A 67-year-old first-time crowd surfer has been hailed as a rock’n’roll inspiration after being carried to the front of the audience at a concert in Manchester.
The Killers halted their show at Old Trafford cricket ground at the weekend after their frontman, Brandon Flowers, noticed a white-haired man in a red fleece had been carried over the security barriers. He was bleeding in the head, having been dropped after clearing the moshpit.
It turned out to be Doug James, a former play worker and marine engineer from the north-east of England, who was at the gig with his son, Barry.
Afterwards, he said the experience made him feel “like his childhood is coming back” and it brought him “so much joy”.
The band later tweeted a picture of James being embraced by Flowers after being hauled over the security barriers with the caption: “There’s no age limit for rock’n’roll!”
Flowers told the crowd he had asked James what on earth he was doing, and then mimicked James’s accent to repeat his answer: “I was just enjoying meself!”
In an interview with BBC 5 Live, James said he was trying new experiences later in life. “I want to do things I’ve not done. I was just enjoying the moment,” he said.
He said he decided to crowd surf after watching the audience carry a girl in a wheelchair towards the front during the warm-up act, Blossoms.
“They lifted the wheelchair up so she could see and I think she was gradually making her way forward for the Killers coming on. So I said to this great bunch of lads: ‘Should we crowd surf?’ … Then up I go,” he said, describing how he was “swimming” on top of the crowd before he landed on his head: “Sadly I missed the beach and I hit a rock.”
He said he felt like a child again. “I was a play worker for 15 years so I do believe in your childhood coming back in later years, and that’s what’s happening to me,” he said.
He later told the Times: “You’re only young once. For someone like me, 67 years old, a pensioner, making 50,000 people laugh, making the Killers laugh, you can’t not do it.”
His son Barry said: “I was chasing him through the crowd as he was crowd-surfing and pretending to swim and all sorts. I was behind him going: ‘That’s my dad! Be careful with him!’”
Doug said he was recovering well from his exploits and his bump to the head, adding: “I’m feeling fine. I’ve just got a few aches.”
Crowd surfing does not have to be the preserve of the young. Last week, punk band the Lovely Eggs ran the Middle Aged Crowd Surfing Championships 2022 on their UK tour.
The winner was Amanda Mansell from York. “Amanda’s son Isaac took his own life in March this year. He was 30. This was clearly much bigger than the surf for Amanda. She did it for him,” the band wrote on their Facebook page, alongside a video of Amanda being carried aloft, ecstatic.