Monday, November 26, 2012

AWOLNATION Texas adventure day 3- House of Blues Dallas

We began the day on the early side so we could get out & on the road as soon as possible. Our morning was graced with some wonderful piano playing (along with us singing). It made for some calm. It was a few hours to get to our next destination but we were ready to set out.  The same 4 from the day before climbed into the car & we began our adventure.  As we were driving along & headed into nowhere Texas, a tiny little town along the way, we stopped at a Subway for something to eat & take a break from driving for a little while. We went in & behind the register there were Frankenweenie bags. I said it was a sign of how epic they day was ahead. We asked if we could each have one...and he let us have them! And then I went over & asked for another (I had an idea for my kids to have Aaron sign them). We enlightened the guy at the counter with AWOL facts after he recognized the shirt that one of us was wearing. Even in the middle of nowhere Texas people recognize it & we got all giddy. We enjoyed our food & then headed out for the rest of our drive.  We listened to & sang along with AWOL for the rest of the ride. With my horse voice, we pulled into Dallas eventually & when we arrived at the venue the first thing we saw was the bus. We went into get something from the gift shop so we could get early admittance in & to scope out the line which was just a couple people. We hopped back in the car & headed over to the hotel that we were staying at & discovered it was only about a block away & that we'd be able to just walk back & forth. We went up into our room & relaxed a bit & then showered & got dolled up for the evening. We got the whole group together & then headed over to hang out for a while in line. When we were getting ready to head in, myself  & another nationer noticed Rock Well & Gibran taking stuff out of their van so we headed over & ended up chit chatting with those guys for a little while. With plenty of time, we got a bite to eat, sharpied our hands & arms & enjoyed our time together.
Eventually it was time to  head downstairs & some of us got yelled at since we were pretty much running to get to the front to be on the rail- which was padded!! After years of shows, I have never been to a show where there was a comfortable padded guardrail. I made my spot over where I have standing lately, close to Dave's side of the stage. The lights went down & Rock Well came out to drop some beats & there was a feeling like no other. We as a group decided that our word for the night was 'spearmint' to use if they asked for his freestyle. He picked our word again! And then the 3rd word he had already used before so we decided to pick another one & I threw out 'orgasm.' He made a comment how it was like I had one & then put that into his rap. It was awesome!! We all got so excited. Then Imagine Dragons came on the stage. Where I was standing it was right in front of the bass drum & Dan kept coming over right in front of me & he pointed & was singing right at me a few times. It was pretty cool. He said he had been having a bad day & then he came out & had us & it changed everything. You could tell there was so emotion & energy that he got back from the audience & he gave it right back. It was an awesome set. And then the wait for Awol was so anticipated. Then the musical intro came on & we went crazy wild.  Every show is just amazing & different & the buzz is just so incredible. Rory was filming & everytime he went past us, we all made it clear we were in the front row. The show was nothing short of amazing. Aaron got up to the edge of the stage during JOMS & then walked over us & surfed in the crowd & then went back on the stage. Then he got back off & went thru the front near the barricade & he high fived/grabbed my fingers as he went by. During All I Need, I got my emotional self, but not as bad & Dave noticed & made a motion of me wiping my tears. When Knights of Shame got to the middle part, Zeale came out & it was incredible. Kenny & Zeale hugged as he was getting off the stage. It was so neat to witness it. The show ended & we all went to get drinks & head back upstairs. The merch table was overcrowded so I was glad that I had gotten what I had wanted the day before. We were hanging out & ran into Dave as it looked like he was getting ready to head out so I wanted to catch him before he did. I showed him my book & he said that it was cool that I make them. He headed out & we all went outside & went over to where the bus was. We plopped ourselves down on the sidewalk where we sat for a very long time. We hung out with Drew for a bit & he told me that the card I got him was first in his bag & then in a spot in his bunk which I thought was cool. We watched many people go on & off the bus while we hung out waiting around. I caught Patti at one point when he was going past us & had him look at my book too since it was on his birthday that my book was from & I thought he might enjoy looking at it. He wanted to sign on the front of the book but as I discovered any ink on the cover tends to wear off quickly. So he found a spot inside it & then he stuck around & chatted with all of us. It was nice that he spent quite a good amount of time with us. We hung with Hayden for a bit. And Kenny, he went past us a few times. He even sat down on the sidewalk with us for a bit. He commented on my voice which at that point was really bad,  he said it sounded like I had been shouting & screaming for 3 days. Which was pretty much true. Dave walked past us & said that he thought Aaron might've done what his nickname was to us since he was who we were waiting for. After a while the guys went past us & didn't even say anything, it was pretty awesome. Zeale, Gibran, &  Rock Well were hanging out with us for a bit too. We weren't leaving until we were the last fans standing (or sitting which is what we really were doing). We finally were & we got Berko to go in & get Aaron to come out & see us. And he eventually did & it was pretty epic. He seemed happy to see us & we were so happy to finally see him. We headed back to the hotel & I started packing up my stuff as I had a very early flight back. I decided to just pull an all nighter & just crashed on the plane. It was an amazing end to an incredible weekend.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Nationchella Day 2- Awolnation in Texas: Hullabalooza, College Station

After a late evening, we got up & all started to get ready. It took some of us a while scrubbing the sharpie off our arms before we could head out. We stopped off at a taco stand for one of the best breakfast burritos I've ever had. Before we left, we decided to go & get the guys some flowers & a card just as a thank you and whatnot. We thought yellow roses would be perfect. The whole yellow rose of Texas thing plus yellow symbolizes friendship & "the color yellow evokes feelings of joy and lightheartedness." And according to Aaron, "whatever flowers you're into, I guarantee I seen 'em." So it seemed fitting.

We got out of store & hit the road, the 4 of us headed towards the venue.  We happily listened to good tunes while we drove. We got lost on the way there & ended up going in circles for a while. Finally we got into the festival to meet with the rest of our group & from the get go everything was messed up. There had been a bomb threat at the University near by so things got bumped back. Little did we know what a catastrophe of a day it was going to be. There was supposed to be a special meet & greet set up specifically for us. That fell thru. They told us that it would be taken care of & to patiently wait. Our VIP privileges were nothing short of a joke. Not to harp on the negativity, but there was nothing really special about our insanely expensive tickets that we paid for. Nothing was set up or ready for us when they let us in. We got let into the area where there were a couple rows of folding chairs set up. The stage was far away from us & separated by everyone with a moat.  We all made jokes about how there was probably alligators in the water. With our VIP privileges we were supposed to get free drinks & food. Myself & another nationer wandered up to the tent where there was a set up & we were told to go to another tent which had nothing. Then we were told that we could go to the other tent because we wanted to talk to someone at this point. We then went to another tent to go talk to someone of some sort of management to maybe get something done. But we just got a run around which made us both angsty. And then we ran into the AWOL Merch booth. Poor Mike, their merch guy, had to listen to us both rant & rave about the stupidity of the day.  They finally set up the booth & we were able to get drinks but nothing was iced & everything was warm. The pizza was good though.  That was about the only good thing.  We kept watch of the AWOL bus so we didn't have to pay attention to the awful acts that were on the stage. Drew & Kenny made appearances off & on. And at one point we noticed Kenny & Aaron skateboarding. At  one point we also saw a mod of fuzzy boot wearing, scantily clothed girls get on & off the bus. We sat thru an entire day of waiting.  Then it looked like the drums & guitars were getting adjusted but then they disappeared. And more hip hop/rap artists performed. More people filled in & we were up against a barricade closer while the sun began to set. Someone came out & told us that we could go over & have the meet & greet with the guys- along with a bunch of other people. When we went over there we were shifted around & then told that it was not happening again as the guys had to get ready to get on the stage. At this point many of us were beyond pissed. We gave up our spots in the front to then be told to go back. Someone in the group yelled at the guy who kept having us go back & forth. We were able to pretty much get back to the spot we were in just shifted over a little. We were still grumbling a little from having to go back & forth. As soon as Megalithic music started, all that melted away.
And when Aaron came out on stage he threw a kiss to our direction & put up his fingers in an A. They started playing & the wait all day for them was so worth it. The energy & intensity that is usually there came off of them even though they were so far away with the moat in between. The people behind us were chanting "Sail" the whole time which was pretty annoying & our group kept looking behind us & giving them looks. We rocked out & shouted  & cheered & excitedly danced. When Sail finally did come on, the crowd behind us was finally happy. And Aaron surprisingly said the "maybe I should kill myself" part of the song. We all looked at each other shocked because just earlier that morning we had been talking about how he never says it, and then he did!! As he often does, Aaron exited the stage- and on walks Zeale!! What a pleasant, unexpected surprise! We all cheered for him. At one point myself  & a couple of us yelled for Drew & he must've heard it as he raised his arm & pointed right at us. Their set ended & we were told we could head over to the bus as the guys would be coming out soon after, 3 times is a charm right?
We were standing around & Zeale came over to talk with us. Kenny came off the bus & headed over to us. We handed him the flowers & card we had gotten, which had been watered & carried around all day. They were a little withered by the time we finally got them to them. He thought that was sweet of us. Eventually we were able to get Hayden's attention & had him come over to see us.  Then Drew came off the bus & danced toward us with Aaron behind him. Drew headed straight over to give me a hug & Aaron hugged another nationer from our group! Kenny sauntered off the bus & him & Drew were dancing together. It was so fun & awesome to be there hanging with them after the hassle of the day.  I had a wonderful chat with Drew about how awesome it is that after all this time that he still has such a musical connection with Aaron. I started off the conversation with "you know what I like?" And I think it intrigued him.
We hung out for a while and then it was time for us to disperse & head out. We were all hungry so we decided that we should head out to eat & then go over to a nationer's house for another slumber party before attempting some shuteye to then get up in the morning for one more day of epic.
Part 3,  the conclusion of the Texas adventure soon to come...
To be continued...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

AWOLNATION 3 days of Texas...part 1 Austin Emo's East

It's been almost a month of settling in & letting my thoughts come in clearly that I now sit & ramble about my adventure of epicness of Awol & my nation family. I got up ungodly early to head out to the airport so I would have plenty of time & not have rush around. I had the mister drop me off & getting thru security literally took me 5 minutes if that and then I headed into my gate to wait, trying to rest but my mind was racing around.  My flights went smoothly & even my layover went over without a hitch. I landed in Austin & headed over to the venue after catching a cab.  I stepped out of the cab & was greeted with a cheer, the best way to be welcomed in.  As I was heading over to my group of friends, Patti & I crossed paths & we said to one another with a smile.  Then I continued over to the rest of the 5 waiting around & making the start of the line with hugs & smiles & wonderful conversation. Although most of these wonderful people I never met other than online, I felt like I've known them for years. 

We sat around for hours just relaxing, writing on our arms & hands to prep for the show & eventually other people started showing up. And so did a couple other people who were in our group as well.  Before I got there, Drew had been hanging with the group for a few but had to shower. As we sat there Dave went past us & we decided we were gonna play it cool & not do or say anything but that only last a couple minutes before we all called out to him & he waved at all of us. Kenny went past us & said hi to all of us as he headed inside. A few of us walked over to the local sub shop for a bite to eat & they asked us who were seeing & we then started talking up Awol since none of them had ever heard of them. When we headed back over to continue waiting, I had exhaustion hit me & I needed to lay down. As I started to use my bag for a pillow, one of my nation friends actually had a small pillow for me to sleep on. I drifted off into a short & sweet cat nap, and it was exactly what I needed so that I could continue on with the rest of the evening. I woke up & felt so rested. As we were still sitting around, the photographer from the radio station showed up & was impressed with our arm/hand art & started taking pictures of us.

Someone said you're not gonna find bigger fans than us & it's true. We're a dedicated bunch. We tallied up that between our group at the end of the weekend will have been to 70+ shows. The promoter from the radio station asked if we were there for the meet & greet. We said no but we could be. He said he'd see what he could do but there had been a contest from the station & they were waiting for those people to show up. We all figured that was that & we continued to sit around. We noticed a couple girls were over in a seperate line waiting to be brought in. We noticed that there weren't any other people & a few minutes later the guy came out & said that they could let 10 people in- we had 9 in our group! It felt like fate & then they let us head in. We all headed into the bar area where the meet & greet was happening. We went over to get drinks & found out that those of us had our beverages covered as there was a tab! I asked my nation buddy to pinch me to make sure this was all real. Zeale was soundchecking in the background while we were waiting around for the guys to come out. We stood around enjoying our drinks when they guys made their appearance. They came out & noticed us right away. Dave came over to me & was like hey, we just saw you a couple weeks ago. He said once again I was very far from home. He then gave me a high 5 & proceeded to give everyone around us them. We got some blank posters & had the guys sign them. I also had the guys sign my Nationchella shirt (we had all signed each other's shirts while were waiting around). As we were standing around & chatting Imagine Dragons was doing their sooundcheck. I went over to Drew & asked if he remembered our conversation from Indy & he said maybe, I then pulled out a Drew Blood Garbage Pail card for him. His eyes lit up! He was so excited. He turned to Dave & Kenny & said look what she got me. He turned & hugged me & said it was an awesome gift. He showed Aaron too & they both said it was pretty cool that I found that. Then I went over to Kenny & gave him his replacement bracelet that I made for him. He thought it was cool that I remembered.  We all stood around, drinking & chatting & having a good time. Between my abyss of a bag & trying to hold everything,  my nation friend joked & told each of the guys that "we  can't give her alcohol before the show." One of the nationers got her mom on the phone & Aaron had a short chat with her. I got pictures with each of the guys. I stood on my tippy toes for a picture with Hayden & Drew- I still didn't come up to either of their shoulders. Then we all gathered together for a group shot of all of us. We noticed a couple other people had come in, maybe those were the actual winners of the contest.
The guys said they'd see us later on as they were getting ready to go get ready for the show. We also  got  to meet  the guys from Imagine Dragons. They are sweet, genuine gracious people. We noticed they opened the doors for everyone else so we headed straight for the front row where we took up a good part of it. I stood over by Dave's side of the stage, even further over than I have the last few shows. Kenny still has his keys set further back near Hayden. I heard him say that he likes being over there now.
The crowd filled up & it got crowded quickly. We were right up against the barricade. I had a girl with a very big bag up against my back. Let's just say she was a part of my angst for most of the evening. Behind us a fight almost broke out over something that sounded petty & immature. I tried to drone it out. The anticipation of the show was a buzz from all of us. We decided as a group that if Zeale picked a word from us to do his freestyle, that our word was Chewbacca. Rockwell came out, spun a little & then did his introduction for Gibran & Zeale to come out on stage. Such energy & enthusiasm from those guys. They had Patricia Lynn come out to sing on "Hope Dies." And then when Zeale started "Mr. Black Rogers," Aaron came out! It was so cool to watch them perform together. They both looked so happy together on the stage. Aaron boasted a big beaming smile & happily aimed the pro-go out into the audience before leaving the stage. Zeale used our word for part of his freestyle (sexy, fire, chewbacca), we went a little crazy when he said it. His set ended & the Imagine Dragons came out. I had a much better view this time than when I last saw them.  They put on an amazing show! Dan, their frontman has so much energy & emotion. You tell he had a lot of it during their set. The anticipation grew waiting for Awol to take the stage. Then Megalithic Symphony started & out walked the guys...and Aaron with a large walking stick. He commanded the stage & then headed over to the drums & it was taken off the stage. As always such a great set of epicness. They left out a couple songs this time around but it's ok we got to hear an accapella version of Lean on Me by Aaron which was incredible. As soon as the guys finished Knights & left the stage, a few of us got set lists & then we rushed for water & bathrooms. Then we headed outside to wait around. Kenny came out & we thanked him for yet another amazing show. He stood around & talked with us for a bit. Then Drew came out & he greeted us happily. Someone started the conversation with him that we're a different group of fans, different from groupies. He told us that we are their "fuel." It made us all happily giddy as we headed out to get some food & head over to have a slumber party in Austin before attempting to get a bit of shuteye before embarking on Day 2 of our adventures...
to be continued....