Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Karma Police

The Great RH Road Trip:  Day two, Getting Into the Show or The Night the Radiohead gods Showed Mercy and Smiled on Emily

I had a hard time figuring out the RH lyric or song that would be the best fit to title this post until the obvious choice dawned on me.................Karma Police...................

(FYI:  The runners up were:
A Wolf at the Door
[Nice Dream]
Fitter Happier
Sit Down, Stand Up)

Would have also worked:  Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box................Ah, the fun I have.

You see, this post is the story of a girl, a loyal, patient fan of a certain little band.  She loved this band dearly, and it took a long time for this girl to finally be able to see this favorite band in person.  She was very patient about the wait too, and hardly ever complained about it (I took a liberty in those last few facts).  When she was finally in a position to see this band, obstacles met her at every turn.  Tour dates were announced.  She wanted to see this band with her husband and he is in school until April and this was going to require a road trip.  The first dates released didn't include some areas of the country they were very willing to travel to, and these first dates were all during the week, during school.  So she bit her nails, sat on her hands and waited and waited for more dates to be announced.  Of course they would announce more dates!  Those tickets went on sale.  Those concerts sold out.  More dates released!  She picked a few convenient locations and waited for presales.  Presales for the excellent tickets (ie general admission, floor) were sold early on the band's own website.....................on her niece's wedding day. what?  So we miss the presale.  There will be more tickets through Ticketmaster, even GA ones.  We will be at the computer the second they are released-no problem. Ah, how young I was then.

PROBLEM.  What happened next was some major sold out madness.  Tickets were gone within seconds of release.  A few tickets came up.  Nosebleeds.  Ok.  No problem.......... lets wait a few days and not go to that concert, we'll go to California.  Same thing only worse.  What was going on????  More sitting on hands and waiting for more Ticketmaster sales.  Presales:  gone in seconds.  Few days later:  Ticketmaster gone before they were even on sale.  Backup plan instigated.  Go to some secondary ticket seller sights and see what's up.  YIKES!  Every venue had tickets we wanted...........................................for 400 + bucks a pop.  Every venue except for one.  Enter:  Glendale Arizona.  For some reason, lovely Arizona- you had tickets for just a bit over ticket price.  You were hundreds of dollars less then everywhere else.  I don't know why.  I wonder if because you are in the Southwest, and therefore a bit out of the way for much of the country.  This girl didn't care!  Glendale it was.  We chose GA tickets for about double the cost of an original ticket.  The difference will not matter in 10 years right?  Tickets in virtual shopping cart.  Fees tacked on.  Triple the price now?  Regroup.  Lets find the best section in the place and be happy we are actually seeing the best band in the whole world (and bring binoculars).  Lets see........ tickets for 3 people.  Can't do that?  Awesome sis in law steps up and declares she will sit alone and buy a single ticket a little higher in the venue and be totally cool about it.  Done.  Tickets bought.  Relief: sighed.

Now this girl may be getting on in years a little bit, but she can still rock it with the best of them front and center amidst a million pushing and sweaty moshing fans.  In fact, in her opinion, that's the only way to do it.  You know what though?  Sometimes everything doesn't turn out the way we want it to and we make compromises and we deal with it and we consider ourselves lucky we get to be there at all.  You know.........people are lining up for these concerts 10 hours early and waiting in a queue all day just to get a good spot.  Sounds like the floor is going to be madness and scary.  Perhaps being in a GREAT seat, with a little room and a pair of binoculars is going to be great.  Yep.  It will be awesome, don't have to show up early, chill out that day, waltz into the stadium and sit and enjoy the concert of a lifetime. 

This girl was excited.  She couldn't wait.  She was excited for her section on Jonny's side of the stage. evil little voice would rear it's head from time to time, whispering, "you belong on the floor with the sweaty obsessed people.  You should be there with them.  You should be as close to the band as you can possibly get.  You should be sweated on by Thom Yorke.  You've earned that."  The girl admits to contemplating her options.  She was tempted to buy a ga ticket now and then.  She saw that fans on fan sites had an extra ga ticket once in a while that they would sell for cost because they felt like helping a brother out as opposed to the dirty rotten ticket scalpers that were determined to squeeze blood from these hapless fans that only want to see the band that makes their world go round.  The girl knew that if she bought a new ticket she would leave her brother behind and be alone down there.  Not very cool.  She chose her brother and the seats and the binoculars and she was effing happy about it. 

Enter the Karma Police.

Ok.  So that was longer then intended, but this is really quite a story and must be told.  But before the Radiohead gods shined that night, we had to deal with The Wolf  (at the door).

Here we are, just stepped out of the car- there's the arena in the background:

So in order for Matt and I to get in the venue, we had to meet up with the jerk face ticket scalper at the gate, have him swipe his credit card and get handed the tickets and then give the tickets to us.  He called and we arranged a meeting time.  I chose to believe that he was just a dude around our age that had a million friends say they wanted to go and then bale on him so he had to sell the extra tickets.  That was how I lived with myself for purchasing these tickets (I lived with myself also because I had no other choice.  RH was not touring anywhere near me without me again- that had been established in 2008 and this was the only way I could figure it was going to happen).  Well, my fan with too many tickets was NOT who we met.  We met a over middle aged weasel with a shirt buttoned too far down and quite the obvious racket happening.  We said hi to him and his associates and he gave us the rundown on how this would work:  We take his credit card as if it were ours, walk boldly to the gate, flash a smile, hand over the card, get it swiped, get handed the tickets, and get our wrist bands.  Oh, and if they ask you to show your id, tell them you left it in the car.  Yep.  He actually said all that quietly in Matt's ear and then stood shady-like on the outskirts and watched us walk up there.  Matt even turned around before we approached and look at him, and Matt got a Pez nod in return.  This guy seriously needed a trench coat filled with watches on the inside!  I felt so gross and dirty.  We did as we were told to the two nice old ladies at the gate.  They dutifully swiped the card and then handed us our tickets.  Then we both walked over to the lady with the fist full of arm bands and held out our wrists.  She banded us up and we walked nervously back to Shady McWeaselton, gave him his credit card back and he was gone, quick as a flash.  Matt and I shared a look of incredulity at what had just happened, declared that we felt slimy and that we needed a shower and then BREATHED A HUGE SIGH OF RELIEF!!!  That little transaction was one I had lost sleep over for more then one or two nights.  I worried worried worried that something would go wrong.  I imagined us with failed tickets, calling my sister and telling her that we didn't get into the concert and to come pick us back up.  I imagined how freaking hard I would cry.  I felt bad for that me sometimes, hoping she didn't ever exist.  I'm telling you, it was heavy on my mind quite a few times.  But you know what?  We had actual tickets with our awesome section on them.  We were as good as in.  One more little hurdle:  making sure B's ticket (a paper one with another dude's name on it) worked and got her in.  They wouldn't let those tickets be scanned yet, so we had some time to kill.  We were still hours from concert time, so we wandered around that lame mall again.  Yeah, it was lame.  But we had wrist bands, we had tickets in our pockets.  We were seeing Radiohead soon- who needs a good mall?  We were told they would open the doors at 6:30, so it was a little after that when we said, "should we go?"  No need to bust the door down, we had tickets, we didn't have to get there until the opening band was over if we wanted.  We were too excited for that nonsense, so we made our way back to the venue.  

Back to the gate people, only this time the shady part was over and we could just show our legit tickets and go inside.  This time I greeted an old man.  He took one look at me (or my wristband as it turns out) and told me that the GA gate was over there, in another place.  I said, "I'm not GA" and I showed him my ticket.  He studied it and said, "You're right, well I'm surprised they gave you that" and pointed to my wristband.  I shrugged and walked inside and waited for Matt to finish.  He got in and then we watched B get in with no problem (phew) and then I concentrated on my run in with that old man.  Forgive me, but my wheels were running slow.  I considered the possibility that the venue and that dear, sweet old lady may have put GA colored wristbands on us by mistake.  Nope.  That is crazy dreamland thinking.  This is reality.  Little did I know that arena messed up pretty bad that day.  There was an article about it.   I looked around a little bit looking for other colored wristbands.  Many people had no wristbands at all.  That is when I started allowing myself to actually consider what may have happened.  I decided to let Matt in on what may be happening.  Shocked Matt face.  By then (all of this happened in less then 2 minutes), I was feeling more and more confidant that is what happened.  We discussed it.  We spoke the words of people in shock:  What should we do about this?  Do we go up to our seats or go to the floor?  What should we do??  If we hadn't been in shock, we never would have contemplated our options, we would have flown downstairs so fast it would make Jonny's head spin.   We ACTUALLY discussed going to our seats and ignoring the wristbands.  Of course, we finally got level headed enough to cut through the fog and make some decisions.  I did have one sensible thing holding me back:  It was getting closer to 7 and the venue had been open for a while now and I had reasons to believe that all the good close to the stage spots were long gone and we would have to be far, far back and our seats would be closer and the better option.  There was an easy way to prove or squelch that:  peek inside.  We peeked and what we saw at that moment was nothing short of another gift granted to us by the Radiohead gods:  NOT THAT MANY PEOPLE DOWN THERE.  And not only that:  there was actually less people on Jonny's side of the stage.  It was like one of the RH gods scooped 25 people away from the stage to clear our path.  Yes, you heard me right:  gift number 3.  Shock gone.  This was way too exciting and important for that.  Poor B.  Lamesauce.  But wait-  take our tickets!  You can have a better seat too!  Everyone wins!  We hugged her good bye, gave her the binoculars, and flashed our magical, miracle wristbands and headed down the steps.

We were in!  We both at the same time, unplanned, breached the gap of floor to the front in ballet leaps and jigs.  Back to shock.
 How in the HELL did we get here?? 

 Taking pictures with our phones of our wristbands to send to family and friends, with news of our amazing fortune.

 Are we really standing ON THE FLOOR, amidst other wristbanders, feet from the very stage my musical heroes are going to be standing and singing and playing????  NO BIPPING WAY.  It was then that Matt won himself the first of three long stares he would receive from me that night.  He asked me, "Are you sure that this is where Jonny will be?"  Stare. *crickets chirping*  (My stare said, "AM I SURE?  Seriously?  This girl may not know the square root of 4567, but she knows this.  In all of the times she has seen them on stage (on youtube) never once has she seen Jonny stand and play anywhere since 1993 then to Thom's left.  And this girl knows of which she speaks.")  I think my stare conveyed all these things because he laughed and said no more (for now).  We looked up at B and waved.  She waved back.  We looked at where she WOULD have been sitting if things had gone according to plan.  Yikes!  It was really high up there.  B's new seat was pretty dang good.
Now, we just had to stand where we were amidst an ever growing crowd for a few hours until the boys showed up.  (Here is where the last post's explanation of my feeding and sleeping schedule comes into play.)  I had eaten a little at the Thai place, but how much have I drunk in the last couple days?  A few sips here and there.  How much food?  Maybe the equivalent of 2 normal size meals in 4 days.  How much sleep?  Oh, about 7 hours in 3 nights (MAYBE 8 tops).  You see, I wasn't thinking about it much, and after all- I was expecting to chill in a seat.  Instead I was to be forced to stand in the same spot, in a sea of bodies for lets calculate.............roughly 4 1/2 hours.  And around 2 of those are going to be some of the most exciting moments of my life.  But first... 2 1/2 hours of just standing and waiting.

That's me- standing and waiting and thinking thoughts

 I stood there and thought a few thoughts.  One of them was images of the footage you see of The Beatles first trip to America and the state of their fans- screaming out of their minds, crying uncontrollably and also fainting.  I honestly understand that.  Laugh if you want but I thought about those girls and how they felt.  I understood them.  Sidebar: Can I set something straight?  My obsession with Radiohead is not the obsession of how I imagine The Twilight Mom's view Robert Pattinson.  By this I mean in a lusty want to tear his clothes off kind of way.  I hope everyone understands that.  Because when I say I "get" those Beatle's fans, I think I really do.  At some point in my life, I would have seen that footage and thought that is what is in their minds.  Perhaps it was for some.  But actually, I think for the most part, it was just the overwhelming fact that they were in the presence of some individuals that had made such an impact on them, they were overwhelmed with emotion.  Ok, sidebar over- I just don't want anyone to get the wrong idea (including my husband who I think already gets all this).  Radiohead has impacted me.  They are not just a band.  They are THE band.  Using the term "obsessed" admittedly isn't totally out of line here.  They turned my music world totally upside down a long time ago, and seeing them in front of me playing the songs I have played over and over and over through the years and hearing these songs get better and more amazing with each listen, and being close to these amazing men doing the thing they do so well is nothing short of total awesome overload and misunderstanding (and reducing) that emotion into me wanting them physically, cheapens what they mean to me in my life.   So anyway, I stood there understanding those screaming, fainting girls.  I also stood there thinking about a video of a RH concert a week or so before, where the camera shook for a minute and the cameraman's explanation was that a guy fainted next to him and bouncers had to dive in and rescue him.  Some dude actually fainted?  That makes a girl that hasn't taken care of her body the best the last few days worry a little.   But mostly, Matt and I just stared at the stage, each other, the people around us in awe.  How bippin close Jonny's area was.  That is Thom's microphone right there and soon, he is going to SING into it.
This is where we were standing:
And this was a wide angle shot as Matt pointed out, making our pics look further away then we really were.  I only count 7 rows of heads ahead of us (not bad for moseying in late and unexpected and CRASHING THAT PARTY!!!).

We waited a long dang time.  In the meantime though, us and the people around us made use of the fact that we were freak fans that the average citizen doesn't get.  Therefore, it can be lonely to be a RH fan.  You can be seen as pretentious and misunderstood.  But those that get it, get it and we have so much to say with not that many willing ears to hear.  This music has transformed us, it's shaped our lives.  And for just a little while, we are together, at a pinnacle moment in our lives with nothing to do but stand around.  You can make fun of me, but on WASTE central (which is RH's official site, and a sort of social network), I joined the group " Arena" and had been chatting it up with other RH fans going to the same concert.  We have been talking and being excited together and shared song wishlists, etc.  One girl (Meg) was coming from Idaho, and we figured out we were sitting in the same section one row away, so we had plans to meet and hug.  She text me as she was driving up to the arena and I had to break the news of my good fortune and how I would not be up there with her.  As any gracious RH fan should be, she was happy for me.  We hoped to meet up after the show anyway.  She told me to look for the sign she made which turned out to be the Angry Bear logo she had fashioned out of glow sticks.  I couldn't wait to see it- I loved that she did that.  She's hard core.

Matt and I started talking to this guy named Marcus and we ended up talking to him for most of the time.  We told him of our wristband ordeal.  Marcus and I shared with each other our story of getting into the band.  We discussed the orders in which we purchased and discovered each album.  Our first favorite song.......  you know- we were ultra Radiohead nerdy and it felt GREAT dang it!  In fact, in that first pic of Matt and I grinning in the arena, you can see the friend that joined him a bit later and the outline of Marcus (for I am totally blocking him from view).  Throughout the whole show we never strayed too far from Marcus and we would occasionally look at each other and share excited grins (we were pretty packed in there, so the people around us never changed much).  If you look at the view of the stage picture, and notice the man in the white handkerchief, you will see the man Matt and I dubbed "The Cam Guy".  He reminded us a lot of our brother in law (Sue's husband) Cam.  The Cam Guy was spotted right before the show, all of a sudden chomping on a hot dog that seemed to have appeared out of thin air.  A HOT DOG???????  Seriously dude!  Could you have picked a worse choice of food to mow down crammed and surrounded by hot crowded people, right before a music concert?  As Rob said when I told him "Frankly, no".  (get it?)  By the way, the hot dog incident had nothing to do with his nickname- (just trying to clear Cam's good name). 

FINALLY the opening band, Other Lives came on.  This was exciting because something was happening and it was an important step to get us to what we had all come there for.  What we had driven 12 hours in the middle of the night for.  Other Lives were not bad at all.  About 4 songs in though my brain switched off and was unable to think of anything except for the fact that this was really happening and happening soon and happening so much closer then I thought it would mere hours before.  Around that time too was the realization that while they had a good sound, all the songs sounded exactly alike and the lead dude's vocal range was non existent.    But of course, we WERE waiting to hear this dude:
(thanks Matt for showing me that vid long ago- it really came in handy right now.)

I really started wondering about my stamina at this point.  I felt like I might be feeling a little faint.  I kept putting my head down and closing my eyes and massaging my neck.  Doing ok, but worrying more then ever that the excitement would overcome me and I would never make it.  I had worn a long sleeved shirt for heaven's sake.  Again- I thought I'd be nice and cool, elevated a bit and seated in a seat or I never would have opted for that shirt.  Oh well, I was determined not to be "that guy" (remember the one that made the camera shake by fainting).  I carried on.  After about a million monotoned songs (I feel rude- I really liked the band, I did.  I may even look them up in the future) and it wasn't even really a million songs- more like 6.  They finished up and the lights came on again.  Then we found ourselves waiting again.  Man we waited lots.  We waited and waited some more.  
We turned around and took a picture of what was behind us:
 I guess we did get there a bit early- look at all those people standing behind us!  The arena has a seating capacity of 19,000 and we had filled it out quite nicely. 

We waited another 45 minutes, I'd say.  Matt noticed the band's guitars on racks on the side and started counting them.  I don't remember the exact number but it was over 30 in all.  Isn't that insane?  There were sooo many.  It was exciting.  Meg told me she would have her sign out when the band came on stage, so I got my camera out again, ready to take a picture of it for her since she had expressed that she wondered what it looks like from down there (or to Thom, more like).  I thought she would like to see for herself.  

All of a sudden the lights dimmed and the crowd went insane.  I scrambled to take a pic and couldn't get a good shot and missed the actual walking on stage of the band.  Matt started shaking me or something so I took a blind pic while I turned around and there the bip they were.

"I jumped in the river and what did I see?
black-eyed angels swimming with me
a moon full of stars and astral cars
all the figures I used to see
all my lovers were there with me
all my past and futures
and we all went to heaven in a little row boat
  there was nothing to fear and nothing to doubt"
-Pyramid Song   

Speaking of Pyramid Song....................Here's your teaser

Footage taken by ME with my very own camera!!!!!!!!!  
(I love how I move the camera over to Thom, quickly realize he is being boring and go right back to Jonny :)
Would you listen to the crazy haunting sound he makes on that guitar doing that??  I was hypnotized (and in Emily Heaven).  I can't believe I got to watch him do that......................but I need to save this stuff for the next post. :(

To be continued..............................................................   



Sue said...

Another great post about the trip! Don't worry about sounding like some lame fan that wants to just rip their clothes off Em. You do not come across that way at all. Anyone can just read one of your posts about RH and know your appreciation and love runs pretty deep. And I will add that when I picked up Cat so we could drive down to your house together the day we left on the trip we were both pretty excited for the road trip. We talked about how fun it will be just to hang with you, Matt, B and the girls, BUT the thing we both said we were the most excited for was that our little sister was going to get to fulfill a long time dream of seeing RH live. We were more excited for you than anything else.

I have to say I love that you and Matt dubbed that guy "The Cam Guy". He reminds me of Cam as well. And Cam wears white bandanas during the summer! Not because he thnks he is a rocker or anything but because he is bald and works construction and needs to protect that bald head of his. Baseball hats just don't cut it in the summer.

Emily said...

Well good I don't come across like that. There is a new girl on waste that is messing me up. She keeps posting blogs with pics of thom talking about nothing but that and it's lame! A comment here and here is fine- of course there is always going to be something sexy about a rock star music genius that writes poetic lyrics and plays a guitar, but she doesn't come across as any real sort of fan to me even if she actually is one and not just a lame fan girl. Jonny on the other hand..... Hee Hee JUST KIDDING same goes for Jonny of course.
That's cute you guys were so excited for me. I was super excited for Matt on the pixies trip it is a joyful thing to see someone you care about get to do something like that. I also love that you guys dragged the girls out of bed from a sound sleep to come pick us up cause neither one of you wanted to hear the details second hand. That was hilarious.

Sue said...

I was about to add another comment with a run down of what Cat and I did while you guys were having that epic experience and I was going to add that part. How we thought were were horrible aunts for each picking up a sound asleep little girl at 11:30 pm and putting them in the van and driving the 20 minutes to pick you guys up because neither one of us was willing to hear about the experience the second time you told it. We both needed the very first version!

Other highlights of what Cat and I did were:

When I got back from dropping you guys off and Cat and the girls were at the pool and the first thing Scout says was "Sue! I'm in the deep end!". She was SO proud of herself.

Scout doing laps around the pool with imaginary elephants.

Elinor all wet and wrapped in a beach towel and so cute and cuddly!

Scout being so good when we told her it was time to go back to the room. She didn't protest at all even though she was having so much fun with the other elephants.

Giving Scout a bath and while washing her hair getting a text from Matt that was a picture of the two of you on the floor and getting even more excited for you guys!

And then of course, feeling like the worst aunts in the world.

So, it was a good night for us too!

Emily said...

Glad you guys had a fun time too. Remember when we got in the van that night and sat down and you two both turn back to us and ask, "So- how was it?" I opened my mouth and only silence mingled with a mini squeak or two could come out" You guys laughed that I was speechless. I was truly speechless and had no idea where to start. You also made the comment that we all looked like we were in sensory overload mode. We were and it was awesome.

Emily said...

By the way, in my post I mentioned the first time of three that Matt got the same stare from me and I forgot to mention the other occasions and I don't want to write them in now, so I will just tell them here:

At least an hour of standing there on the floor Matt asked, "Are you sure you don't want to go to our seats?" I KNEW it wasn't because he was too lazy to stand there- he wanted to be on the floor as bad as anyone, I think he was just checking with me to make sure this was definitely what I wanted. If my stare could speak that time, it would have said, "There is no where on this earth I would rather be right now then right where I am. I spit on our seats and what they stand for." Ok, if I really did have a choice of anywhere on earth it would have been about 4 people closer to the stage, but we had a great spot and view of the monitors and lights where we were and the sound was exceptional and I don't want to sound greedy when it comes to RH god gifts.

3rd stare: Later, but before RH came on, Matt actually asked again- "are you sure this is Jonny's side of the stage?" That time my stare said the same things only about twice as loud.

Sue said...

Yes, I remember the speechless Em that could only muster a little squeak. You guys were in sensory over load. I thought you'd all be super psyched and up all night and instead you all fell asleep not long after we got back to the room.

And I love the description of your stares at Matt. I bet he cracked up ever time.

Emily said...

The week had caught up with me by that point. My body was like, "I kept my end of the bargain- you give me sleep. Do it now." My brain had nothing to say to that, so it obeyed.

I just updated the post to include the guitars Matt counted before the concert started. I couldn't leave out that bit- there were racks of them on both sides of the stage- over 30 in all! Matt- we should have tried to get a picture. Every time the song changed, some stagehand would exchange guitars for the band members. They must all have a certain sound they want for certain songs.
They rule.

Emily said...

Everything in it's right place!!!!


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