- An aerial shot of the park.
First, it’s crucial to describe the scene: I have never seen more people in Union Square in my life. According to the official Occupy Wall Street clicker, 1,450 people marched from Bryant Park to Union Square to rally with the massive turnout of immigrant rights activists, labor groups and Occupy supporters in their thousands—many, including a police officer stationed at Bowling Green and awaiting the march later in the evening, estimated more than 10,000. If you imagine your most uncomfortably overcrowded, paralytic New York City experience and then multiply it by a factor of “I can’t even see my arms,” you’ll have a pretty good idea of what it felt to be in the masses jammed near the small stage on the south side of the park.
After short sets from Tom Morello, the Guitarmy (more on that later), the Bobby Sanabria band, and Das Racist, Dan Deacon popped up somewhere in the midst of the convergence, near the front. He then tried to coordinate the crowd in interpretive dance—something that surprisingly sort of worked, at least close to the stage. First, he asked the crowd to form a circle (impossible) and to lower to the knees. Then, gradually, people began to rise, jumping, shaking hands and fluttering fingers. For his second song, Deacon divided the park into two groups—each to follow the movements of a “captain” on either side. It was ambitious, and mostly confusing because of the sheer amount of bodies present, but experiencing Dan Deacon as a musical game of Simon Says at a rally full of thousands of people is most likely a situation that will never be replicated. You can check out the results I recorded below (though, many apologies for shaky iPhone footage).