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Fellow Amon Amarth Fans lifting Tyler up during the Amon Amarth Concert in Calgary, AB.

Supporting the citizenship of people with disabilities

Tyler’s Story – Metal, Mosh Pits, and Magic

A Story of Tyler and his Heavy Metal Experiences in Community

It Began with a Road Trip to Calgary, Alberta

Not everyone will understand what it’s like to really love music the way that Tyler does. Only a few people, like Tyler, will know how awesome it is to find a band that moves them. For him, it’s a Swedish death metal band called Amon Amarth. He has listened to them over and over on his iPod and knows every word to all the songs. The opportunity to see the band presents itself, only there is one hitch. The show is in Calgary. Of course, this means a road trip, and so the adventure begins!

Concert Goals

Tyler had three requests: eyeliner, a band t-shirt, and to meet a girl when we were walking into MacEwan Hall that night. We had taken care of the eyeliner much earlier and Tyler was satisfied with the effects. After Tyler had purchased his shirt and put it on, we went into the main hall. The usual suspects were in attendance. Big, tall long haired men with beards and various metal shirts. Lots of women in fishnets and pounds of makeup, running in packs of three or more. There was a whole lot of action for Tyler to take in.

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Finding the Perfect Spot Before it All Began 

We found our spot somewhere near the middle, not too close to the front and not at the back. As we waited, Tyler struck up a conversation with two guys standing near us. They were impressed that Tyler came so far to see Amon Amarth and congratulated him on his first show ever. When the band came on, we had misjudged where we should be and found ourselves in the middle of the mosh pit!! Tyler and I retreated about five feet to calmer territory, with help from Tyler’s new friends. Once we were safe, so to speak, Everyone laughed and Tyler began to enjoy the show.

Up Up and Away 

Not too long after that as we were chatting with Tyler’s new pal’s, they observed that Tyler couldn’t see anything from where he was. This was true; he was pretty low on the ground. The two of them offered to hold Tyler up so that he could get a better view and see the band. Tyler, of course, went for it!! I thought to myself…. I’m either in, or I’m in the way…. Up he went…. The joy on Tyler’s face was contagious. I don’t think that there was anyone in that room who didn’t see him and share it with him. The guys held Tyler for about three songs and set him down safely.

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Tyler was exhilarated!!!! He had been able to see his heroes. He told me later that he felt like he was flying. Once Tyler was back on the ground there were a lot of high-fives exchanged, and hugs going around to thank his new friends.

When Silence Hushed Over the Crowd

This is where it gets really interesting….. Things were relatively quiet for about five minutes. Suddenly, a sweaty, shirtless guy came rushing out of the pit to talk to Tyler. He told Ty that he and his friends had watched Tyler “crowd surf” earlier and that they wanted to help him get to the front. ( I should mention that this pit is really tight and violent… Not for the faint of heart). Tyler’s new friends, who had lifted him earlier, had a quiet conversation with one another and into the fray, we went. I’ve been to many shows. I’ve never seen anything like what I saw on Saturday. The smashing, grinding sweaty mass parted like the red sea and Tyler made it right up to the barricade, as promised. The perplexed looks on the faces of the security behind the barrier were priceless!! Tyler was totally rocking out!!

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Is this real life?! 

This is when his escorts decide to raise him up yet again! This time, Tyler is as close as a person can get to the stage. People started to flag down the singer….. Pointing in Tyler’s direction…. Slowly the main man made his way over and leaned from the stage. Looking right at Tyler he growled, “YOU ARE AWESOME!!!” That is the be all and end all for any music fan…. To be personally addressed by someone in your favourite band!!! Tyler couldn’t contain his excitement!! Who could if that had happened to them?

The amazing new friends that Tyler had made held him in place for two whole songs. Once on the ground, these guys split the pit backwards so that Tyler could get room to breathe. The show was almost over. Tyler spent some time thanking his new friends and we settled into watching what remained of the show.

The Best Night Ever

That didn’t last long. People were coming from everywhere to talk to Tyler, lots of fist bumps, high fives, throwing down the devil horns. They all wanted to know more about him. This continued long after the show was over, all the way to the hotel in fact. There wasn’t much sleep for Tyler that night. He told me that it was his best night ever. I told him that it was only the beginning.

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Let the Magic Happen

I just wanted to mention that all of the people who spoke to Tyler directed their conversation and requests to him. I just got out of the way. Tyler’s charisma shone straight out at the crowd, unobstructed.

Magic ensued.

This article was written by Juanita Gibson. Juanita has been with Skills for over 11 years and currently is a Team Leader. Juanita has helped support engaged citizenship of many people through the years in her roles as both team leader and project citizenship explorer. In addition to her work with Skills, Juanita is deeply embedded in the Punk Rock and Heavy Metal underground scene in Edmonton. 

 

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Thank you for reading the article! Did you know Tyler has also been featured in a video posted on Project Citizenship. Check it out below and feel free to leave us a comment about the article. Cheers!

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