2:55 AM. No better time to sit down and empty some thoughts onto a piece of paper.
When I woke up on the morning of August 23rd, 2011, I had no idea of what my evening would be like. I knew that I had won 2 tickets and a photo pass for my friend Liz and I to see My Chemical Romance at the Marcus Ampitheater in Milwaukee, but as excited as I was for this event, I still had some nervous thoughts looming in my mind: "Will I find my tickets and my seats alright?" "Will her and I get separated?" "Will the photo pass work and flow smoothly?" Well, what unfolded was a memorable night filled with many good times and irreplicaple moments.
We got to the box office an hour before the doors opened and we got our tickets, no problem. There were tons of Blink 182 fans gathered near the doors. But for what the MCR fans lacked in numbers, they made up for in spirit. Killjoys gathered around slowly but surely, standing out with many original and colorful outfits. Before we knew it, we were in - and ready to rock.
Now here's where things got really interesting: Manchester Orchestra had just finished their set, and I was very excited to take my place up by the photo pit to digitally capture my four heroes. But venue security would not buy my fully certified authorization to the pit and were dead set on keeping me out of it. I made a few phone calls, dropped a few names - but they wouldnt budge. I made my way back to my seats, bummed that this opportunity was being taken from me. But nonetheless, I was fortunate to be here and eagerly awaited MCR's set.
After a BL/ind spokespeson gave the countdown, MCR rip, roared and rolled through "Na Na Na" and then went right to "Vampire Money". All of a sudden, one of MCR's tour managers motioned for me to come to the security gates. I was finally going to get my chance at this once in a lifetime opportunity! ...but there was one stipulation: I could only take pictures for the rest of the song, and it was already a minute in. I had to work fast. I hurried to the front and started snapping away at the boys. Their high energy flailing around combined with my excitement did not make capturing photos of them easy, but I think I did a good job. Three times in the 2 minutes I was up there, security guards tugged at me, pulled me away, and tried to bust me - thinking I jumped the rail or something. But the sticker on my chest and the onlooking manager gave them their answer: This was my moment. This was my time. And I can honestly say that when it was just me and the band for that minute and a half/two minutes, my favorite MCR song blasting in my face without any interruptions - that was THE best moment of my life. Not everyone can say that they get to stand within 3 feet of their heroes. And if it meant me having to deal with some turbulence to get to that place, it was a miniscule price to pay compared to the photos I received in return.
The rest of MCR's set was mind-blowingly amazing, to no surprise. They tore through fan favorites like "Planetary (GO!)", "Welcome to the Black Parade", and "Teenagers" as well as assorted gems like "Mama", "Famous Last Words" and "I'm Not Okay" - among others. MCR made the quiet Blink 182 fans that were anticipating their segment of the show get up off their feet and dance like there was no tomorrow. Mikey, Ray, Frank, and Gerard played and sang every note like it was their last, and gave off so much raw energy and power that is was contagious, culminating with a passionate performance of "Cancer".
Another highlight of my night - when Travis Barker played the mid-air crane drum solo near the end of the show (which was awesome), he finished it right above Liz and I, and dropped one of the drumsticks he used for that solo right into my lap, basically. Tickets to the show, up close photos of MCR and a Travis Barker drumstick...what more could you possibly ask for?
For anyone who did not read my original contest blog entry, I wanted to win this for Liz. She never saw MCR before (while I had once already) and I wanted to be right next to her when she saw The Fabulous Killjoys for the first time, and everything worked out in such a way that I was able to do that. The excited look on her face the moment this dream came true for her was worth more to me than any tickets, picture passes, photos, or drumsticks money could buy. And thats what this band is all about: Believe in yourself, and make something of your dreams. Don't be afraid or discouraged to be those two kids decked out in all-black and bright colored duct tape getting laughed at by Blink fans: This is who you are and this is what you're about. This night was unforgettable in so many different ways, and along with this band - it holds a special place in my heart forever.
My Chemical Romance, thank you for coming back to Milwaukee and for giving us your all. We love you very much. The lights are out and the party is over, but your shadow lives on without you.
And one last time, thank you - from the bottom of my heart to everyone who made this night possible for Liz and I. It means the world to me.
----Modern Time Hero