I had been looking forward to this concert for months. As the days passed and Friday, May 22nd, 2009 came my stomach was boiling with much anticipation. You are probably thinking I had the best time ever and there is no way I could ever forget a concert like this. Well, it was a lot of fun, but I had been stoked to get to see Taking Back Sunday and The Used in just one show! I saw them both from afar and if I was being honest, I am a little sad.
The outdoor venue was huge. There were people just about everywhere. With little tents set up for drinks, merchandise, and even a VIP area. People with hair dyed wild colors and strange hair styles, tattoos, and about a million piercings; short people, tall people, and the list goes on.
Anberlin were the first band to play. I have now seen them in concert three times! Anberlin were putting a lot of effort into that performance, but very few people would move around to their music. Now I really do like Anberlin, but the gig is just starting to get old and I was ubber excited to see Taking Back Sunday. I don’t think Anberlin played more than five or six songs before they left the stage, but they had fun with it.
During the intermission the crowd would inch forward and Tracey, my mother, and I tried to socialize a little with a couple people around us. Including two boys who proved to be nice; one of them was named Kelvin. When I looked around I would see angry boys or smiling faces. I could smell pot once again, cigarettes, and beer. I could feel the tension build as Alkaline Trio’s performance was about to start. I heard yelling and turned around to see Kelvin grabbing a guy’s shirt. I don’t know how they got into a spat, but I was a little worried a fight just might break out. Kelvin shoved the passerby off and cooled down. “It kinda gets the adrenaline goin’ don’t ya think?” Kelvin smiled, not really directing the question to anyone in particular.
I’m not even sure if Alkaline Trio were two songs into there set when a mosh pit broke out. As some of you may not know, a terrified look spreads across my face whenever I am near a mosh pit. I turned around to see my mother’s face for a sense of protection. One girl says to me, “It’s okay, I got you.” I smiled and said thank you. While people are moshing all I could think was that I am anything but hardcore. How can these kids enjoy banging themselves up for no real reason?? The last mosh pit I saw, I was literally standing right next to it. Though, those boys were having fun with it. These people in the mosh pit during Alkaline Trio’s set were mean to each other. In fact, I am pretty sure I saw a couple of people punching each other. There would be boys with their girlfriends pushing out of the crowd. I heard one of them say, “She needs help.”
At the beginning of The Used’s set I was singing to “Liar Liar (Burn In Hell)” (which I love dearly) when a drunk guy knocked into me. He took a look at me and noticed that I’m was a bit younger than most of the kids there. Kelvin’s friend pulled him off me, then the drunk says, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry…” repeatedly. As the drunk is ready to push in front of me I was fine with it, all I wanted was for him to be gone. The drunk reaches across and his hand accidentially brushed against my chest. “I didn’t touch her! I swear I didn’t touch her…” he said over and over. I panicked more than I did when the first mosh pit broke out. My mom pleads, “Just go. Just go.” “Please,” I added. With the fresh air shortage and the angry boys I told my mother, “Let’s go. We need to go.” I grabbed Tracey’s hand and we shouldered our way away from the stage.
Finally we had space, I bent over and took a couple deep breaths and said, “Let’s go buy merch.” I walked over to the big merchandise table set under a small roof. I was eyeing a yellow T-shirt that read, “I used to be in Taking Back Sunday”. I smiled to myself and asked the woman at the table, “Can I see the yellow Taking Back Sunday T-shirt in a small?” “Sure,” she replied, turning around to find one my size. The woman layed the shirt out on the table and all I was thinking is, Jeez, this is a size small?? “Is this the smallest size you have?” I asked, hoping there might be an extra small. The merch girl responded, “Yep.” Hmph. Instead I settled for a blue T-shirt with cute monster looking things with the words “Taking Back Sunday” printed across the top and bottom of the shirt.
Walking away from the merchandise table I saw a familar looking Hot Topic employee. No, not the mysterious Eli, but a different guy. Honestly, I don’t even know his name after seeing him several times. But he recognized me once I pointed out that he had given me one of his buttons from his employee necklace. His mohawk (or more so frohawk) had grown out since I had last seen him. “You guys have fun!” he said, and left to wander somewhere else.
Tracey, my mother, and I found a little spot where you could see the stage just fine, but it was that whole “experience” I was missing once again. Taking Back Sunday opened the show with “Error: Operator”, and there was just no way I could keep my girlish screams silenced. There would be moments when you couldn’t hear Adam’s voice because he was too busy performing, but I decided I wouldn’t hold anything against him or the band. The only thing that was running through my head was, Please don’t let Taking Back Sunday’s performance end. Adam Lazzara, the lead singer, asked, “If you have a left hand, can you raise it in the air?” I lifted up my left arm as told. Adam continued,”Now if you have a right hand to go with that left hand, go ahead and raise that one too.” The crowd was now holding their arms high above their heads. “Now clap them together like so,” Adam finished. With that Taking Back Sunday performed their single “New Again” off of their upcoming record, New Again. At the end of Taking Back Sunday’s performance Adam Lazzara climbed up on the metal railings that held the stage lights. He hung upside down and sang. I yelled and pointed in awe.
Taking Back Sunday’s set list included, “You’re So Last Summer”, “Liar (It Takes One To Know One)”, “A Decade Under The Influence”, “Sink Into Me”, and ended their performance with “MakeDamnSure”.
There was about a thirty of forty minute break before The Offspring were due to come on stage. And in that short time Tracey was “hit on” by a couple, well, technically one guy.
REPLAY: A guy in a green Blink-182 T-shirt turns to face me and Tracey, and for a minute I was wondering if he was going to talk to us. Of course, he does. “Hey, my cousin over there, the total poseur with his shirt off,” he points to guy without a shirt. Tracey nods her head. “I’ve been trying to get him to talk to you, but he’s too scared. He thinks I’m tryin’ to set him up. He thinks I know you. Would you please just tell him you don’t know me?” Tracey looks a bit confused and replies, “Um, sure?”
This Blink-182 t-shirt wearing guy goes over to get his cousin. His shirtless cousin has brown hair, an average short cut, a smiling face, and a tad bit of chest hair growing in an odd shape (ew). “You don’t know this guy?” the shirtless dude asks, smiling. Tracey shakes her head, “No.” All the while I’m just standing there, entertained, watching some random guys talk to Tracey. Finally, these guys introduce themselves as Joe (the green Blink shirt wearing boy) and Adam (the shirtless one). “What’s your name?” Joe asks. “Phoenixx,” I lean in to tell him because of the booming sound of music and other people’s laughter and voices. Joe laughs and says, “He’s got a Phoenix bird on his chest!” I laugh at how ridiculous this sounds. Adam says, “Phoenix risin’ from the ashes!”
A couple minutes are filled with small talk and my mom walks back over. When Adam told my mom about the whole chest hair deal and she asked, “Do you shave it like that?” Adam smiled, “No, it just grows that way!” Adam asked Tracey quite a few questions including, “So, are you going to any parties after the concert?” Tracey replied, “No, I don’t think we could sneek this one in.” Obviously referring to me. As much as I was entertained by these boys, they left and The Offspring were soon to come on stage.
Kelvin also found me again. He came over and touched my shoulder. For a minute I thought it was my mom until I turned to see who it was. Kelvin asked if I was okay, he said his friend told him what had happened. I told him I was fine now that it was over. (Though, I actually saw that drunk guy again during Taking Back Sunday’s set, but I decided not mention that.) “Did you like Taking Back Sunday?” Kelvin asked. I replied grinning, “Yesss!! They are my favorite!” He smiled kindly and left.
The Offspring totally respected us Kansas City people. In fact the lead singer, Dexter Holland said in the past few days they had been on tour the Kansas City crowd had “totally kicked their asses!” He also noticed how messed up these Kansas City kids were and said, “You know, kids from Kansas City are just as messed up as anyone else.” All those angsty people out there must have loved that quote.
Things seemed to mellow out quite bit in fact a guy with a sign that read, “Free Hugs” wandered around. The first time he zipped past me I didn’t have the guts to hug him, instead I watched other people chase after him. “Hey, Free Hugs Guy!” one girl shouted pushing past everyone and practically tackling him. — I get a laugh out of that every time I think about it. — Later he came back around and I rushed up to him asking, “Can I have a free hug?” I hugged him and he hugged me, and that is the part of the night I remember and cherish most.
After several songs Tracey said, “We can leave early, I’ve seen them like three times already.” I told her I wanted to stay for “Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)” and then we could leave. The Offspring put on a fabulous live show, but nothing was more fabulous than Adam Lazzara up on that stage. The only thing I am still missing is my bubbly excitement. The kind that leaks out of me and makes other people smile. My favorite songs from The Offspring’s setlist are “Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)”, “Americana”, and “Keep ‘Em Separated”.
Driving away from the venue I slid into my vibrant blue Taking Back Sunday T-shirt; then we made a stop at Chubby’s for a burger at midnight.