LifeLines Tour 2017

 

A friend and I drove 6 hours to see one of our favorite bands, Islander, in Dallas, Texas. I’d come across the tour while scrolling through my SongKick App which is synced with Spotify Premium. This is a handy app to have if you want to have the most up-to-date information on tours. You are also able to purchase tickets through the site and set a reminder for when they go on sale.

When arriving in Dallas, I contacted my AirBnB guy and checked into our room. This was my first time using the website so I was a bit apprehensive. The gentleman was very nice but I must admit that I felt very uncomfortable staying with someone I didn’t know. He also had the heat up way too high for my comfort level. Other than that, everything went fine. My friend and I were able to walk and get a burger at nearby Twisted Root Burgers, which was phenomenal! The tour venue was just around the corner as well.

Around 6:00 p.m., we arrived at the venue, Trees on Elm Street. There was a short line that extended near the tour buses and vans. We could see a few guys from different bands walking around, which was pretty neat. One of the tour buses was leaking urine so there was a foul stench in the air that we were downwind from. A couple of people behind us asked about my Texas Mutiny shirt so we struck up a good conversation about bands and upcoming tours.

The doors opened at 7:00 p.m. and we made our way inside. The venue was a lot smaller than I expected, but nice none-the-less. I spotted some chairs on a balcony upstairs and asked my friend to go up and see if there was any indication for “VIP members only”. There wasn’t so we snagged the last two chairs right against the railing! Bonus! It was the perfect view. There was also a bar and some lounge seating upstairs near us. I was impressed with the overall vibe of Trees.

Assuming We Survive was the first band up at 7:30. They weren’t really my type of music and didn’t really seem to fit in with the genre of bands in the tour, but I can appreciate their sound and energy. The lead singer of the band was very positive and touched on some issues with being alone and depressed. He promised that if anyone needed someone to talk to, he/she could message them and they would always respond. I thought that was very sweet of them to offer.

The time had come and my favorite guys from the band Islander took the stage! At first, the crowd looked on with wide eyes, not knowing what to think. They weren’t moving much either which was a little weird for me because I thought the band was doing a fantastic job. I am, however, bias. Front man Mikey Carvajal started his normal crowd surfing and the vibe took a new turn. People started moshing and banging their heads. I looked on stage at guitarist JR Bareis a couple of times and it’s a wonder that he doesn’t have serious neck issues. Bareis was banging pretty hard and still killing it on the guitar! At one point, Mikey climbed on to one of the lower balconies and jumped into the crowd. They gave a stellar performance and sounded fantastic while doing so.

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Mikey Carvajal of Islander announced that he would be over by the merch booth after they got done with their set. I waited a few minutes then made my way down to where he was. There were about 4 people who pushed in front of me while I stood there waiting for my turn. When I saw an opening, I said to Mikey, “Me next!”. He smiled and waved me over for a hug. He was drenched in sweat but oddly enough, it didn’t bother me. He didn’t smell, after all. He complimented me on my hair then we took 2 pictures.

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Since I’d been pushed out-of-the-way, I decided to take a moment to talk to Mikey. I told him that I’d seen on Facebook where the band had been robbed and that I was so sorry for them. He said something very positive and I could tell that he was in good spirits about the otherwise shitty situation. I also mentioned that I’d seen them with Korn and at Texas Mutiny and how they killed it each time. We talked about how the crowd wasn’t feeling them at first but he said it always takes a moment to warm them up. He was very nice and humble as I’d hoped. I thanked him for the picture and said my goodbyes.

The next band to take the stage was Wage War. This band was one that I was looking forward to because of how raw and heavy they are. I’d fallen in love with the song “The River” months ago and have been a fan ever since. I must say, they did not disappoint! They were as heavy and awesome as I’d hoped they would be live. The crowd was into them immediately. They will most definitely be a repeat concert for me.

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I Prevail finally took the stage at 10:00. By then, I was tired and my back was aching. My friend and I’d decided that we would watch at least 2 songs, then head back to our room. The band was so good that we stayed around for 5 songs, trust me – that’s great compared to how tired I was. I was also pleasantly surprised at their stage presence and crisp sound live. The crowd screamed every lyric and the vibe was surreal.

I’d heard a couple of fans that got VIP passes complain that they thought they would get more time with the guys from I Prevail and that they wished it wasn’t an assembly line type of deal. Obviously, they’d never gotten VIP passes before. It’s very common for the VIP Meet and Greet to be quick because they bands tend to have a lot to do in prep for their performance. I understand that and am still grateful for the chance that I get to meet such nice rockers.

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The LifeLines Tour gets 5 out of 5 stars from this rocker! I thoroughly enjoyed each band and had a great time.  Shout out to Mikey Carvajal for taking the time to take pictures with fans. Another shout out to JR Bareis for being polite when I said hello to him with a mouth full of pizza as I passed him by the 711 on the way back to our room. 🙂

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Texas Mutiny 2016

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Tickets

September 24, 2016 was the first annual Texas Mutiny Festival in Fort Worth Texas. The line-up caught my attention immediately! I purchased a set of VIP tickets ($159.50 each) that I thought were going to give me a better view of the stage but I was mistaken. Single tickets were $59.50 which will be my selection next year.

“Be a part of the exclusive Pabst 1844 VIP Lounge and enjoy shade, seating areas, premium bar and food for purchase and private restroom access! Those who select this option will also have access to VIP Parking and an exclusive festival entrance. VIP Access also include access to the Friday Night Campground Party. Must be 21 or older for adult beverage purchase. “

Cons of VIP Tickets

Let me break down what the VIP tickets were really about. The “VIP Lounge” was a tent far away from the stages. There were some places to sit or stand with your “premium bar food” which consisted of over priced hamburgers and hotdogs. The one beer selection of Pabst was also overpriced. Sure, there were nicer bathrooms in the VIP area, but I never used them. The VIP parking was okay, but for what I paid, I expected more. “Exclusive festival entrance” must have been something that I missed because we were in line with everyone else. We opted out of the “Friday Night Campground Party” because the bands playing were some that I had not heard of.

The Stages

The venue was outside in a grassy section next to the Texas Motor Speedway and consisted of 3 large stages. The stages were color coded with banners to assist us with the schedule posted on-line to follow. There were merch booths, food/drink stations, porta-potties, a locker tent, and a few shade tents set up. After each show, some of the bands directed us to the merch booth for a short meet and greet. Unfortunately, if you wanted to see the next band coming to the stage, you needed to keep your spot in the crowd. My friends and I did not make it to the merch booth…

The Heat

The heat was almost unbearable. I didn’t think that I would be uncovered for so much of the day so I did not wear sun shades or sunscreen. Lesson learned! The heat was short-lived though because around 4:00 p.m., a thunderstorm came through. Fans were asked to evacuate and go to gtheir vehicles until it was safe. My friends and I opted out of that option and took cover under the locker tent. Luckily, my friend read the weather report and packed some ponchos. I shared one with my bestie.

Let the Shows Begin

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The first band that my friends and I chose to see was Starset. Although I’d only heard one of their songs on Sirius XM, I was very pleased with how good the band was live. Their costumes were very neat that consisted of space-like helmets and backpacks over top of what looked like SWAT gear. Lead singer Dustin Bates had on a white button up shirt and a black tie which made him stand out. I enjoyed watching the band.

The scheduled set-up time between each band was very lengthy. Most of us walked around meanwhile. I heard Shaman’s Harvest from a distance and they sounded great. I recognized a song that I love called “Dragonfly”. The next band that I got close enough to enjoy was Avatar. There was a stage full of long-haired rockers slinging their beautiful locks in the wind. The band also had a very powerful sound and rocked it! They were dressed in costumes that resembled military uniforms from the 1800’s in the color red. It was a very nice touch.

We walked over to listen to Skindred for a moment but I was more interested in seeing Islander. I’d already seen Skindred twice in my hometown and have pictures with the band members. I went over to the Renegade Stage to get a good spot up front so that I could see members of Islander better. As they were setting up their equipment, the rain began to sprinkle. I said hello to a couple members from the band by calling their names and grabbing their attention. Lead guitarist JR Bareis , also from the band Love And Death, was very nice and waved back with a smile. Lead singer Mikey Carvajal looked over obviously confused and gave an uncomfortable wave.

Just as Islander was getting ready to start, the venue was evacuated. Once the rain subsided, my friends and I grabbed a better spot up front. We watched as thousands of people were trying to get back into the venue. While I was standing in front, one of the security guards went on about my hair. I’d made my own set of faux dreads that were over 22 inches long. He was in disbelief that my dreads were not human hair and suggested that I start a business making them. If he only knew how big of a pain in the ass they were to make, he’d understand why I didn’t think it was a good idea.

Islander took the stage and slayed! At one point, a girl hopped over my head and rushed the stage. Mikey told the security guards to let her stay then welcomed more fans up on stage. I was kicked in the head a few times as people climbed right over me. My friend, Lori, went up on stage and wanted me to come with her but I decided to take pictures instead. Lori looked like she was having a blast even though she didn’t know a lot of the words, she stood by the bassist and sang into the mic.  It was awesome.

Shortly after Islander got off stage, I went over to the beverage tent to get a water. The nice security guard that I spoke to earlier came up to me and asked if he could give me something. Of all the things that went through my mind that it could be, I never though he would hand me an autographed Islander set list! I was floored! I asked him if he was sure that he wanted to give it to me and he responded with “Of course, I could tell that you like them”. How awesome is THAT?!?

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If things hadn’t been awesome enough so far, I spotted JR Bareis standing by the beverage tent talking to some fan girls. I was hesitant at first, but I mustered up the courage to walk over and say hello. He was super nice and seemed grateful that I not only knew him from Islander, but his guitar skills in Love and Death as well. I mentioned the book that Brian Head Welch wrote with a section on how young JR was when he became a member of the band. JR said that he liked my dreads as I leaned over for him to touch them. I asked if I could touch his dreads too and they felt a lot softer than mine! He took a picture with me and returned to the back stage area.

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The band Smashing Satellites was the next band that I was eager to see. I’d previously looked up all of the bands that would be playing the festival so that I could get a good idea of which ones I wanted to see. The song “Waterfall” by Smashing Satellites came across my radar and I binged on it for a few days. When I posted about the song on Instagram, former My Darkest Days guitarist and front man to Smashing Satellites Sal Costa posted a comment “Much love to you – Sal” which made me more eager to see the band.

“Waterfall” was the last song that Smashing Satellites played as I sang along with every word. I walked over to the security guard that gave me Islander’s set list and asked if he could get me Smashing Satellites’ as well. He nodded although I don’t think he heard me. As the band was taking their equipment off stage, I walked over to collect the set list and was surprised by a personal greeting from Sal! There was also a film crew with him that got everything on tape. I must have been 13 shades of red. I couldn’t think of what to say or do! I told him that all I wanted was a set list and that this was so unexpected! The reason he came out to meet me instead was because they didn’t actually have a set list. He asked me if I wanted a picture and if I had a camera. I looked down at my phone like it was a rock that I didn’t know how to operate.  My brain finally connected and I got in a selfie. Sal hugged me and thanked me for coming to the show. I could feel sweat on his skin but I didn’t care. The moment was amazing!

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Side note: Sal copied the selfie I posted of us on Instagram and re-posted it to the band’s page with a caption saying that I was the fan of the day! AHHHH!

Hellyeah was playing right around the time that my body started to shut down. I sat along the fence line that was next to the stage and listened. There were so many photographers in the way that there was no sense in trying to look over them. From what I remember, they put on a great show. I was so tired.

Nothing More was another band that I was looking forward to seeing but after taking in the obvious vanity of lead singer Jonny Hawkins, I was quickly over it. Yeah, I get it, you have abs. Whoopty-do. After leaving Nothing More, we headed over to the stage where Twelve Foot Ninja was. They were already playing by the time we got there but I was amped none-the-less. They were killing it! They all had on black “ninja” pants and played in their black socks. There were a few songs that I recognized and sang along. Honestly, they were the most impressive band that I saw that day because of their unique sound and stage presence. I look forward to seeing them again!!

We saw a little bit of Mice and Men, which were awesome, before we went to the stage were Deftones were about to start. By this time, the schedule was way off. We had to wait until the current band finished playing on another stage before they would allow any other bands to start. Deftones killed it as I knew they would. A person doing sign language next to the stage was dancing along and having herself a good ole time. She was signing so hard that she got the attention of lead singer Chino Moreno. He walked over and bobbed with her. It was such a cute moment.

Grammy winning band Ghost was up next so we walked over to the Republic Stage. We waited for what seemed like an eternity before the band began their set. While waiting, some jerks behind me were dissing Deftones. I had on a Deftones t-shirt! They were also exchanging all kinds of incorrect information about Korn’s new up coming album. I wanted to turn around and correct them, but I refrained. Ghost looked AWESOME! If you know the band, you know their costumes. Their sound was so powerful and loud. I also noticed that they had a female bassist as she was very small with a very different build. I thought that was pretty cool.

Sadly, after watching Ghost, we decided to call it a night. We’d been standing for 11 hours! The overall experience was great but I will not be purchasing VIP passes again.

Nocturnal Underground Tour 2016

Today is Monday, October 10 and I still feel as though I have not awakened from a long dream. Any moment now, I expect to wake up drenched in sweat and drool from my pillow. My three pound dog, Bryah, sleeps next to me so I think some kisses to the face are also in order. “Did I really meet them?”, I wonder. As I write these words, I will do my best to convey the moment to the best of my star struck memory.

Birthday Present

My birthday was July 4 and I was given the privilege of picking out anything I wanted – within reason. Months before, I’d purchased VIP Meet and Greet tickets to see KoRn in Dallas, Texas at their Return Of The Dreads tour. The concert was coming up at the first of August, but I was feeling greedy. An announcement had recently been made that KoRn was coming to Mississippi, not to one city, but two! You guessed it, I purchased tickets to both shows. Since I already had Meet and Greet tickets to the Dallas show, the Early Entry tickets would do fine for the shows in Mississippi. Little did I know, things would not go as planned.

A couple of months prior to the show in Dallas, I began working on a set of dreads to impress my rock star crush, Brian “Head” Welch. I’d never made them before so I spent some time on YouTube learning the best way to make them look realistic. Typical me was still finishing up the last few dreads two days before the concert. I also spent a great deal of time designing a t-shirt with Brian’s silhouette from the “Never Never” video on it. I chose an iron on method because my monogram lady could not get the SVG file to look the way I wanted on vinyl.

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Return Of the Dreads

On Thursday, August 4, I got up early and prepared for my journey to Dallas, Texas – a 6 hour drive. Along the way, I had to make a few stops and take care of some business  because I am normally always at work. I’d fractured my foot and needed some meds from Walgreens but they were not open when I got there. I waited a while for them to open, then a little longer because there was only one person at the counter to assist me. She also had people at the drive through. After I got what I needed, I started out on my road trip.

When I stopped half way to Dallas to get some lunch, I checked my email for the 100th time in hopes of receiving information from VIP Nation letting me know what time I needed to check-in. At the last Meet and Greet that I had with Deftones, I was to be at the venue one hour early, so I just assumed that things would be the same. After a few phone calls and being placed on hold, I got the news that broke my heart into a million pieces. I was going to be late for the Meet and Greet by 20 minutes no matter how fast I drove. The next few miles up the road were completely silent other than my sniffling. I felt like an idiot.

While in Dallas, I picked up my VIP merchandise and headed into the venue to try and enjoy the show. As expected, KoRn killed it and I was happy none the less. I didn’t stay to see Rob Zombie because the heat was so bad. After that night, I devised a plan to try and combine the cost of my two Early Entry tickets in Mississippi to afford one Meet and Greet package to the Southaven show. VIP Nation said that they’d never done it before, but they agreed to make the transaction. I was so relieved that I was still able to meet KoRn!

Preparation

Now it was time to start preparing for what I was going to wear. I ordered a couple of shirts and a pair of ripped skinny jeans from a website called AliExpress but did not realize that the site was from China! It took two freaking months to get my clothes! After all of that time, only one shirt fit. I decided to make the best of the situation and make do. Even though I spent so much time making dreads for the last show, I changed my mind about wearing them again. After much consideration, I decided to go for a modest, rocker, glam look. Yes, I realize that I thought way too much about it!

Only 3 days before the Mississippi show, VIP Nation finally sent me the information for check in and the itinerary. I needed to be in Southaven at the check-in table by 3:30 p.m. It would take me 3 hours to get there, but I was not taking any chances on being late again and planned to leave super early. I accounted for traffic, gas fill up, and lunch. I was determined that come hell or high water, I would not miss meeting my favorite band again.

The morning of Saturday, October 8, I got up early and began working on my hair style. For the first time in an eternity, everything went exactly as planned. Normally, I am crying after 2 hours of my hair just not cooperating when I have a special occasion to attend. I put on my outfit and successfully left the house without coffee, ketchup, or whatever random disastrous stain that would appear out of thin air. I decided to do my make-up once we got to Southaven so that it would look fresh and neat for the Meet and Greet.

At 1:50 p.m., I arrived in Southaven and took a turn around the venue to be familiar with where I needed to go. Afterwards, I parked in a Taco Bell parking lot and spent 45 minutes fixing my make-up to the best of my ability. If you can believe it, everything went smoothly without any tears. When I went inside to check the final look, I was pleased and confident. You already know that I had to get a burrito and some nacho cheese with chips! Yum! At 3:00, I headed over to the venue.

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Check In

Checking in wasn’t too bad but the wait was excruciating! I took two of my prescribed anxiety meds just to get my breathing under control. After what felt like an eternity, the VIP group was lined up and ready to meet the members of KoRn. We were instructed to keep our phones in our pockets which was kind of a bummer because I’d asked my friend to record me meeting the guys. I tend to black out when I am super nervous so there was a chance that I wouldn’t remember what was said, plus I thought it would be cool to show my friends. The picture below was taken while waiting once inside the venue. I look calm but I was everything but.

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The Meet and Greet

In walked Jonathan Davis, the lead singer of KoRn and rock god! He made his way down the line signing the posters that we were given by VIP Nation with KoRn’s Nocturnal Underground Tour doll on it. Jonathan kept his head down, concentrating on signing until he got to me. I held two posters and explained that I missed meeting him on the last tour then asked if he wouldn’t mind signing my Return Of The Dreads poster. He looked up at me as I explained and our eyes met. What he said after that, I couldn’t tell you. He could have told me that I just won a million dollars and I probably wouldn’t have reacted. To me, he is like seeing a mythical unicorn for the first time and I was completely star struck. I wanted to thank him for his sacrifices but instead I stood there like a statue.

The rest of the band members made their way in except Brian “Head” Welch. I wondered for a few moments if he was coming until my friend elbowed me, “There he is!” just as my heart fell straight into my stomach. “Oh…my…God. This is real”, I thought. My eyes started to tear up and all I could do was try to control it by fanning them with an envelope that I was holding. I’d written Brian a praise letter months ago that had been revised about 100 times. I wanted to stray away from any indication that I was some sort of creeper. As you can imagine, my hands were sweating so badly that the edges of the envelope were starting to curl.

The second member of KoRn to make it to me was Reggie “Fieldy” Arvizu. I must admit, I don’t like the guy. I read his book and have no respect for a man who has done the things that he has done to women, especially his own wife. In my opinion, he was bragging in the book. He may be saved now, but I can not get past it. He also has a crappy attitude. I’ve heard him saying things while in a press conference when he thought the mic was off that were not nice at all. When he got to my friend and I, he seemed so displeased with having to sign autographs. He told someone next to us that he was tired. When my friend said that he was excited to see him play, Reggie gave him a side ways smirk that was rude, if you ask me. He actually threw his dirty ear plugs at the barricade I was standing by during the show later on. Gross.

James “Munky” Shaffer and Ray Luzier were next in line to sign my posters. Ray was super nice and appreciative. He said that if it wasn’t for us, he wouldn’t be there. Munky signed my poster and jokingly said that it would be an extra charge to sign two as he looked up at me. He stopped for a moment and stared. “Your eye”, he said,”That looks so crazy!”. I stood there kind of embarrassed and I think he could tell. He said something to comfort me but I can’t remember exactly what it was. His sharpie went out before he could sign my second poster so he left to get another one. I really wanted to tell him that I follow him and his wife on Instagram and that I really admire their relationship but I froze up.

The moment had arrived and Brian “Head” Welch was making his way towards me. My friend did me no good by whispering, “Here he comes. He’s almost here.” Brian signed my poster as my friend said, “You are making her entire year, man”. I was a bit embarrassed but didn’t say anything. Luckily, I remembered the letter! When I handed it to him, I made sure that he knew that it was not a creepy love note. He began to tell me a story about a girl who was sending him messages saying that she could see the way he was looking at her from the stage. He said that he felt disturbed by it and didn’t know what she was talking about then he said that I looked completely normal as he continued down the line of fans.

“SHIT! I forgot to ask him about meeting after the concert”, I told my friend. I knew that Brian met with fans after the show because of a Texas fan that told me about her experience in Dallas. She told me that all I had to do was ask him. Imagine my disappointment when I learned that I missed that too! My friend and another guy standing near me said, “If you don’t go now, you’ll regret it!” as they pushed me to go over to Brian and ask. I politely stood next to him and tried not to take any time away from the other fans by waiting until he was done talking. He turned to me and asked, “Did I forget something?”. I whispered, “Are you meeting with people after the show?”. He said he was and called over to his friend, John, to get my phone number. He whispered back to me, “Do you need some prayers?” as I answered “Yes”. John let me know that he would be texting me the information I needed later on in the night.

Once the band was done signing autographs, they got up on a platform to take pictures with us. I kind of wish that we were all on the same level so that you could see how tall they are, but I understand that everyone needs to fit in the shot. A chair was sitting in front of the platform so that we could put our belongings on it instead of holding them in the picture. I thought, “Great, now I have to walk in front of them. How embarrassing. What if I trip on thin air and face plant?”. To make light of the situation, I asked my friend to check and see which of the members checked me out. He did, and I will not say what he reported back, but it was good. There was even a comment made, but the only thing I heard personally was Brian saying “See ya” as I scurried away in a panic.

My friend took our posters back to the car and we made our way to the front of the stage. Of course, I went straight to the left of the stage where Brian would be and half way to where Jonathan would be. The band Silver Snakes was doing their sound check at this point. I’d been chatting with guitarist Mike Woods via Facebook for a few days and said hello to him. He’s a brand new member of the band that learned the songs ONE day before he stepped on stage! Beforehand, he was a tech for Coheed and Cambria. I love to hear stories like his. They are so fascinating. This tour was the best thing that has ever happened to him, he told me.

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The Show Begins

The opening bands Silver Snakes and Motionless In White put on a great show although I wish they would have taken it easy on the stage smoke. I could hardly see them or what was going on. I kept a close eye on Mike since I kinda knew him. He has fabulous hair and looked super cool in his leather jacket. Breaking Benjamin played next. I thought it was nice that lead singer and guitarist, Benjamin Burnley, allowed the other band members to take a turn on singing. The lead singer, Chris “Motionless” Cerulli, of Motionless In White also got on stage and performed a song with Breaking Benjamin. They were awesome enough to get my friend a little emotional.

V.I.P

Right before KoRn was to come on stage, I got a message from John, Brian’s friend, asking where I was. When I said, “At the front of the stage on the side where Brian would be”, he replied with, “Of course. :)” He brought over two wrist bands for my friend and I as the girls around us sighed. They were so shocked and upset that they weren’t getting the pink wrist band too. I told them how they could get one next time. Looking back on it, I probably could have asked John for a few more but I wasn’t thinking.

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KoRn takes the Stage

A sheer curtain hung in front of the members of KoRn as they teased us with sporadic notes and drum beats. “The bitch”, Jonathan’s signature mic stand, was out in front of the curtain. Jonathan skipped over to the mic and began the lyrics to “Right Now” as the curtain fell revealing the other members. The moment was surreal. Jon looked like he was having a good time and had the biggest smile on his face. When he would get near me, I tried to make eye contact as I sang along with his lyrics. He is so awesome and really knows how to get the crowd pumped. He also announced that their first album was about to have it’s 22nd anniversary as the crowd roared.

There was a wonderful view of Brian from where I was standing. I don’t think he looked my way even once. He seemed preoccupied and went to the back of the stage a lot. Regardless, he looked so handsome banging his head as his dreads flailed around. I later learned that he was watching a FaceTime video of John’s son, one of nine children, in the ICU. John told me that he wasn’t Brian’s assistant, as I’d thought, they were just friends that met through a mutual friend. He was actually at the Dallas show the same night I was and agreed that the heat was unbearable.

John took a picture from the side of the stage and sent it to me while the concert was going on. I could see myself in the front row, off in la la land as I watched my favorite band make love to my eyes and my ears. They were everything I thought they would be and more. They also played two of their new songs, which I have completely worn out since they were released. I banged my head pretty heavily through a few of their songs and had the best time! They finished with two encore songs after the crowd cheered for more. Ray threw some drum sticks and autographed drum heads into the crowd. Munky threw out some guitar picks. Jonathan waved to us all with an appreciate smile. I don’t know where Fieldy was or what he was doing. Brian left the stage quickly, I assume to prepare to meet us.

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After the Show with Brian “Head” Welch

My friend and I made our way to Section 102 of the Lander’s Center where the guys of KoRn took pictures with us originally. Only about 10 minutes or so went by before Brian came out to hang with us. As he told his story (see below) it was so cool to hear him speak as a normal guy with a great sense of humor. We all laughed as he mentioned his crazy spell after finding Jesus and how he was coming off a long drug binge. There were a couple of guys being douche canoes but Brian held his composure so well and took it like a champ – turned the other cheek, if you will. After giving his testimony, he prayed for us all – even the guys giving him grief.

A 9-year-old little girl was there that he made sure he loved on. When he gave her some of the picks from his pocket, her face lit up like a Christmas tree. He asked if KoRn was one of her favorite bands and what other bands she liked. Brian’s mouth dropped when she said “Slipknot” and “Rammstein”. Her dad said that it was her birthday and Brian asked us all to sing happy birthday to her. It was so sweet. I later noticed him digging in his pockets for picks and pulled out my letter. He looked right over at me and smiled. I’m sure I turned a nice shade of lobster red.

I waited patiently hoping that I could muster up the courage to speak once it was my turn to talk to Brian. I overheard him telling a fan that he takes meds daily for depression which is very relatable to me. Another fan standing next to me was a sweet girl that came to the concert alone so my friend and I kept her company. Brian spoke to her first and gave her a hug. I took a picture of them together as they cracked me up with the faces they were making. He asked if the two of us came together and we explained that we’d just met. He wasn’t as intimidating as I thought he would be at all. He talked a little about the guy that tried to make a scene and how normally things turn around for the better but he had a failed attempt at healing tonight.

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It was my turn! Brian handed me two picks from his back pocket, looked me in the eyes, and stopped just as Munky did. He said that it looked like I had a diamond in my eye “you know how some people get them on their teeth”. I told him that it was a cataract and he asked if I could see out of it. I explained that I couldn’t and have never known what it is like to see out of two eyes. My friend told him that my depth perception is really off then asked if I wanted a picture of the two of us. I prefer a selfie because I have good front facing lights on my phone. I asked Brian not to laugh at the lighting but he did, of course, because they are ridiculous. He said that he thought they were cool and reminded him of something. I suggested maybe a star ship. We took the picture, he gave me a hug, then he thanked us for coming. Unfortunately, the picture turned out blurry but I didn’t realize it until he walked away.

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Luckily, Brian came back close to where I was standing and I remembered to show him the tattoo I got in his honor (shown above). He pulled back the sides of his hair from his face and said, “Oh cool” as he pointed to his identical tattoo. He asked me if it hurt where I got it then showed me his palm tattoo and said that getting it tickled. When looking, I noticed that the sides of his hands were the only blank space I could see and jokingly asked him if there were any more. He told me that there was some blank space on his chest, arse, and legs then mentioned the tattoo he’d gotten of himself on his calf. I said, “It’s your album cover right? I saw the video of you getting it”. I felt silly for admitting that I knew about it.

As I asked him to retake the picture from earlier, I showed him that the home screen and lock screen on my phone (shown below) were of him. He said, “Oh, you are a real fan” kind of like he was surprised. We took one shot then another to make sure that I was happy. I asked him not to forget about my letter as he gave me a second hug and said his goodbyes. The man truly is special and I feel so blessed to have gotten a moment of his time although I said nothing that I’d been planning for months to say. Thank goodness for that letter because I knew I would freeze up! The night was one of many best nights of my life and easily one of the top 5!

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The Morning After Surprise

We’d driven all the way back to Jackson after meeting Brian and didn’t get home until 3:00 a.m. On Sunday, I woke up at noon to check my phone. As I was scrolling through Instagram, I noticed Brian’s user name on one of my pictures. Surely there was no way! He thanked me for the letter that I wrote and said that he was honored to be an encouragement to me in any way. I let John know via text that I saw Brian’s comment and asked if he wouldn’t mind letting Brian know for me. He said that he would and that it would bring a smile to his face. It’s mega flattering that he would take the time to find me on Instagram to thank me! What a wonderful memory to share for years to come!

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Music Saves Me Every Day

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Everyone has issues. If you don’t think you have issues, that is an issue! Some of us are in tune with our abnormalities and some are completely unaware or in denial. I have no qualms about sharing my daily struggles in order to give a better understanding of what we (those suffering from emotion sickness) go through. It’s difficult for people to see the world through our eyes but I will do my best to convey the view.

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Every year, since I was a teen, I have experienced uncontrollable cycles of emotion. I suffer with depression and anxiety stemming from my childhood and trials I have been through. Without medication; my depression, moodiness, short temper, and irritability fluctuates – your average bitch. I like to think that my meds keep me at one level; however, it’s no miracle. I still get annoyed by the smallest things but my reaction to them is more tolerable.

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Here are a few of the down sides that I experience with medication: drowsiness, anxiety, strange dreams, changes in appetite and weight, constipation, decreased sex drive, and difficulty having an orgasm. So, if you are in a relationship, you have two choices: 1) take the pill and be a pleasant partner 2) don’t take the pill, have sex, and be a thunder cunt. Awesome, isn’t it? Decisions, decisions…Oh, if you pick option one, you have the added task of convincing your partner that it isn’t them, it’s you when it comes to getting in the buff. Neat.

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The withdrawals when taking some anti-depressants are unbearable if you miss a day or two. I get migraines, hot flashes, the shakes, nausea, night sweats, nightmares, and whatever issues I had before taking the medicine are amplified. Sometimes I want to punch a brick wall and other times I want nothing more than to just sleep the pain away. You need to consult your doctor when weaning. I was ignorant enough once to  think, “I’m happy now, I don’t need it” and went cold turkey. Dumb.

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Anxiety is a struggle for me, although not daily. Stress is the most common factor but sometimes it can come out of nowhere and hit me like a Mike Tyson punch to the face. I get horrible pains in my chest and struggle to breathe normally. My arms feel tingly, achy, and antsy. If I have on any clothing that is mildly snug, I feel suffocated. I don’t want to talk, be touched, or be around anyone for that matter. My relationships suffer a great deal due to my disorders.

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Music calms me when nothing else comes close. It makes sense when nothing else does. Often times, the type of music that I listen to has lyrics that relate to me in so many ways that it helps the loneliness. I can’t express how much music has an impact on my life other than the fact that I can’t imagine life without it. It’s better than any medication that I’ve taken. It’s better than any relationship I’ve been in. Music breathes life into my lungs.  A day without music is a bad day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return of the Dreads Tour 2016

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So, here’s how it went down.

In March 2016, I purchased V.I.P Meet and Greet Tickets to the Return of the Dreads concert in Dallas, TX on August 4. At the time, I had no idea that my current favorite band will also be in a separate tour later in the year with Breaking Benjamin, which will be in my home state. Honestly, I never thought that my favs would ever be back in Mississippi as they have not been for years. As soon as I was able, I also purchased V.I.P Meet and Greet tickets for the Nocturnal Underground Tour in Southaven, MS. Thank goodness for Sirius XM’s Octane channel or I would not have any vital rock music news! (Mississippi sucks..)

Since the tour was named Return of the Dreads, I decided that I wanted to come to the show in my own set of dreads. My employer won’t allow dreads (I’ve asked) so I looked online for a while for ideas until I found a site that sold a clip in ponytail that looked really cool in the picture displayed. My work ladies (co-workers) bought this for me for my birthday even though they didn’t understand it at all. The ponytail did not arrive for 6 weeks and when it finally came in, it was half what I had in mind. I was back on the hunt again for ideas. I soon learned how to make dreads myself and modified the ponytail into exactly what I wanted. I also made custom single ended dreads to add to my own hair for a full “dreadhawk”. I practiced on it 3 or 4 times until I got it just right.

The morning of the concert, I needed to stop by the pharmacy to pick up anti-inflammatory and pain meds (for my fractured foot) that took a lot longer than the usual pharmacy turn around time. The pharmacy was short staffed and I was in a hurry – story of my life. I’d fractured my Navicular bone about 3 weeks earlier and did not realize it other than the fact that it hurt constantly. The day before the concert, I got an x-ray, a lecture, and a boot. I honestly don’t recall the incident that caused the fracture. Anyway, my partner also picked this morning in particular to complete school registration for his children since he was off work. That took longer that expected as well. Since the kids weren’t officially in school until the following week, we dropped them off at their long winded grandparents’ house. I was literally telling them that we were late and had to go with the window down and the car rolling.

About half way to the concert, which was a 6.5 hour drive, I had my partner start making calls to make sure that we would be there on time for the meet and greet. I was supposed to have gotten an email with instructions about where to go and what time. As you can guess, I didn’t receive it. We’d just gotten our food at Sonic when I got the info that ripped my heart right out. According to GPS and the time that we needed to be in Dallas, we were going to be an hour late. Tears ran down my face for the next 20 or so minutes with complete silence in the car. I didn’t want to eat when beforehand I was starving. My partner had no idea what to say. He knew how hard I worked on my dreads and the custom t-shirt with Brian Head Welch’s silhouette on it, not-to-mention, how bad I wanted to meet the band.

Yeah, yeah. I know what you are thinking. I’m going to meet them in Mississippi in a couple of months. In the moment, this fact didn’t matter. I’d thought about what I would say to the members of KoRn for months. I’d planned out everything meticulously. This was more than just a bummer for me. I felt like such an idiot for planning as long as I had and didn’t check the meet and greet time. It’s really my own fault. I can blame everything that happened that morning on my late arrival, but I should’ve checked the time. I wiped my face and set out on hauling ass in the chance that I could maybe reach the venue before they left the V.I.P area. 1. No stopping at the hotel to check-in. 2. Get dressed in the car.

We arrived at Gexa Energy Pavilion at 5:20 and to no surprise, we were too late. They’d just taken down the tables for V.I.P check-in. I got my event poster and lanyard from the ticket booth and sadly walked in the empty V.I.P area. If I’d gotten a pit pass, the benefit of getting in early would have been great, but I decided on front row seats. Judging from the map, I was to be on Brian’s side of the stage with a great view. Again, I was wrong. There were giant speakers right in front of me and the pit was far larger than expected, so people were standing in front of me. The speakers rattled my brain throughout the first band’s performance. My throat felt buzzy for a while which I didn’t like.

When KoRn took the stage, all of the negativity vanished on how crappy the day had gone. The band was amazing. Some of the guys even brought their kids on stage. Fieldy’s daughter helped him play bass. The stage was set up to where I could see Ray, the drummer, which is a nice change. Most drummers never get seen because they are so far in the back. He was on a cool, lighted platform with double bass drums that had the band’s name on them that seemed to be lighted also. Fieldy and Head took turns climbing on the platform next to Ray and thrashed around. Head’s hair is fabulous and I am jealous! The backdrop was animated and very groovy. The stage lights, also on the platform, moved around and flashed with the music. I also got to see them perform their new single, “Rotting in Vain”. The experience was exhilarating!

A neighbor to us said that Jonathan didn’t make it to the meet and greet because he was on vocal rest. The things these guys go through for us.. why complain? In between songs, he was getting oxygen to help him through the set. Yeah, so I drove 6.5 hours to see them but how many miles have they ridden in a bus with time away from their families? How many months have they stayed on the road? How many hot nights have they sweat and played their hearts out on stage? How many moments have they given to us that we will never forget? I will always respect their sacrifices.

The venue allowed me to bring in my nice camera to take a few shots and I am super happy with the way they turned out! I hung some up on my memorabilia wall. I also got a tour shirt that I am going to frame. The overall experience was well worth the trip and money.

I hope that I will get more items to add to my wall once I get back from the Nocturnal Underground Tour!

Side note: I found out through a girl on Instagram that Brain met with some fans after the show for prayers. She had some cool pictures with him. I can only hope I get as lucky!

 

 

Bring Me The Horizon 2016

Friday, May 6 at 6:15 a.m., I got up to start packing for our over night trip to Atlanta with our friend, Wayne. After the kids got off to school, I started my rock make over. I wanted a big faux hawk so I didn’t wash my hair for four days so that it would stand up as high as I wanted. It didn’t work exactly as I envisioned but the hair style was very sturdy. I also did a full rocker make-up look that I took my time on contouring and making perfect before Wayne arrived to pick my boyfriend and I up. Since I had Urban Decay’s All Nighter Make-Up Setting Spray, I knew that my look would last the entire day. At 9:30 a.m., we were off!

When I saw on Facebook that Bring Me The Horizon was coming to Atlanta, I immediately shared the link and tagged my buddies. I knew that Wayne loved the band since he is the one that introduced their music to me. We (me, my boyfriend, and Wayne) all requested off work and set up the hotel arrangements as soon as we could. The only down side to this concert in particular was that it was an All Age, General Admission show. None of us had gone to a GA show since we started making enough money to enjoy VIP tickets so the idea of fighting a crowd of kids wasn’t ideal. Who knew when the band would be back in the states? We had to go!

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Around 4:30 p.m., Mississippi time, we headed down the street past The Tabernacle and the line was all the way around the block! We’d forgotten that the time changed once we got past Alabama. We hurried over to the hotel to put our stuff away then walked a block to the line of people awaiting to see their favorite band. There were kids everywhere with interesting outfits on, to say the least. I saw quite a few underage girls showing too much flesh for my comfort level. I was truly nervous about what would happen once we got inside. Our plan was to make it to the balcony seating area as soon as we could to grab the first available.

Once inside, we were pleased to see that there were plenty of seats upstairs and some available VIP seat for $75. Not only that, we had a bathroom, bar, and food on our level. I got a giant pretzel with mustard. Yum! We hoped to get a good spot to see the band but never anticipated that we would get so lucky as to get a balcony level, second row seat. We had an awesome view! A man was selling t-shirts in line for $20 that were pretty cool but we wanted to get a legit shirt from inside. The line was super long so I waited until one of the opening bands started before I bought mine. I still had to wait about 20 minutes. It was worth it. I love my tour shirt.

The first band, Silver Snakes, did not get a great crowd reaction. Mostly, everyone kind of just stood around and stared. I was worried that it would be the same way throughout the night since there were so many teens. The second band, 68, was only a two person band but I have to say, they rocked it! I wish I could remember what time Bring Me The Horizon came on, but my mind is so stuck on the memory of the crowd’s reaction of when the lights went down for the band to make their way to the stage.

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The first song out of the gate was “Happy Song” and the energy was crazy! It was mind numbingly loud in The Tabernacle from the screams of the crowd but worth every second. Wayne, Adam, and I shook each other while jumping up and down like little school girls, screaming and smiling. We had no idea that our night would turn out so well. I screamed so long and sang my heart out so hard that I started coughing and losing my voice. People were moshing down stairs and going insane. We saw our first live “wall of death” as we stood with our mouths wide open from shock. It looked painful but they all seemed to love it!

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Wayne yelled out at one point, “They sound just like the CD”! I thought so too! The pyrotechnics and electronic display board in background were awesome. If I had to make a playlist of all of the songs I wanted to hear, they must have known what I was going to pick because I heard all of my favorites; new and old. They ended the show with two encore songs and an explosion of confetti. I can honestly say that this concert was easily on my top 5 list of rock shows ever seen. These guys know how to rock your face off and show you a good time! We will definitely keep our eyes and ears out for their next near by show in the US!

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After the show, we all went on the SkyView Ferris wheel right next to the Tabernacle. The line was kind of long but it was a cool experience to see all of Atlanta inside an air conditioned ride. We got a neat picture out of it as well. Too bad my boyfriend didn’t pee before we got on the ride because he fussed about that almost the entire time, so much that he was missing the experience! After a few loops, we headed off the Waffle House to close out the night with some yummy food. We got back to the hotel, showered, and were in bed all before 11:00 p.m. I guess All Age shows close out early. What a great day!!

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A “Groupie” Story

So, there we were, dressed in our best dresses while sporting fake tan, lashes, and hair extensions when….

…The man was obviously older than us and not from Jackson, Mississippi. He was wearing a leather vest with patches on it (without an undershit) and a rhinestone taxi driver type hat. My friend and I kind of giggled at his outfit before he even made his way to our table. His arrogance was even funnier but we hid our snickering nicely. He offered to buy us a couple of shots which we accepted. After taking the shots, the man slid us a couple of VIP passes and invited us to come and hang out on a tour bus after the show.

Let me give you a little back history on us first. My friend and I were very flashy with our attire but not serious partiers. We always sat at a table at the back of the bar, when we could find one, and would sip on a beer or two before calling it a night around 12:00 a.m. It was very rare for us to ever make it past that time or to even get drunk. We often called each other “mawmaw” and would laugh when the yawning began usually at 9:00. It wasn’t that we weren’t having fun, we just required a lot of sleep!

My friend dated the lead singer of the band Papercut Massacre and they were even engaged for a while – how they met,  I’m not sure. She and I met actually at one of Papercut Massacre’s opening shows for the band Cold. When her relationship ended, she and I took on the rock scene and were inseparable. We loved going to see any rock band, within a reasonable distance of our warm beds, of course. The farthest we traveled together was to New Orleans once with a couple of buds we’d met while out and about at a 12 Stones rock show.

Three friends and I took a 3 hour drive to the Big Easy to see Tool. After the show, she and I planned to change really quickly into our pajamas, get in bed, and pretend that we were asleep so that the guys would go out partying without us. Well, our plan to play hookie didn’t work. Instead, were drug out of the beds by our buds and convinced to “have just one drink” on Bourbon Street. As for what time we got back, I couldn’t tell you. We all had a blast running through the halls of this supposedly haunted hotel at the end night. I wish that I could disclose the shenanigans that went on that night, but I will keep that memory locked deep down. It’s more funny than anything racy that you would be thinking of. Good times and memories.

Anyway, she and I weren’t the type to wait around until the bands were done playing in order to go hang out on any buses. I honestly only remember hanging out on 2 buses at all and both times were before shows even started. One band, Absence of Concern, I knew very well and was roommates with the lead singer and his girlfriend. They were more like my buds than “rock stars” to me. The other band was Pop Evil. I went on their bus to hang out with a friend that was seeing a guitar player in the band. I watched as she put on his eyeliner and situated his silky locks. As for the rest of the guys, I just wasn’t that into them or the vibe they were throwing out. Her guy was by far the nicest, coolest, and laid back guy so, I didn’t mind hanging with them.

While looking down at our passes we noticed that the band name Saliva was printed on them. We weren’t sure if the man who gave us the passes was in the band or maybe just a roadie until Saliva took the stage. The man looked towards our table, held up a bottle of Jäger, and pointed at us as he took a swig. I saw a few faces turn towards us and we gave a small, nervous wave. If there were any chicks in the room looking at us jealously, they clearly had no idea of our real intentions which were to enjoy music and music only. Music has always been a huge part of my life and I thoroughly enjoy rock shows…their band members on any other level than a fan, not so much.

As our bodies started to shut down around 11:30, we decided to head on home. What were we to do with the passes? Like I said, we weren’t partiers. We looked around for a couple of minutes for just the right two girls to hand the passes to. They needed to have “that look” as we knew exactly what the guys were wanting. When the girls hit our radar, we handed the passes over and saw a glow come over their faces. To think, some girls would’ve given anything to have the passes that we were given specifically and couldn’t have cared less about. We were sure that we made their night and that felt good. Let’s be honest, the guys didn’t want to hang out and play Uno and we just weren’t into that kind of thing.

Looking back on it, I wish that we would’ve traveled further to see more bands. We were in our prime – thin, tan, and single. Age is a bitch that will punch you in the face with a slab of fat that sticks like gorilla glue before you have a chance to know what happened. I wish I would’ve gotten to meet some bands, when I looked like that, that I was more into. Not that I ever intended on trying to date any of them or start anything; I still should’ve taken advantage of certain opportunities from that time instead of wasting it away by sleeping. Today, I think I am more of a hard-core rock fan than ever and have to pay top dollar for VIP passes that I used to get for free. 🙂

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