Thursday, July 21, 2016

and so are you

As Harper and I left the band members, we were both high on adrenaline, and sort of in a daze from how quickly the event had happened.

It was almost 5pm at that point, and neither of us had eaten all day. Since the concert wasn't starting until 7, we decided to find someplace in the Hard Rock where we could grab a quick bite, and then we'd get in line.
While wandering around aimlessly, we saw a woman who was eating a slice of pizza, "WHERE DID YOU GET THAT!?" I asked - which in my head was asked much more politely than I'm told it was in real life. Whether my inquiry was actually perceived as rude or not, the woman did point us in the right direction. We found the pizza place, ordered our slices, and quickly ate, ruminating on the photo session while doing so.

After we finished up, we headed back to the stage area in order to get ready for the concert. It was only 5:20 at that time, but when we got to where we would be waiting we saw that easily 300 people were already in front of us. Well, nothing we could do about that, other than get in line and wait.

Which is what we did.
While waiting we discovered that there would be two opening acts - Chef'special, and Mutemath. I had at least heard of Mutemath before (although I couldn't tell you what they sounded like or name any of their songs - but the name was one that I had seen previously in my life.) Chef'special simply made us wonder what type of food we were going to be served.
Also while waiting, we did the thing that people do in crowds. Well, there are two things that people do now. One is stare at their phones. Since I don't have a smartphone, I did the OTHER thing that people do - people watching. I'd say that 90% of the crowd was donning some sort of twenty one pilots garb. Either a shirt, or neck/hand dirt (like the band has in the Stressed Out video) or a combination of the two. There were at least three skeleton people. Twenty one pilots fans are devoted, yo.

Anyway. About half an hour had passed. Doors, supposedly, opened at 6, but at 5:50, an announcement was made by one of the teachers from Peanuts. "Wom wom wom backpack wom wom wom place in line." What was eventually translated to those of us who weren't directly in shouting distance was that security would NOT be allowing anyone with backpacks in, and that you needed to go find a place to store them, and that they would NOT be saving your spot in line.

Look. I get that security is a big thing. I get that people are crazy and do stupid things, and making sure that the artists are safe is a priority. But the way that security was handled at this show was kinda ridiculous. They really could have informed everyone of this much sooner. And not saving people's spots in line is kind of a dick move.

Fortunately, I was able to stay in line while Harper left to go where all the bags were being held by the casino. Unfortunately, the lines began to move like right after she had disappeared.
I spent the next five or six eternities waiting for her to get back, worrying that she wouldn't see where I was by the time she returned.

But, it was all good. Harper got back to the room, found me and resumed standing in line with me. We weaved our way thru the rope-lines, amazed at the amount of litter that had accrued while people had been standing there. Humans are messy.

Anyway. We eventually got in to the pit, and we joined the crowd. We wound up over on the far left side, in what would probably have been row seven, maybe? So, not too shabby.
And then came more waiting.
And more waiting.
And some more.

Harper was REALLY thirsty, and pretty upset that we weren't able to bring our water bottles in with us. I overheard some people near us talking about how bottles of water sold at the bar were 6 dollars a piece. So, sadly, Harper was going to remain thirsty.

Finally, 7:00 rolled around, and the first opening act came out. Chef'special kind of succeeded at pumping up the crowd. They had a very heavy reggae sound to them, which, okay. I mean, Blurryface (the album) definitely has reggae influences in it. But overall, they just weren't what the majority of us were wanting. I typed a text (since I couldn't talk to her and be heard) to Harper while the band was performing that read:
"Can we send the chef's special back? I didn't order it."
I feel bad about being so dismissive of them, but, you know, kinda goes with the territory of opening for a major act, right?
Anyway, they only did like 5 or 6 songs, for a total of 20 minutes on stage. So at least they knew their limits.

After they left, the stagehands came out and started setting up for Mutemath. It took like 30 minutes. (!!!)
When *THEY* came out... well, during Mutemath's performance, my text to Harper was:
"Boring. But loud."
Which... actually pretty much sums up their whole time onstage. They did get semi-interesting for a little bit near the middle, but then they got boring again. Their drummer was easily the best part of their act.

Finally Mutemath wrapped up their 'songs' (the lyrics were indecipherable for the most part) and the waiting for twenty one pilots began. Again.

This is getting WAY long, and I want to finish it up, so I'm going to hit the highlights of the concert/performance now:

  • The curtain before the show. Awesome way of allowing them to set things up/build anticipation. And then when the band finally did take the stage, the curtain just DROPPED, and it was so simple, yet so awesome.
  • Everyone. Sang. Every. Word.  At first, hearing 15000 people shout the words to Heavydirtysoul was really fricking cool. (It  began to bug me just a tiny bit near the middle/end of the concert, but I'm chalking that up to having stood on my feet for so long.)
  • When Josh and Tyler first came out, they were wearing their suits and ski masks outfits. They kept them on for a while.
  • That magic trick. Oh. My. God. (Tyler had some stagehands cover him with a black tarp while he continued to play the keyboard. And then... he was UP IN THE BALCONY.)
  • The video where Blurryface talks to Josh, telling him not to go back out, that he should stay behind, that he should give up drumming... So many feels. And then, when he ignores his doubts and comes out anyway. Pure win.
  • Tyler's story about the guy at the bar he met the day before who didn't believe he was truly Tyler was funny. The guy being in the audience was a nice payoff.
  • Tyler being held up by the front row crowd while singing "Holding On To You". Love dorky puns.
  • The human hamster ball.
  • Car Radio
  • Near the end of the set, they had the opening acts come back out, and they all 3 did covers of Twist & Shout, My Heart Will Go On, Jump Around, and Love Yourself (which I didn't recognize, but Harper told me was a Justin Bieber song). Pretty fun, and made me appreciate the opening acts more.
  • During Lane Boy we all had to duck down in order to avoid being "seen" by some guy in a hazmat suit. I didn't quite follow the narrative/reasoning behind it, but it made the song even more fun than normal.
  • At one point we left the front-ish part of where we had been (Harper was needing to get away from the crowds) and made our way back a few rows. A VERY drunk couple was in front of us at that point. They were so gross. The guy was drenched in sweat, and his girlfriend was all over him and it was just ...ugh. 
  •  There was a lot less jumping from the crowd than I would have thought. A LOT more singing. I actually thought at one point that if I see them again, I wouldn't mind having a balcony seat so I could sit down comfortably. ...I think I'm officially old.
  • They ended the show the way they end all their shows. "We are twenty one pilots. And so are you." Chills.
So, yeah.  I can't believe it's been a week already. It was a really fun time (although the waiting and security were drawbacks) and I'm extremely glad that I won the opportunity and was able to share it with my daughter.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

they are twenty one pilots

On Friday, Harper and I got to attend the twenty one pilots concert, and we also did a "meet and greet" beforehand.

It's been a few days, and I wanted to blog about the experience, but I'm extremely rusty when it comes to writing, and I'm finding it difficult to know how to start.
Perhaps the beginning?
Last October, when the press release was put out that Twenty Øne Pilots would be coming to Vegas during their Emotional Roadshow tour, I attempted (but was unable) to get free tickets to the show through a hook-up at work. (The show is being produced by AEG Live, and the salesperson who handles that account is sometimes able to acquire free tickets to shows from them. Not this time, it turned out.)
So. That was a bit of a bummer, but, you know, life goes on.
Then, last week it was announced by the (fairly) local radio station, X 107.5, that they would be giving out tickets (along with meet and greet passes) all week long.

Monday, I listened to 107 online, but that did no good, since the streaming station is actually delayed by a few minutes. So by hte time you hear them ask for people to call in and win, they've already gotten their winner.

So, Tuesday, I brought a radio in to work, and listened thru that way. The first pair of tickets that were being given away were by the morning show. At 7:21am, they took 5 callers to play 'radio blackjack'. They were then going to take 5 more callers at 8:21, and the two listeners with the best hands would be the winners.
At 7:21, I got through (!!) and was able to play. I wound up staying with a 13, which was not a great hand, but it was one of the top two from the group of five. (The first three listeners  before me all busted. The listener after me stayed with a 20.)
At that point they took my information down and told me, that while it was a long shot, if the 5 players from 8:21 all busted, or none of them got higher than a 13, I would be a winner.
I was pretty excited at that point, but not putting all my eggs in my basket.
At 8:21, the next batch of players came in, and, the very first one wound up getting 20, so I was out of the running.
I stopped listening at that point.

Later in the day, though, the mid-day DJ was also giving away tickets. And all you had to do then was be caller 10.
Somehow.... I was.

Super excited at that point, I left work early to go pick up my prize. (The radio station is like 45 minutes away from my work)
When I got home, I told Harper about it, and she was absolutely ecstatic. (She is a really big fan, so this was definitely something that she was happy about.)

The rest of the week passed, with not a whole lot of TØP related news. Oh, Thursday night we realized we didn't own an actual physical CD of theirs. (So we could have them sign it at the meet-n-greet) Part of the drawback to the digital age. Almost all our music is now just files. And how do you have artists sign those?
Anyway, we drove down to Target to remedy that, but Target was sold out of twenty one pilots cds (from their incredibly small cd selection). Wal-mart was also out. And best buy was closed by the time we got there. So we STILL don't own any of their cds.
But we figured, worst case scenario, we could buy something at the meet-n-greet for them to sign.

Finally, Friday rolls around. Day of the show. Oh. I should mention that the papers for the meet-n-greet said to be at the Hard Rock at 3:45pm.
Fridays at my job are SUPER busy, so I was a little bit stressed out about being able to finish everything up in time to be able to make it there on time. But i'm getting ahead of myself.

So, yeah, Friday rolls around. I woke up at 5, and got in to work around 6. Blah de blahd, and busted my butt in order to be able to leave work by 2. The radio station called me around noon, to confirm that i was going, and also to get the name of my 'plus one', because they said that security for the band was being 'extra tight'. (Foreshadowing!)

I left work at 2:10, drove home, and changed my shirt. I don't own any TØP shirts like Harper does, and I felt like all my t-shirts were pretty lame, but wound up going with my ghostbusters one, because, eh, why not. And also 'cuz the new one opened that day.
Harper was wearing her newest twentyonepilots shirt - the red one we got her for her birthday. She had her hair done up and looked pretty awesome. She had a huge grin on her face. She had created a piece of art with the twenty one pilots logo on a piece of cardboard type thing, with "stay alive" printed on it, and she had a red and black sharpie so that we could have the band autograph it. We were pretty much all set. Harper had Steph's camera in her bag, and her phone.
I googled up how to get to the Hard Rock (I've been there before, but I'm not good with directions), and it said that it would take 42 minutes with traffic to get there. It was a few minutes before 3 when we left, so I knew we were cutting it close.
I took a wrong turn on the way (shoulda stayed in my lane boy), which set us back a few minutes more, and also made me extremely upset. But, we wound up getting to the hard rock, and parked at 3:44. We ran thru the parking lot and the casino until we found where we needed to go - there was already a long line of people. We spoke with someone at the box office, who directed us to the line, and we waited.
And waited.

And waited some more.

While waiting, Harper taught me how to use her phone for the pictures, and we discovered that Steph's camera didn't have the memory card in it. :( But at least I'd be able to take a pic with Harper's phone.

Eventually a few 107.5 employees came by and took my name. The line finally started moving after we had been there for almost an hour.

As we were heading in, we got to a first checkpoint, and the security there searched thru Harper's bag, and told her "no water bottles". (Which seemed extrmely random, but whatever.)  They also said something that we didn't catch about "no sharpies", but they didn't confiscate the ones Harper had.
We moved on to another line, which was actually outside of the stage, where things were being set up for the show. A stagehand did a catchy little number called "check one, check two" that went on for AGES.  We talked about what we would say/ask when we got there. I decided I'd ask them who they liked to race as when playing Mario Kart. Harper was going to ask them their favorite cereal.

And then a security guard came by and told us all the details that would have been REALLY nice to have known earlier:
This was going to be a photo only.
Our hands must be empty when we go in.
The picture would be taken by the band's camera-guy, and then posted on the band's website (twentyonepilots.com/sick) the following day, and would only be up for 48 hours.
If you had any gifts for the band, hand them over now.

Harper gave her art thing to the guy, even though she felt it wasn't really sufficient for a present (and it didn't have her name on it or anything)
We started moving up, and then... it was time.
We walked around the corner, and Josh and Tyler were standing there.
It went VERY fast. I shook both of their hands, (I remember that Tyler had the firmer handshake of the two) and maybe mumbled "nice to meet you" to them both. Or maybe just "hi". Or maybe I told them my name? I really don't recall, sadly.
Then we stood in between them, and...
Josh Dun, Harper, me, Tyler Joseph.

And then we were escorted out. I turned back to them and said, "Thanks, you guys are both awesome."
And that was it.

I unfortunately need to get ready for work, so I'll blog part two (the actual concert events) later.