The Neighbourhood performs for hundreds of fans in Forest Hills Stadium

The Neighbourhood performed for hundreds of fans at Forest Hills Stadium on Oct. 2. (Photo by Natalie Lowin)

The Neighbourhood made their 2021 full concert debut at Forest Hills Stadium in Queens on Oct. 2. Besides a short set at Lollapalooza in August 0f 2021, the band had not had a full performance since November of 2019.

Opening for the band was Yeek & Dora Jar then Field Medic, which brought a more folk and country vibe to the more alt/soft rock tune of The Neighbourhood. Both Dora Jar and Field Medic celebrated a one year anniversary of their album releases exactly one year prior.

Doors opened at 5:30 p.m. and the line stretched far around the perimeter of the historical stadium.

To enter the stadium, all concert goers had to show proof of full vaccination, ID and their concert ticket. Masks were not a requirement in the open air stadium but were encouraged. The stadium, which consists of a grassy area in the middle, is surrounded by wrap-around bleachers.

Concert goers wait to enter Forest Hills Stadium for The Neighbourhood’s concert on Oct. 2. (Photo by Natalie Lowin)

First to take the stage was Dora Jar, then Yeek, and then finished off by Field Medic, the most popular of the concert openers.

Frontman of the The Neighbourhood, Jesse Rutherford, started off the set as his alter ego, “Chip Chrome ” of Chip Chrome and the Monotones.

The Neighbourhood performed for hundreds of fans at Forest Hills Stadium on Oct. 2. (Photo by Natalie Lowin)

Chip Chrome, painted entirely in silver paint and wearing a fully black costume, came on stage and performed five new songs for the first time, which included “Pretty Boy,” “Chip Chrome,” “Stargazing,” “Silver Lining” and “Devil’s Advocate.” During “Devil’s Advocate,” flames shot several feet into the air on beat with the music.’

Rutherford (Chip Chrome) made a quick wardrobe change between the Chip Chrome set and The Neighbourhood set and opted for a more simple outfit from black-and-silver cowboy-like getup.

Forest Hills Stadium was designed in the 1920’s for the U.S. Open tennis tournament and began hosting concerts in 1960’s. The stadium capacity is around 13,000 and was refurbished by Madison House Presents in 2013.

Despite the temperature being only between 65 to 70 degrees through the whole concert, several attendees in the pit in front of the stage passed out throughout the duration of the concert, which concerned multiple performers. Some of this was due to the extremely packed nature of the pit, which had fans all but stacked on top of each other.

Rutherford even stopped during the middle of the song “R.I.P. to my Youth” to see if one passed out fan was okay, then restarted the song from the top.

Also in attendance was Jesse Rutherford’s model girlfriend Devon Lee Carslon and friend Bella Hadid, who were pictured in the back of the field by the front of the stands. Several fans took pictures with them before and after the concert.

Models Bella Hadid and Devon Lee Carslon spotted at The Neighbourhood’s performance at Forest Hills Stadium on Oct. 2. (Photo by Natalie Lowin)

The following Saturday, Oct. 9, the West Coast originated band made a performance at the Hollywood Bowl with the same openers as at Forest Hills.

While some COVID-19 precautions were taken, like a somewhat socially distanced waiting line and mask recommendations, attending the concert did seem a bit risky in the COVID-19 era. For those attending in the stands surrounding the pit, attendance might have been a bit more safe. Since people were sneaking into the pit, there was plenty of room between fans in the stands.

Although the concert was sold out, during the show the bleachers were certainly not completely full. This gave fans the option to spread out a lot more than those in the pit.

After talking with a group of fans online who attended the concert, some suspected that many people who purchased tickets for the stands ended up making their way to the pit despite not having tickets for it. This definitely caused some overcrowding in the pit and was especially noticeable when The Neighbouthood took stage. As soon as the first song started after the openers, a rush of people began shoving their way trying to get closer to the barricade.

I was completely surrounded by strangers practically on top of me and could not move through the entire concert. Pre-COVID, I might have been more annoyed than worried about my health, but I was pretty concerned about contracting COVID-19 during the concert. Even with being vaccinated and being surrounded by vaccinated people, it was still entirely possible to contract the virus — and that was heightened by the very low amount of people wearing masks and the extremely packed pit.

All in all, the concert was still a fun experience despite the downside of the looming fear of the virus. While I did not contract COVID-19, it would not have been a surprise to me if I had.

It made me consider getting seated tickets for future concerts until COVID-19 is better managed. It’s much easier to space out a seated crowd than it is a generally unsupervised pit crowd.

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