So why all the fuss over foam? The anxiety likely traces back to late August, when a 20-year-old Rhode Island woman died from an apparent MDMA overdose at the Electric Zoo festival in New York City — a death that, along with a similar OD at the same festival, led to the event’s premature cancellation. Two weeks later, the I’m Schmacked tour — a slightly-tamer-than-Girls Gone Wild operation that rolls around the country, making video montages of college students drinking, hollering, and grinding on each other that are later posted online — threw a party at Roxy in downtown Providence that left some attendees bloodied and others stumbling or passed out on the street.
And so, tonight, Dunkin Donuts Center GM Larry Lepore is prepared. He’s staffed more than 10 police officers, 15 EMTs, and one physician to tend to injuries and illnesses in a makeshift triage center downstairs, he says.
“It’s far from Disney On Ice, ” he explains while standing in the building’s lobby around 9 pm as screaming, booty-short-wearing ladies file past. One wears a yellow baseball hat that says “SLUT.”
“Twenty-five years ago, it was a Grateful Dead concert, a lot of people doing LSD,” he continues. Now, “it’s a new generation, it’s a new drug, and you deal with it.”
The comparison to the past seems apt. Remove the foam and the smartphones, and it’s hard to differentiate tonight’s activities from those of the 2000s, the ’90s, the ’80s, the ’70s, and so on. College kids in 2013 didn’t invent loud music and dry humping.
That said, the evening does offer a remarkably dense, perhaps unprecedented, flurry of the word “fuck.” There are “LET’S GET FUCKING WEIRD,” and “PLYMOUTH FUCKING STATE” T-shirts. The DJ screams, at various times, “Motherfucking Providence!” “Providence fucking Rhode Island!” “You motherfuckers ready?!” “Ladies where the fuck you at?” and “Is there anybody here tonight that wants to black the fuck out?!”
One group of guys, when asked about their reason for attending, unanimously agree that it’s the ladies’ “sexy as fuck” attire. (“We’re all trying to get laid,” one of them adds, to dispel any confusion.)
Another interview with one of the night’s DJs, Vinny Vibe, was interrupted when a female fan walked up to demand they he “follow” her Instagram. “I’ll fucking follow you!” he shouted back. The interview ended when an unconscious young man was wheeled past on a stretcher; Vinny took this as his cue to walk away.
Speaking of stretchers, the “Blackout” party actually ended up falling short of expectations, says Providence Police Chief Hugh T. Clements, who stands outside the Dunk’s main entrance with a handful of officers around midnight, when the show lets out. Clements had predicted “at least 25 rescue runs tonight,” before the show, but the final tally was closer to 15, he says. Add this to the fact that there were no fights and only “a couple of minor arrests,” and it’s a pretty “tame” night, he says.
“It’s still unfortunate that 15 young men and women were transported to the hospital and hopefully they’re all OK,” he says. “But they were all forewarned.” Barstool Blackout Tour will return to Rhode Island for a foam party at URI’s Ryan Center on October 25. Tickets are available ($39) at theryancenter.com.