Slope Day is a perfect day. It is nothing less than perfect, even with all its imperfections. Short of an earthquake or norovirus contamination of Tompkins County’s Keystone Light supply, it will always be perfect. One could even convince his inebriated brethren that an earthquake or stomach virus would only further pad the posthumous scrapbook of the day, figuratively and literally.
Let’s start with the Slope itself. 364 days of the year, Libe Slope withstands ridicule from anyone who is forced to scale it. It’s a consensus that catalyzes Ivy Room small talk, excuses for sleeping in and one-too-many Facebook memes. Poor Slope. Yet on May 4, there is no place those wambulance criers would rather be. And they don’t just tolerate the Slope — they realize how damn perfect the awful thing is. Not only does the 89-degree angle create a natural stadium for viewing the show, but it also provides a readily available grassy mattress to collapse on and front-row seats to watch those who fail when doing so and tumble down the hill.
Which brings me to the people. You and I were one of them (except you, Mom, I told you not to read this article; can’t you just trust me when I say no one drinks at Cornell?). Even before I entered the fenced-off grounds, I was feeling the love. Quite literally, actually — I was vigorously massaged and nearly violated by the horde of woozy students who pushed me to lead the way. I appreciated their confidence in my leadership abilities, but they were not too receptive to my pleas that, as great as I am, even I could not part this Big Red Sea.
In the company of friends, the love never ends. Except if you cannot find said company — noob freshmen like me usually spend more time staring into the impenetrable crowds looking for that one suitemate who hasn’t texted back since 10 a.m. instead of just enjoying the show. All the while, be ready to bump into everyone you have seen over the past year, including many you hoped to never see again. It’s like a giant frat party, except all the lights are on.
As for the music, how can you ask for anything better? Well, you just ask, since there is definitely better but … come on, dude, lighten up! I will call you a liar if you say you didn’t mumble the chorus and jump around during “Hangover.” I will also call you sober and promptly shatter this eight-month-old handle of Svedka over your head.
The party started with The Wailers, Bob Marley’s old backing band. I love Bob Marley. I love all types of reggae music — you know, the slow kind and the slower kind with the funky bass. I love weed. I also love Bob Marley, so this was a perfect match. To my alcohol-pot-coke-DMT-skipped-last-lecture-bitches addled mind, The Wailers could have played all of Legend or just one guitar chord on the upbeat. I think I am right on both counts.
Neon Trees was life-changing, of course. Singer Tyler Glenn really seemed like he wanted to be there; he was bouncing about the stage and treating Slope Day like a real gig (which it really is! (really!)). At one point he mentioned how he didn’t go to college, though, and then I grew suspicious. Ever since Justin Bieber ’16 fell through, Glenn knew Slope Day could be a kickass UnCommon App. Apparently C.U. Admissions has canned the idea because Neon Trees didn’t play “Animal” until the end of their set. No matter how much charisma and pink hair you have, Mr. Glenn, you can’t convince us we like any of your other songs.
Before I mention the main act, I have to commend the DJs who played Avicii’s “Levels” between the sets. Everyone on the Slope was so drunk that we might as well have actually hired Avicii to play that one song anyway! Next to slashing funding for the humanities while also expanding Goldwin Smith Hall’s empty hallways, this was the most badass book-balancing exercise the University has undertaken all year.
Meanwhile, the man himself, Taio Cruz, did not disappoint. At least some form of the man, at some time, did not disappoint. The heavy sampling of his recorded material was a wise move on his part: While his detached stage presence failed to connect to Cornell students, he found common ground by touting past accomplishments that were the product of lucky collaborations with more talented contributors. When the sound guy pushed play on David Guetta and Usher’s song, “Without You,” Cruz reminded the audience that he was also one of six writers on that song. The sole “yooouuuuooouuuu” flourishes he added in the chorus reminded me I have a problem set due Sunday that I haven’t copied from someone yet.
Clearly, Slope Day could not have been better. Well, of course it could have been, but like frat hookups and A’s on engineering prelims, there is a certain shittiness, sadness, sacrifice involved in some of the best college experiences. FIJI’s t-shirts captured it well, with their back text of “Drink Until You Like Taio Cruz.” Since everyone already likes him, I am assuming FIJI just meant drink until you like him more. Still, it is a clever line and I’d buy drinks for whoever thought of it, even if I would go broke.
Those shirts are only further proof that Slope Day is the perfect day; we gather en masse and drink and roast in the sun until we pass out. It is so simple, with absolutely no room for error because the error is the whole game. We love to abuse ourselves after the abuse of months’ prior, and we come back, bleary-eyed and shambling, every year.
Who’s up for Chris Brown next year?