami was canceled this year, which prompted an "Ultra canceled us, so we need you all to fully send it here" plea from Andrew Taggart, one-half of the Chainsmokers who can often be heard singing in some of their songs. One young man making his way back to the crowd did indeed "send it" as another beat dropped, and an older gentleman with a beer in hand, wondering where the hell he was, looked on in disgust. It was touching.
--About halfway through I had been tapped by five different volunteers telling me to move from where I was standing. This is precisely why I never go out anymore. The second you think you have space to breathe at a bar, a concert, etc., it usually means you're standing in a place you're not allowed to be standing.
--Speaking of volunteers, this dude was an electric factory:
--In a brilliant move, The Chainsmokers played John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads," which plays to literally any crowd in any state in America. This time, the crowd joined in on the chorus. Just as I was about to, a volunteer tapped me and said "you can't stand here people are walking through." Kill me!
--Honest take here: The 17th hole is a sick place for a concert, and the crowd surrounding the stage was very into it. Vape smoke, beers (hard seltzers) in the air, fist pumping. Had I not been stone-cold sober and it were seven years ago, I could see myself getting my rage on.
--Over/under moms doing the "bob up and down while simultaneously clapping" dance: 1 billion. And the over hits! Everyone with a mother (all of you reading) knows exactly the dance I'm talking about.
--At the end of one song, Taggart asked for a "golf clap" from everyone. Between that and "Country Roads," this guy knows how to play to the crowd. Respect.
--They closed with "Closer." You ever hear that song? Must be a new one.
--Final thought: I had fun, mostly because of the people-watching. I can see myself getting into this whole house music thing.