Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Three Days Grace is Still Awesome.

So, another VIP experience that I got the chance to participate in was to meet Three Days Grace. There is a little story that goes along with this. When I saw that Three Days Grace and Shinedown were coming to Michigan, I was floored. I HAD to go. One of the other RAs, Chris, said he wanted to go to, and we wanted to VIP it. We wanted to meet Shinedown, but all the packages at both concerts were sold out.

So, we bought the Three Days Grace ones so we could meet Adam Gontier and be all excited to see the person who wrote and sang all those songs who got us through our teenage years. It was going to be amazing.

Then 2 days after we bought the tickets, Adam announced publicly that he had left the band. I was super sad, especially since his replacement, Matt Walst, had a whole different sound and some of the earlier recordings of Matt were rough...really rough. I went through the people who I bought the tickets from and they were not offering any refunds. There was no way that I was going to drop that kind of cash then not go, so Chris and I went anyway.

Off to Battle Creek we went on February 13th. We arrived at the arena, same one I saw Daughtry at, and parked before going into the attached hotel for our meet and greet. We checked in, got the awesome poster (which I need to remember to frame) and was ushered into a private room full of people who were there for the same meet the band. There was a backdrop at the front, which I guessed was where we would meet the bad.

After some initial waiting for about a half hour or so, the band came out. It was just the drummer and 2 guitarists, I think they were worried how the fans would react to Matt, so he wasn't a part of the meet and greet. Anyway...Chris and I were at the front of the line, so we got in pretty quick. I shook some hands, got my picture and moved on. I was fine with being done early because we had general admission tickets and wanted to get into the venue as fast as possible. By the time we got in there, got some merch and went into the GA area, it was already pretty packed. Because I want to get as close as possible, Chris and I weasled our way in as close as we could.

The POD came on. I was told some things about POD, most of which were not so promising. But I was pleasantly surprised as they were really good. Maybe they cleaned up their act now that they were touring with 2 other awesome bands (I heard they were really vulgar). The guy in front of me was in love with them though as he was jamming out. He was also taller than me which made it a little harder to see to the stage at times and made my photo opportunities limited (I like taking pictures...sorry!). These guys in front of me were freaking out though, which cracked me up.

After POD got off, some people left the GA area, and well the rules are you snooze, you lose. So, I moved up a bit. I ended up closer to the guy who was freaking out lol and his group. When Three Days Grace came on, I was worried it was going to be as bad as those recordings, but Matt did his best. I mean, Never Too Late, which will always be my favorite song from the band and pretty much ever, was super rough. Matt has a hard time on the low stuff, but the rest was okay. As for my time in general admission? I was talking to one of the women in the group with the one dude when he accidentally elbowed me in the face. That was fun. But really, it was just the beginning. During one of the first rowdier songs, the crowd surfing began. Our group didn't see it coming which resulted in person number one dropped on my head. I went down on this one because I was rather blindsided, but after those around helped pick him off of me and throw him to another area, I got up and shook it off. Then a little later, another one came through and kicked me in the face...making me worry I would have a fat lip (didn't happen luckily!). But seriously, other than GA horrors, Three Days Grace was awesome. Like truly awesome. Do I still miss Adam? Oh of course, his voice held me up in some of my hardest days. But, I still enjoyed the band.
Matt Walst

A LOT of people left after Three Days Grace. For one, GA was like a billion degrees and smelt like weed and smoke because everyone who smoked those things never left. So, I naturally got to move up. Poor Chris got stuck back where we were, but I ended up about 3 people from the barricade and near some more interesting characters. I could still see Chris so it was all good (we had said if we got separated, that he knew where the car was so we could meet there if we never found each other). I was pumped for Shinedown. They are literally one of my favorites.
I ended up in front of the guy who was going crazy for Shinedown (he's the dude behind me lol), and he said he would protect me from the crowd surfers...and he did, except one (but he tried!)

And they didn't disappoint. This was my 3rd time seeing them in concert...and they get better every time I see them. They split their concert between the stage and a riser back by the sound area. Boy, are they performers. They threw in a few of their new stuff but played LOTS of their older stuff, especially off of Sounds of Madness. They also gave me the experience that I think I have at every concert now...the tears lol. So, I made it through "The Crow and the Butterfly" just fine though I felt that one in my soul (it has a pretty special significance to me).
He's so intense when he sings (Brent from Shinedown)

But then Brent started talking about how we all have those songs that helped get us through some hard things in our lives and how they have lifted us up and gave us strength...and I lost it. Because it is so true. Sometimes when it felt like I had no where to turn, music was always there. It was Green Days and Three Days Grace when I was in high school, some Daughtry and My Chemical romance at times in there too. Then when I had moved out, it was the Fray that got me through some of my loneliness and Shinedown that got me through one of the hardest times in my young life. Then with the passing of my father and that mess, it was Mumford and Sons and Coldplay. Music has been there, and that was all reminded in that one speech that Brent Smith gave on February 13th. Phew.

But seriously, amazing concert. I can't wait for Shinedown to release their next album. Chris and I decided, on our way home, that no matter where we move to after graduation, we will come meet somewhere and meet Shinedown VIP and go to the next concert. We call this concert our bonding experience, because it was truly amazing.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Daughtry/3 Doors Down VIP Amazingness

So on February 1st, I had the pleasure of seeing my favorite band and 5th favorite band in concert together. And can I say it was an amazing night.

When Daughtry and 3 Doors Down announced a tour together, I wanted to go. When they announced a Detroit show in December, I wasn't able to go to it. And well, I was really sad. But I got over it. Then over Christmas, I got an email from the Daughtry fan club that a 2013 leg of the tour was announced with a Michigan date, February 1st in Battle Creek. When I had gathered up the money, I decided to go all out and get the VIP package.

And it was literally the best concert experience ever. Seriously. Before I go into more detail, if you are ever going to a concert of a band you adore, and have the chance to get VIP tickets...DO IT!

So, I took my 2 hours drive to Battle Creek yesterday afternoon. The VIPers for this show had to be there at 3:30PM to check in. There were about 40 of us in total. We checked in, got our snazzy VIP lanyards and waited for the bands to be ready. I didn't get my ticket until I got there, so I didn't know were I was sitting until arriving. I was ecstatic about getting a 4th row seat! While waiting, we got the meet and greet rules. There were 3 rules we had to follow:

1. No kissing any of the band members...since they are all married.
2. No touching Chris' bald head
3. Don't tell the band any sad/personal stories that could be upsetting. If we would like to share that with the bands, we were told to write it out in an email.

And we were off. They told us to get as near the barricade as we wanted for the VIP soundcheck party. This was where both leads from the bands, and random members from both bands (guitar, drums, bass, etc) were up on stage and they played us several songs. It was pretty cool because they would look down and defintely sing portions to each and every one of us. And he was so close. I got some amazing pictures!

After the sound check, we were ushered to one of the back halls to wait for the meet and greet. We got to take a turn meeting all the members of both bands by ourselves (or with a group if we had one and wanted to). I was alone, so I went in alone and I was so excited. I was so giddy (and it made us all laugh) and I was just like, "Can I give you a hug?" And Chris obliged. Yeah. Best thing EVER. I of course gave one to Brad from 3 Doors Down too. Then they put their arms around me and I got my picture in the middle of both bands!

When our meet and greet was over, we were sent out to do whatever we needed after getting our signed poster and t-shirt. I went to put some stuff in my car and buy some merch. I grabbed myself a zip-up hoodie which is soooo warm and a tour shirt with the 2013 dates. Then I went to wait in my seat. As VIP, all the staff treat you just like one. Several of the security guards and a couple of us struck up a conversation before the show. They were telling me some of the best excuses people would try to use to get backstage. It was hilarious!

Then Aranda came on. I had never heard of them before but, they are seriously really good. They have a great sound and are fun to see perform. On their last number, their guitarist was showing off by playing his guitar like a piano...and then he asked the audience for a boot. One of the girls in the 1st row threw hers up there and he played his guitar with that! It was pretty sweet really and great fun.
When they played the guitar with that woman's boot!

Then Daughtry was on. And well, what can I say. Since the moment Chris was on American Idol, he was a performer. He knows how to perform well and he sounds amazing live (which you have to in order to even make it anywhere on AI). He played a lot of his music from his new CD, and threw in some of his best songs from earlier CDs, It was quite wonderful. Brad from 3 Doors Down even came out to join them for a song.
4th row was awesome!

Then 3 Doors Down was on before I knew it. Not to lie, I was a little let down but that may be because I could listen to Daughtry for hours and hours. But 3 Doors Down was also amazing. Brad is extremely polite and thanked us after every song for being fans and for coming out. I was a little bummed they didn't play ,y favorite, which is "When You're Young," but I still loved their set. They played a lot of old stuff as they were promoting their Greatest Hits album so it was wonderful.
Brad from 3 Doors Down!

Then the night was over. But I won't forget it for a long time. I also met some pretty awesome people in the VIP opportunity. The mother who was there because her daughter was a fan like me. The fans that have enough money to see them in every city near them and were there in front of me (and were a tad jealous when I got a hug!), and a wonderful couple who were right next to me in the seating who partied, danced and sang with me the entire night long. What an experience.