The world in a room

Skizzy Mars played

Bryan McKnight

Skizzy Mars played "Do You There" to the approving roar of the crowd.

If I would’ve been able to feel my own hands, I’m absolutely sure I could’ve felt the excitement in the air. A homeless man on the corner struggled his way through a trumpet rendition of “Do You There” by the most popular man of the night, Skizzy Mars.

I turned my gaze to the couple next to me, looking down upon a pair of bloodshot eyes and a smile like Christmas morning. Wordlessly the man opened up his hand to reveal a dime bag on a cracked and beaten palm.

As the line began to crawl forward I quickly shook my head at the couple and made my way to the foreboding theater entrance.

We were corralled into a dimly lit hallway with a wooden staircase at the end. I followed the slight glow of the pink hair in front of me much like how you’d follow the white line while driving on a foggy night.

The sound of feet clunking down the stairs reverberated off the walls, creating a deafening thunder-like sound. I felt an infant-like hand press into the small of my back, which I assume was the woman of the couple trying to maintain her balance.

As the stairs bottomed out, I stepped into a rectangular open room about the size of a basketball court. The speakers blared outwards from the stage and the bass ran through the floor, trembling my very soul.

My girlfriend gripped my hand and dragged me towards the mass of bodies forming in front of the stage. Wedging ourselves between an anorexic looking man in his mid-twenties and a group of plastered teenage girls, we were finally ready to enjoy the show. To my left, a boy, no older than 16, picked at his spiked-up neon green hair.

Seeing me peering over, he extended a hand and, in a shockingly British accent, greeted me. A little taken aback by this British teen at an American rap concert, it took me a few seconds to formulate a mundane response.

In the midst of this encounter, a sudden hissing sound, like a python, came from on the stage. I whirled my head around to see a cloud of smoke growing and taking form on the two-foot elevated platform. Then suddenly the smoke was upon us and sweeping across the entirety of the Masquerade, enveloping me in a fog so thick that I could no longer see the pink hair beside me.

I’ll never forget the sound. No music pumping through a room could ever have the same effect that a thousand people screaming at the top of their lungs does.

The sudden rush of adrenaline was phenomenal as the wave of cheers crashed down on top of me. I couldn’t formulate anything more than one muffled thought in my brain.

The lights. The smoke. The beat and the feeling of simply being a piece in that wonderful moment. The world was mine for a few fleeting seconds, as I drenched myself in the rhythm of the music.

And now it’s gone. The Masquerade is in it’s final days, being knocked down for a “better” version to be erected.

Why must we always be striving to make something newer and sleeker, when what really matters is the feeling it projects unto you? That wooden box might’ve been old and rickety, but all the shiny new buildings in the world couldn’t replace the heart of that venue.

As honored as I am to have been one of the last people to experience the wonder of the Masquerade, I’m far more disheartened by the knowledge that I can never journey back to my dimly lit room where the world was mine.