I then promptly handed out the gifts that I had made for Kate & Amanda (a necklace with their names, a friendship bracelet & a flower clip with a pic of AN). I was told that if I heard the code word "banana" then I'd know when there was a band member stepping of the bus...and I recall telling Kate my code word would be "rum" just because. We wrote on our hands and on our arms...I decided I would write OLD SCHOOL AWOL since I've been around for a while. Eventually Kate's friend Dan joined us too- we informed him about what he was in for, for the evening, with us. As we sat around and continued to wait, I watched the line continue to grow & eventually I noticed some of the guys going past us. Kenny & Hayden (keys & drums) sauntered past us & I said hey to both of them. Then Drew ("new" guitarist) did as well. I noticed Patti(the band's stage manager) walk past us and when he was going in I said Happy Birthday to him. Finally the doors were getting opened & we got carded & wrist banded and they let us head in. We power walked over to the place where they then check your ticket & we rushed toward the stage. In all the years I have been going to the Paradise, I have never been to a show where there was a barricade. Then again, I don't think I had ever been to a sold out show either. So we were right up against the barricade. I figured it would be fun & different to stand over on the right side of the stage- right in front of Dave & Kenny(bass player & keyboardist). Only one other show did I end up in front of them but that was by accident due to Kenny's laptop cord. Then we started drinking. Which is not good to do when I'm thirsty. I downed those rum & cokes quickly. It is a good thing that I ate. Bits & pieces of memories are blurry and have been pieced together from conversations and things that come here & there. Some moments are gone for good. Active Set was the opening band. They were a really great 4 piece band- good sound with nice energy & you could tell they were happy to be on tour & excited to be in Boston. Their set ended and the guys stuff got uncovered and guitars started getting tuned and then Hayden came out on the stage to check out his drum & make sure everything was set for the show- the crowd went wild when he sat down. Eventually the lighting changed and the rest of the guys came out one by one to start off the show with People.
When Aaron said hello Boston, we all about lost it. Dave smiled at me when I waved at him. Kenny was smiling too. We were all dancing and singing and headbanging and jumping and screaming along throughout the entire show. NYF people went crazy & we all sang along. GFS had really cool lighting & Aaron held Kate's hand (she & I jumped up & down excitedly after he did). During KYH Aaron was up on the barricade and teetered for a moment so I grabbed his ankle to steady him. Most of the show was one happy excited blur. It seemed to go by in an instant. I love that Aaron completely broke the rule of the Paradise of the no stage diving or crowd surfing by encouraging and asking who was going to be the first person to do it and then surfing & diving himself. After that there was a girl that surfed around the entire club & got helped up on the stage by Aaron and then she dove back into the crowd. I wonder if those people who did were kicked out or not. Aaron crowd surfed over us twice. JOMS will still continue to be my favorite song since it was the first that I ever heard of theirs. During Soul Wars, Dave took over the keys & Kenny played guitar- it was cool to see. Toward the end we yelled "who ha, who ha" and Aaron yelled "come on Boston" and we all screamed so loud. And for the end of the song and into the next he layed down on the ground. For All I Need, me, Kate & Amanda put our arms around each other & I got a little weepy. "It feels so good to be loved this afternoon," Aaron is so right. When Aaron strapped on his AN guitar, I knew it was time for Joke (which is the only song not studio recorded or off of M.S., yet at least) and you could tell there were a lot of people who still have yet to hear this song. It really is a fantastic song. Then when the opening chords to Sail came on everyone chimed in again & Aaron told us all to put our hands side to side & we all willing did so. "This is one big happy family and we call it Awolnation." I am so proud to be part of this family. Then Burn it Down came on & we went bananas jumping around. At one point in the song, Aaron turns "Alright everyone on the floor, let's get low to the ground for a second. As low as you possibly can- and then we're all gonna jump up, alright?" And we all did- including the band. Then the band broke it down and Aaron was doing their ending that they have changed up a bit & he was saying/singing "freedom, seems like a joke to me" and you could see he was getting ready to dive & he jumped up so high off the stage into the middle of the crowd. And then he made his way back & Patti helped him back up onto the stage and ended the show. The lights came up & Dave leaned over & I shook his hand & held it for a minute while he shook the people around us. Then Amanda was picking up a pick & she tried to get the set list & Dave helped get it off the stage & handed it right to her. We made our way to the bathroom & then headed outside for some air- and happened to run into Hayden. I told him that I had missed them since it had been a while since they were around my neck of the woods. He told me that they missed me too. We asked if they were sticking around or if they were leaving soon and he said they were gonna catch the Neon Trees set and hang around for a bit after. We then headed back inside but being the good fans we are, we let the people there see the Neon Trees go to the front where we had been & retreated to the back of the club & revisited the bar & danced & enjoyed the music from afar. Did I mention that we drank MORE?! I switched over to Red Bull & vodka- not only do they contribute to one of my favorite artists but they did to my twitchy drunkenness.
The show completely ended & we headed outside & plopped ourselves down on the sidewalk waiting for the guys to come out. We had plenty of time to sit and be patient. Drew came out for a smoke & I turned and introduced myself to him & said it was a great show & he is a good guitarist. I mentioned how it's nice to have someone that has history like him and that he's made the transition into the band smoothly. I decided that I was going to be nice & not angst ridden towards him, what's the point of that? He did nothing wrong & he is keeping the guys on the road. Kate kept pulling me away to make sure I wasn't saying anything that I'd regret. I kept telling though, "I'm good, I've got this, I'm being nice." I told him I've got history with this band too being that I've been around since the early days of 2010 & Back from Earth & pre-Sail. He told me "it's nice to have hardcore fans that aren't mad that I'm here." He said he needed to go take a shower though so then he went back inside. Hayden once again came out and I said fancy meeting you again. I said we should get a picture together- he is so tall and he completely towers over me so then I said "How tall ARE you?" He's 6'3" so standing next to me who is only 5'1" is quite the sight to see.
I asked if he had a moment to show him something. I had made this great book filled with pictures from the last 3 shows I had been to and I asked if he would sign it after he looked thru it. He looked at each and every page and then signed it & handed it to me. He went on his way when Kenny came out & was headed toward the bus. I said wait, I want to catch you before you disappear. We both laughed. I told him he was the only one I didn't see the last time they were here & needed to get him to sign my CD- I then told him I dubbed him the sneaky ninja (that's what he then signed and it made me smile). Then I asked if he wanted to see my book and if he'd sign that too. He looked through every single page as well. And before he left I said we needed a picture together since all the times we hung out I had never gotten one with him. I made sure it happened. I asked where Dave was as I hadn't seen him- he said Dave's girlfriend was on tour with them & he was busy showing her around the city. And I know we talked about CT & I told him he was a good sneaky ninja at keeping things top secret. Then he went on to the bus.
Aaron came out from the club & I noticed he had a lot of stuff in his hands and his backpack still on. We stayed over near the doors & then realized there were some people over there talking & getting their pictures taken. So we figured if they were over there, we might as well too. The three of us each individually had our pictures taken with him & he posed the same way for each of us. As I turned to him, I said I know you're not a big fan of this & we can wait until later. He just wanted to put his stuff down & go relax on the bus for a bit. But he said he would do it. And then he got on the bus. Then Patti came out of the bar & he still had his beer in his hand while he was hanging outside the bus. I told him Happy Birthday again & asked how he got his beer out of the bar. He mentioned that they're fine with them taking them on the bus...while he continued to drink it outside of the bus! Then I noticed a crowd of people and Aaron standing back over near Kate & Amanda. He was signing more stuff & taking pictures. I turned to Aaron & asked if he had a minute to look at something, because I made a book. "This is something my mom would make." "Yeah well I am a mom," was our conversation. He then looked at each and every page & soaked it all in. He said he had never seen anything like it from a fan. I think he liked it. And then he was like, "Wow, you have a lot of pictures of Christopher" and I said yeah well I was a Melon fan first so yeah. I mentioned how I missed CT being there & then Aaron patted my shoulder (like a "there, there" type of motion). After he spent a while looking at my book, I asked him to sign it. He asked me where I wanted it signed I said wherever so he then decided to go on the back cover.
I asked him if he noticed my arms & he said yeah, you really ARE old school- you go way back. Then I turned and told Aaron I wanted a picture of him with my new nation friends & it was because of him & his music that brought us together. I noticed that Patti was still standing outside so I moved towards him and asked if he too wanted a look at my book. He was like of course. He was going through it page by page & telling me the pictures that he particularly liked. He turned to me & said I've got a good eye and that my camera takes some amazing shots. I told him my camera has been to so many shows & amazingly is still going strong. He got to the end and I asked for him to sign it to. He told me he wasn't worthy of signing it. I told him to shut it & the stage manager is just as important if not more to the band- he's the magic behind the scenes and a necessity. So I got him to sign it.
Then he asked what me & my friends were up to. He wanted to know if we wanted to join him to continue celebrating his quarter of a century. I ran over to Kate, Amanda & Dan & told them that Patti invited us to hang out at the bar next to the Paradise. Kate wasn't sure at first and I went back over to him and said I got outvoted- he pouted & said "it's not gonna be a party, just us hanging out & getting more drinks." Kate said she didn't want us to impose- he gave her this look like are you stupid, you're not imposing. And with that we were all off to the little pub next to the club. Patti & Mike led the way. We went in and got drinks and I noticed 3 shots in front of Kate- she handed one to me & I asked what it was & she told me it's called a "shut up and drink it" and that the other shot was for Patti for his birthday. I handed it to him & happily told him "this is for your birthday- it's called a shut up & drink it." He looked at me & the 3 of us clinked our glasses & drank them all. I told Patti that I was planning on being an irresponsible parent for the evening. We continued to drink and hang out when suddenly walked in Aaron, Kenny, & Drew. They went up to the bar & got a drink & right away Kenny & Drew left while Aaron sat over to the side where there's a table section in the middle of the bar- right next to us. He ended up sitting on the side of me. And a bunch of people that had been outside pulled up chairs around him. There was one girl who was clearly as drunk or more than me who was very chummy with Aaron. I turned and whispered in Aaron's ear "do you need to be saved??" He was like, no I'm good. I wanted to make sure. And then I turned to Patti and told him to keep an eye on her- I didn't get a good vibe off her. It said it was the mom in me that she needed to be watched. It could have just been my drunk senses. I asked him to keep an eye on me & make sure I didn't drink anymore and I switched over to water. Kate tried to give Aaron a shot too but he declined- Patti informed us that he's paranoid & poked fun at him. So then as I was sitting down again (I was up & down & all over the place the whole time). I tapped Aaron on the shoulder & showed him my wrists that had <M3 <A3 written on them. I asked if he had seen that at the shows lately and if he knew what it meant. He said he had but didn't know what it was. So I told him how you know how on facebook you can put the < and 3 together to make a heart well there was a good Melon friend who made a typo with the M in the middle & someone else pointed out that it was like Melon love. So I wrote it with an A in the middle one day for Awol love & it has caught on. I'm a total trend setter. He said that I am. And then I mentioned how I want to get those inked on me. And talked about tattoos for a while before my drunk attention span went somewhere else. I vaguely recall having a tattoo conversation with Patti & Kate but the details are gone at this point. And then I told Aaron how I left my mister at home with the kiddos for the night & he told me that I had a great cool husband and that we must have an amazing marriage for him to let me go & have fun. I said it's what it's all about. And then I told him "thank you" He asked me for what and I opened up my hands & pointed at the bar & my awol friends & everything & he nodded. Then I headed outside for some air. And I was very teetery and needed to sit down- so I did just that on the sidewalk while everyone stood around me. Dan came out & said he had one more shot inside for Patti- and then pointed at me & said me too. I was like, oh no, no more for me. He was like don't worry, you'll be fine. He got me a water shot. And we cheered to Patti & decided it was time to call it a night. I told Patti we made it a party for him. So we all headed outside & gave big hugs to the birthday boy & hailed a cab. Kate sat in front while Amanda sat inbetween me & Dan. We had the cabbie drop us off at the McDonald's across from Kate's hotel & then we walked thru the drive thru, walked across to the hotel, enjoyed our much needed food & then headed to bed. All & all one of the best nights!!! <A3